I am working on drinking the supply down! It is therefore not okay to have to add to it just because I must have forgotten to add it in the first place. Anyway…
Once upon a time I had a sample of Verdant’s TGY, which, as I am wont to do, I brewed western style and was subsequently fairly underwhelmed by. I mean, it was good, don’t get me wrong. I even gave it 86 points, which you must concede is pretty high. It just wasn’t interesting.
“No, no, no,” said Spoonvonstrup. “You should short steep it.”
Well now. I didn’t have any of my sample left to do that, so Spoonvonstrup offered to share a sample with. I was a little torn. Part of me was sceptic that it would make such a large difference and that, these days, possibly greener oolongs were just not for me, but a larger part of me thought that it absolutely could and should not be true that something which had made people swoon in bliss all over Steepster should come across as so uninteresting to me. I was missing out and that’s not cricket. So I said, yes please.
Turns out Spoonvonstrup had already been planning a large number of other things to share with me as well, as has already be written about, but I count this one as the being the primary purpose of the exchange.
Well. I say ‘exchange’, but my attempt at a return package was returned to sender. I must have written the address wrong.
Anyway, I received a generous sample of this TGY on the clear understanding that I would short steep it.
So I am doing that very thing now, and this right here is the first round. I believe it’s a different harvest than the one I had initially, but I’m not expecting that to matter so very much in this experiment.
There is a slightly floral aroma to it, with a strong note of something that I can only describe as ‘some kind of tart fruit’. It doesn’t smell like apple or citrus or pineapple, so I’m not sure what exactly it is. It just smells kind of fruity and yellow-ish green.
The flavour is stronger oolong-y than I expected. I think that I was expecting something more soft and vegetal like a green tea, possibly because of the short steep, but this is definitely tasting like an oolong. It has that smidge of earthyness to it. Again the floral note is very low key and there is ‘something fruity’ going on.
Even the aftertaste keeps tingling and tickling on my tongue for a long time.
Now that I have a learned to recognise a chalky sort of flavour, I’m detecting that too. Well, it’s not so much that I’m suddenly detecting it where I didn’t before; it’s more that I’ve learned to put words on what it is, and therefore I am noticing it being there. I learned that in some green tea I had the other days. Emperor’s Mist and Clouds, I think it was called. That one had it pretty bad, but this one is not so much. I wonder if it’s actually my water that does it. I had a brief thought of buying some bottled water and trying a comparison, but as Denmark on the whole prides itself on having a high quality tap water, clean and drawn straight from the underground, paying through my nose for bottled water when it’s not strictly necessary strikes me as rather a waste of money. If I’m out somewhere and I get thirsty I have no problems buying some, but then it’s usually slightly carbonated and with some sort of flavouring added. Bottled still water… Sorry, I can’t make myself do that. Not even for tea. So either I’ll have to look into some sort of filtering system or wait until there’s something wrong with the pipes and I’m forced to use bottled water.
Anyway, that was a tangent. The point is there was a slightly mineral note, but nothing very significant.
The colour has gone all vivid yellow on the second round, and that ‘something fruity’ note is definitely citrus-y now. Lemon-y or lime-y. Not the fruit itself, though, but more zest-y.
The flavour is more mellow this time. While this also has a touch of citrus, this is more fruit than zest. I find actual lemon juice to be a sort of softer flavour than zest. Juice is broad and spreads out, where zest is pointy and stabby.
The flavour is definitely not zesty and there’s still only a little of it. Most of it is still that oolong-y earthyness with a little floralness to it, but not too much.
Really these first two steeps have been very similar indeed.
Round three strikes me as quite floral on the nose, but still with a good deal of citrus. That citrus-y note just seems to be getting stronger and stronger here, as if it’s something that have to be coaxed out of the leaves.
The flavour, however, remains the same as before, if perhaps a tad paler.
And I think I will stop the post here, although I don’t think I’m quite finished playing with these leaves. There is so much flavour still to go on, and as it appears to be so very consistent, I suspect I’m in for a rather long haul. It’s going to be a very long post indeed if I continue writing.
In conclusion, Spoonvonstrup was right. This really do need short steeping before it can shine for me. Although my socks have not been knocked into deep space with this one, it’s still oodles better than the uninteresting result of my very first go at it. I think maybe to do with how it’s much less floral this way. The rest of the flavour profile, curiously, is completely different too, it seems.