This is really weird. I went to my local supermarket yesterday which has an awesome bulk section and found this tea, but I can’t find any mention of it online or on the company’s website. The store has a large selection of Republic of Tea sold as loose leaf in bulk, which is an awesome way to explore new teas one cup at a time. It was the look of this tea that I found intriguing. The leaves are rolled up into little pellets with smooth surfaces. I have seen this style one other time at a tea shop in San Francisco’s China Town and that tea was quite good. I have no idea what the recommended brewing method is, so I’m totally winging it here.
Ever been to a petting zoo? You know the little pellets that they give you to feed the goats? You hold a palm full of them out to a goat or some other animal and they eagerly scoop it up into their mouths with their muscular lips leaving you with a palm covered in goat saliva. Well this tea smells just like those pellets. And this is what the king drinks?!
The first few sips taste like those pellets, heavy on the dry hay, but it is also buttery too. Somewhere mid sip the butter takes over before letting the pellet taste come back in. At the very end of the cup the pellet taste fades and I get a feeling on the back of my tongue almost like I had eaten licorice.
While waiting for the water to heat for my second steep, I notice that the surface is starting to crack on the tea pellets and the ends of tea leaves are starting to poke out. As the pellets steep, they begin to grow slightly as the tea leaves attempt to unfurl from their cocoons. I can’t tell if the smell of the petting zoo is getting weaker or if I’m just getting used to it. The tea tastes the same with the licorice feeling happening earlier in the cup. By the end of this cup it still hasn’t changed much.
Third cup: pretty much the same. At $149/lb bulk I expected this tea to have some sort of amazing hidden away, but so far I’m getting none of that.
Fourth steep: Same. I GIVE UP!!! Never buying again.