Let it begin.
Today marks the day I received my first samplings from Teavivre. And quite healthy samples they are. Much thanks to Angel & Teavivre! From the postmark it appears they took 10 days to arrive in Southern California from China.
Preparation Method: Glass tea infuser following Teavivre recommended amounts, times and temp. 5 steepings, no rinse. Increased brewing time for 3rd-5th steeping.
Impressions: The dry leaves were quite attractive and bunched up in the package, appearing almost sticky, though they were not. The aroma was quite pleasant, lively, green and gardeny. Am I smelling cocoa as well?
Brewing resulted in a pale yellow liquor with a hint of green, kind of the color I’d imagine steeping green apple skins would make if they didn’t oxidize and turn brown. As the leaves opened I noticed quite a bit of broken leaf, but that’s no surprise with small samples like this.
Immediately I got the smoke that others have reported, like lightly smoked steamed vegetables, both in smell and taste. Smoke carried through to the 2nd steeping but was absent from the 3rd on.
The mouthfeel was light and bright with a mild astringency. This held through the 4th steeping, becoming more prevalent in the the final two steepings. The 5th steeping was essentially a bust, more of a palate cleansing than anything.
Overall it had a pleasant sweet afterglow but was fading on the 3rd and 4th steep. I was more attracted to those latter steepings, though they were a bit two dimensional.
I picked this tea primarily because I’ve read Pi Lo Chun has a healthy theanine content. From a caffeine/theanine standpoint I was neither up nor down with this tea, nor did I feel particularly calm or alert. It was much more about the taste experience for me than the effect the tea had on my nervous system.
I would be pleased to be served this tea while out at a restaurant, impressed that they’d offered a more interesting tea, but for home brewing it’s not enticing enough for me to pursue more quantity.