Ugh, I had a large meal and then dozed on the sofa with a kitty on my lap for an hour or so. Well, that was rather nice, actually. But now I feel like I haven’t slept in a week. It doesn’t help that I’m home alone this evening so I’m not getting much in the way of distraction from it.
Clearly it’s time for tea, and because common sense is not one of my strong points, I’m jumping head first into one I’ve never tried before.
I’ve been curious about this one, which Autumn_Aelwyd shared with me, because I’ve still not entirely managed to wrap my head around blending two entirely different types like this. I get a little confused on how to brew it, but decided to go with the green setting, even though this will not allow the black to come to its right. I could have catered to the black, and let it really come out to play with a higher temperature, but then the green would be ruined and thus ruining the entire blend.
Why do people make these blends? Me, at home, I do it when using up things where there isn’t enough to make a pot without mixing, or things which I’m hoping will then magically become interesting. In other words, when I do it at home with two so vastly different sorts of tea, it has nothing to do with flattery. (Generally, though, when I combine stuff, I do it within one type. Black tea with black tea, green tea with green tea, oolong with oolong.)
In this particular mix, green and black, it wasn’t just the temperature that gave me trouble. I like my black tea best brewed Western style. I like my green tea best brewed with my approximation of gong fu style. So what was I supposed to do with this? Well, the sample that I was given is a generous size, so I’m going to try both ways, I think, and I’m starting with Western style.
Another problem I have here is that it say a ‘mix of green and black tea’. Well yes. But which ones? That can’t be too difficult to say, can it? I’m not very experienced with green, but my interest in the black tea depends strongly on which region it comes from, and although it’s fun to occasionally be able to correctly identify origin, I do prefer it when I don’t have to play Guess That Tea without ever being able to get the correct answer. My scale of black teas range all the way from the slight bleh of Darjeeling to nom-nom of Fujian. Even knowing which country it was produced in would help a lot. Not providing any details on this doesn’t really give me the impression that the vendor is trying to teach people about, well, anything. If they want to keep their recipe secret, that’s fine with me. Just say so.
In other words, there’s not much in the way of expectations here.
As I looked at the leaves I saw primarily green tea. I didn’t see much of black leaf at all, and that makes me wish I knew what the ratios between them is. Is there not supposed to be very much, or is there a chance that the black leaves have all drifted further down in the pouch in spite of my shaking it?
Well, Guess That Tea isn’t so difficult actually when it comes to the black. It comes through a lot and it tastes of Yunnan, so I think we’ve got a golden Yunnan on our hands here. That might also explain why I didn’t think it looked like there were any black leaf in there, because that stuff doesn’t even look like black leaf.
A little grain, a little malt, a twinge of pepper at the end and a whole lot of hay all over the place.
Then there’s a twitch of bitterness that tells me that either did I use far too much leaf or I actually managed to use too high a temperature after all. My money is on the former, because temperature is something I did put some thought into here given the nature of the blend. It’s not at all impossible that I had my head under my arm while measuring out leaf. At this time of day I’m used to making a LARGE pot for sharing after all. So we’ll overlook that slight bitterness for now. It’s not strong enough to be important anyway.
There is a softness to this tea, which I think must have something to do with the green tea. It feels like it, soft and sort of thick and slightly viscous without feeling sticky. When black teas feel like that, it’s usually something to do with caramel-y or sugar-y notes and that makes it feel a bit sticky.
Another thing that the mysterious green tea adds here is a quite floral flavour, although not quite sickly enough to be cloying like I find so many scented teas. I think this one is playing on the same strings as that Yunnan pepper note does, so it’s hard to see where one stops and the other begins.
In spite of all this initial ranting, I’m finding I quite like this. It didn’t knock my socks off with awesome and I’m still sceptical about this mixing two so wildly different teas, because it’s impossible to brew so that they both come to their full rights, but for what it is, it’s quite nice enough.