Little bit late for Christmas, eh?
I dug into this one today after a long day of work, and this one surprised me in multiple ways. The white tea leaves are a bit more pulverized than I usually like them to be. I’ve gotten used to seeing white peony/bai mu dan style teas with big, leafy, stemmy parts. These were more ripped up than average.
I went into this one without really knowing what was in it until after I had made the cup and was sipping it. So hrm. The smell of the tea itself was mainly a white tea smell, meaning a sort of musty green smell, mixed with sweet notes hinting at almond.
And then I steeped the bugger up, and I could swear that this smelled like chocolate. The cup was unusually dark for a white tea. Goldenrod yellow, more like what some of the Chinese greens steep up to. But back to the smell. Like a cocoa powder scent. It was in the taste as well. I was thinking to myself, hrmmmm, this sort of is on the lines of a Florence, except with less cocoa and more of something else.
And then I read the description online. WHAT.
Cardamom? Vanilla? Almond? WHITE CHAMOMILE?
Okay, no. I started to sip this now more curiously. I can sort of taste the vanilla coming in at the tail end. It’s more of a bean-feeling, which might be where the cocoa is coming from, and there’s a sweet, very very slightly tart component that I can somewhat attribute to the chamomile. I’m not getting the taste of almonds at all. And as for cardamom, I’ve never really had it alone. But nothing is jumping out at me that would be the spice that tends to be the hallmark of chai.
The other flavor (beyond the flavoring, hurrhurr) is the white peony. It’s fairly decent, but lacked the depth of flavor that I’ve had in other variations of this particular tea. I’ve always enjoyed that dark-sweet taste that bai mu dan has, but this was sort of like swimming in the kiddie side of the pool. Nice to dip your toes into, but not much else.
I think that describes the tea pretty well overall, actually. Fairly enjoyable, but just not exciting. Better than average, but forgettable. And as I grow and change and learn about tea, as my tastes become more refined and honed, I start demanding excellence. There’s so much tea out there, and so little time. Why waste it drinking just okay stuff. I mean, this is better than okay. This is enjoyable, and nice and relaxing. It’s just not memorable.