Backlogging (so, based almost entirely on my notes: this review has been a long time coming …)
Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut
Age of leaf: I do not know because I ordered over the phone, and, alas, did not ask.
Packaging: The two pounds of tea was packaged in a fairly standard looking sturdy silver-colored plastic bag with a small label containing the name and weight of the tea.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: The same as Teavana’s Yunnan Emerald Buds: a mixture of both very light-green and dark-green smallish leaves; very aromatic: vegetal with a strong smoky overtone, and a hint of licorice.
Brewing guidelines: This is all from memory of brewing it on occasion over the last year: glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger. Stevia added.
……….1st: 180; 1’
……….2nd: 185; 1.5’
……….3rd: 190; 2’
……….4th: 195; 2.5’
Color and aroma of tea liquor: pale yellow and somewhat cloudy: not very inviting looking for a green tea; mild aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor: about the same as the leaves smell, but not as strong: vegetal, and slightly smoky with a note of licorice. I remember that I would have a slight dry-mouth feeling after drinking this tea (as with Teavana’s) which I think is attributable to some astringency in it; it’s not overwhelming, just worth noting as I don’t find that I get this with any of the other greens I normally drink.
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Standard chopped leaf: medium to small pale green looking pieces of leaves and buds, with a fair amount of stems; not very fresh looking; mild aroma similar to dried leaves.
Blends well with: This blended nicely with at least one Huang Shan Mao Feng.
Value: Awesome at $9.99 for 2 pounds; that’s about 32 cents an ounce. Not bad, huh!?
Overall: I believe this is the same tea as Teavana’s Yunnan Emerald Buds, so my description of each are almost identical. I tried steeping this tea a number of times to find the best temperature to coax out the most flavor, and finally found that it needs to be steeped hotter than your standard green (start at 180 rather then 170). Based strictly on memory of when I first tried this tea at the beginning of last year, I remember the flavor overall being mild, and don’t think it had very much flavor at all on the third (let alone forth) steeping. Otherwise, it seems to be the same as Teavana’s: a standard green tea vegetal flavor with a slightly smoky overtone and a hint of liquorish added in at the end. Although mild, a fairly standard—albeit interesting tasting—green tea.