This stuff is unreal.
When I opened my bag and smelled the dry leaf, I said out loud, “Yeah right!”
A 3 second wash elicited the usual reaction when I smell a Verdant offering, “Oh. My. God.”
I had to inhale three times to make my brain register that what I was smelling was real. Chocolate malt, like brewery malt that gives a good beer its roasted flavor. Grainy like a thick, rich, still-warm bread. This should be illegal, an aroma sold in canisters on the black market.
Tea shouldn’t be allowed to smell this good. Why? Because I want to tell everyone about it and let them smell it but then they’ll love it and want to buy it and that means less Laoshan Black for me. And I’m not going to let that happen.
Actually, I’m kidding. I’m going to Cape Cod in a few weeks and I told the group of friends whom I’m going with that I will be bringing tea that will “literally blow your mind” and thereby hopefully recruiting more lose leaf followers (read: addicts). I’m thinking of bringing most of my Verdant’s: some Tea of the Month samples, Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan, Summer Harvest Laoshan Green, Ms. Li’s Shi Feng. Maybe Gyokuro from Teavana. Teavivre’s Mao Feng. Haven’t decided yet. I will tell you, though, that this tea will be one of them. This, above all the other teas I have on my tea counter, will be the one that will make their eyes either close in ecstasy or open wide in amazement. They’ll be smiling, either way. And so will I.
What else can I say that hasn’t been praised before? Deep caramel. High-quality chocolate/high percentage cocoa. A sweet, coy aftertaste. Roasted grain that is mellow but soothing. I wonder what is different between this Summer Harvest and others?
I am lying on a hammock made of Laoshan Black with a well-worn and loved book resting on my chest with sunlight dancing between the pools of shadows that trickle over the grass.
Why has it taken me so long to experience this? Are all other black teas like this? Have I been doing this whole tea thing wrong!? I surely hope not. I used to think I hated black tea. The only other black tea I liked was, strangely enough, Yu Lu Yan Cha Black and I thought THAT was the cream of the crop. I can’t believe I have been missing out on this for so long. I feel like I’ve cheated myself from experiencing something special when it was right in front of me the whole time.
This tea really is an experience. One I hope to share with others and that I hope you share, as well. With me and no one else.
Here’s a poem by William Butler Yeates called, “A Drinking Song”. Just replace “Wine” with “Tea”:
“Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.”
I may not be able to love for a while after what has happened with her but I do know that I appreciate tea for what it is and what does to me and I am so, so happy I get to experience this Laoshan Black.
Thanks, Verdant. As always.