I did get around to opening my new Chun Mei from Teavivre tonight. They sent this as one of my samples a while back, and that was around the time I was first learning to appreciate green tea and learning how the Chinese value the astringency for cleansing the palate after meals. With this information in hand, I was better equipped to enjoy these teas and not try to fit them into the same molds as black teas.
The first time I tried this, I noted the bitter veggie taste – a slight sourness to the tea that made me feel it would never really be my “bag.” Then I noticed how there was a sweetness that would rise in the throat well after the sip and I started craving that sensation. Thus my order for a whole bag of it!
The first notable thing was that when I opened the pouch, right away my brain said “CHOCOLATE!”
Hmmm, that didn’t happen when I opened the Harney tin. I sniffed both teas. Yes, the Teavivre one smells very distinctly like chocolate, whereas the Harney tea requires much sniffing and snuffling to find a light almost chocolate note.
The Harney leaves are larger, while the Teavivre leaves are more broken. Perhaps this is the reason for the shorter recommended steep time, although the water temp they recommend is higher than usual for green. I think I noticed brothiness more with the Harney version. Right now, slurping this cup with lots of air to distinguish the flavors better, I am getting lots of chocolate from this, something I have never found in a green before and didn’t notice with my sample. The liquor in the cup is smelling Ike chocolate, too. And no, I didn’t have a chocolate tea in this pot recently, nor even allow a tea like Florence near it!
The biggest surprise is that my hubby has downed at least two cups of each, and he was not, and I mean NOT, a green tea drinker. I thought maybe he was just suffering through it for the health benefits so I asked him how he liked it. His reply was, “It’s good!” Wow. It really is.
You know how you can breathe out slowly, just so, to fog up glass? Breathe like that and sweet plum flavor floats up. Yum. Drink a bit more and it just floats up by itself!
I made two steeps of this today, Western style. The first one I drank all by myself, the whole pot! This is one I wouldn’t have liked not so long ago. The aftertaste is what wins me on this one. It is so sweet! But up front it is a little sour, a little astringent.
I made the second steep when my daughter came over. I thought it tasted even better than the first. I couldn’t believe that thirty seconds was going to do it when brewing Western style, but believe me, it does! This green tea has a lot of color at 25 seconds! Even the second steep at 30 seconds is a deep yellow-gold. I am saving the leaves to see if they can handle a third steep in the morning.
This sample from Teavivre was so generous that I still have enough left to make another pot and get several resteeps out of that. I am really thankful for their generosity in sending these. I have tried so many things I would not have chosen on my own, and it has really expanded my tea horizons!