Queued post, written July 19th 2014
Here is the second of the three teas that Green Terrace Teas shared with me in exchange for reviews. This one I shared with Husband, so I’ve used almost the entire sample. There’s a bit left, and I’m a little concerned about whether it would have been better to use the whole thing. I think it’s only enough for half of one of my one-cup pots. Oh well. I’m sure I can burn that particular bridge when I cross it.
In an effort to not waste any, I poured the entire pot into two mugs. In other words I did something that I haven’t actually done in a good while. I poured an Ang. Hurray surface tension. And saucers.
Given how strong the honey black was, I thought this was probably the same story. Other people’s posts only confirmed this, so I decided it must be a suitable choice for the first tea of the day. My nose now tells me I was correct.
I can smell a lot of things in here. It strikes me as quite a complicated aroma. There is raisin and something dairy-y right at first. I mean, it doesn’t smell like dairy, but rather like there might have been dairy added to it. Milk or cream, pick your preference (mine is neither, or if anything, milk). Next layer has grain and wood in it, reminding me strongly of all my favourite Chinese blacks, and then finally I feel like I’m catching a small whiff of something cocoa-y and a bit tart, like fruit that isn’t ripe yet. This last layer, though, I’m not certain if it’s really there or if I’m looking too hard. Either way, there is a LOT going on here.
First note I find in the flavour is wood. If you remember my post about the honey black I tried to describe the look of the wood it reminded me of, but I didn’t know what sort of tree made wood that looks like that. I still don’t know anything about that, but this wood note is the same kind of wood. This is the primary note at the first sip.
If I slurp when I drink, I also get that dairy-y feeling a bit and at the back of my throat a feeling like the one cocoa notes usually give me. I don’t actually taste cocoa, so that fits well with how uncertain I was about it in the aroma.
As I drink, a grain note becomes more and more apparent. It’s even a little bit smoky, reminding me of keemun. That’s one of my favourite things, so this makes me happy.
The raisins and the unripe fruit show up a little later. This is one of those teas that you shouldn’t drink quickly because it keeps evolving in the cup as it cools. It has already changed this much and I’m only a centimeter down in the cup. The vast majority of the tea is yet to be drunk. This is going to be a very long post if this keeps up. Lots of teas do this, actually, to a smaller or larger degree. That’s why I don’t like those ‘keep warm’ things with tea-candles under the pot. It messes with this process and keeps the tea warm in an uneven way. A thick cork mat under the pot and a thick cozy over it suits me much better. Far less effective, yes, but also less intrusive.
Having cooled a little more, the tea has now become an explosion of honey. Such a very thick honey note, it even more honey-y than the honey black and I thought that was pretty honey-y. The notes of grain and raisins are pretty much gone at this point, and the wood note has gone from a front seat position to being bundled into the boot. I still have the dairy-y feeling though. I think it might be the honey note that makes it feel a bit thickened. From this point on, it seems the flavour has settled, and I’m not noticing any more big changes, apart from the very last bottom sip which was all cocoa all the way.
Others are also talking about peaches and other stone-fruits, but try as I might I just can’t find any of that in here. I suppose I did have the bit of unripe fruit, but I feel that note has passed now.
I enjoyed this very much indeed. It has all the characteristics that I love in my black tea. It’s complicated, interesting and life-giving.