89
drank Emerald Lily by Rishi Tea
260 tasting notes

When I got home, I was greeted by a package from Rishi on the doorstep. If only all things in life could be timed so perfectly.

I didn’t even bother to take my bags to my room. I dropped them in the kitchen, began to heat a kettle, and sliced open the box. I pretended to ponder over which package to open first, but it really wasn’t a choice. I had read too many favorable logs of this tea to not try it first.

Oh my god.

No, hang on, wait for it…

OH. MY. GOD.

Can we talk about the name for a second? When tea names use words that I am familiar with [unlike things like genmaicha or sencha which previously had no place in my scope of knowledge] they tend to conjure up images that the tea itself rarely lives up to.

I read something like Ancient Emerald Lily, and here’s what comes to mind. Trees that have been around longer than any people I know, which grow so high that you can’t see where they end. The unseen sun makes it presence known by rays of light which pierce through the foliage. Small particles of dust and earth shift and float aimlessly in and out of the columns of sunshine, swirling occasionally when swept into in an eddy of wind. The floor is littered with stones and roots. Moss blankets patches of ground, and the occasional flower, striking against the palette of greens, greys, and browns, stretches towards the light. The forest breathes and swells. Quiet sounds echo through consciousness.

My mother always told me that I had an overactive imagination.

But therein lies my problem. These are the things that I think about, and how can a tea compare? This is the closest that a tea has come to keeping pace with my brain when it goes into overdrive. The taste is clean and fresh, with a hint of something roasted or toasted or some other -oasted type adjective [the roasted aspect is also apparent in the scent]. It has a sweet finish. Not sweet like sugar, or sweet like honey. It’s a more subtle sweetness, like honeysuckle, or when you bite into a particularly excellent ear of corn.

The tea leaves themselves, wet or dry, do not portray any of the aforementioned qualities. To me, they smell mainly vegetal, with a sweetness that’s closer to brown sugar – very similar to most other green teas I’ve had. But the taste is rather singular. It almost reads like a white tea.

The description on the bag eludes to wild orchid and toasted chesnut. I don’t know what orchid is supposed to taste like [are they even edible?] and while I’ve seen many an orchid I’m not exactly sure what they smell like either. Nor have I ever had a chesnut, roasted over an open fire or otherwise, but if they’re anything like what I’m pulling out of this tea that’s going to have to change this season.

In a sentence – Rishi Tea Win.

Jillian

Nooo orchids aren’t edible, actually I think some types might be poisonous. I never really got what they meant by ‘orchid flavouring’ either but I assume it’s sort of floral.

takgoti

I thought they weren’t. Strange.

East Side Rob

Kinda weird to think that these are the same tea leaves that also produce Rishi’s Ancient Tree Golden Yunnan, Earl Gray, and Pu-Ehr. Says a lot about how the processing — God, I hate that term, it makes tea sound like it’s made in a plastics factory — how oxidation and the cooking method so profoundly affect the taste.

takgoti

Really? That’s pretty mind-blowing. I think that visiting a tea farm has officially been added to my life list.

East Side Rob

Sorry, I’m late responded to this post. It slipped past me without notice. I don’t know if China has gotten into the whole agritourismo thing yet, but India is on it. I think Italy pioneered this sort of tourism. (We family stayed on a farm outside Orvietto, Italy, for a few days — it was quite cool. We didn’t do any actual farm work, but it was a nice base for touring Umbria.) However, there are tea plantations you can stay at in Darjeeling and Assam, India. See the New York Times link in the review I posted today for Makaibari Second Flush. I think there’s some tourist information at the end of that article.

takgoti

Oooh, excellent! [And no worries about the delay.] I’ve bookmarked that and at least 5 other things on the link trail for rainy day reading. Or procrastination reading…which means some stuff may get read tonight.

I have a friend who moved here a few years ago from China and I informed her the other day that I might be taking her along with me in a year or two to go visit tea plantations. She seemed down with the idea.

India sounds intriguing as well, though. Decisions, decisions. Or maybe both.

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Jillian

Nooo orchids aren’t edible, actually I think some types might be poisonous. I never really got what they meant by ‘orchid flavouring’ either but I assume it’s sort of floral.

takgoti

I thought they weren’t. Strange.

East Side Rob

Kinda weird to think that these are the same tea leaves that also produce Rishi’s Ancient Tree Golden Yunnan, Earl Gray, and Pu-Ehr. Says a lot about how the processing — God, I hate that term, it makes tea sound like it’s made in a plastics factory — how oxidation and the cooking method so profoundly affect the taste.

takgoti

Really? That’s pretty mind-blowing. I think that visiting a tea farm has officially been added to my life list.

East Side Rob

Sorry, I’m late responded to this post. It slipped past me without notice. I don’t know if China has gotten into the whole agritourismo thing yet, but India is on it. I think Italy pioneered this sort of tourism. (We family stayed on a farm outside Orvietto, Italy, for a few days — it was quite cool. We didn’t do any actual farm work, but it was a nice base for touring Umbria.) However, there are tea plantations you can stay at in Darjeeling and Assam, India. See the New York Times link in the review I posted today for Makaibari Second Flush. I think there’s some tourist information at the end of that article.

takgoti

Oooh, excellent! [And no worries about the delay.] I’ve bookmarked that and at least 5 other things on the link trail for rainy day reading. Or procrastination reading…which means some stuff may get read tonight.

I have a friend who moved here a few years ago from China and I informed her the other day that I might be taking her along with me in a year or two to go visit tea plantations. She seemed down with the idea.

India sounds intriguing as well, though. Decisions, decisions. Or maybe both.

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Former coffeeist, turned teaite. Lover of writing, reading, photography, and music. Traveler of life. Known to be ridiculous on occasion.

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