As is the norm for me, because I can’t remember from nose to mouth, I placed a Verdant Tea order and promptly forgot about what three quarters of it was. Then I saw TerriHarpLady post about this one and hoped that it would be in there. And it was! How excellent!
On the paper it sounds like an extremely interesting blend and not a single ingredient like your average breakfast blends. No Assam, no Ceylon, no Keemun. Is it even possible to create something breakfast-y without those three? Yes. Yes it is, apparently. Instead a mixture of the Laoshan Black (which I lurve) and some Jin Jun Mei, which Spoonvonstup introduced me to (although I preferred the Fujian ones, but really… who’s surprised by that?), and then some Da Hong Pao and some Silver Needle and some pu’erh to fill out and accentuate and what have you. I mean seriously! I’m not surprised that it turned out that I did order some of this. I’m highly surprised that I couldn’t remember doing so, because really! O.O I sounds like the sort of thing I’d remember…
The leaf smelled wonderfully grainy, and there were some Yunnan-y notes in there, but none of the ones that I don’t like. When I was pouring it after steeping (still from the stupid pot and over the sink, WHEN OH WHEN will my new Roy Kirkham china arrive???) I got a faceful of something thick, sweet and grainy. It’s really hard to describe this aroma as anything other than thick. It smells like something that really ought to be tangible at first. After the cup has settled down a bit, it becomes less so and actual notes start to seep out.
My first thought is dulce de leche. And LOTS of it! Underneath that something chocolate-y and something cinnamon-y an just a smidge of smoke, which weirdly manages to somehow not be a top note. blink I don’t get that bit. Smoke has always been a top note for me. Always! Curious.
This peculiarity is fixed in the flavour, though, where the smidge of smoke is restored to its rightful place at the top. And all is again right with the world. That note is immediately followed by the chocolate, cinnamon, dulce de leche combination, which lasts for the entire sip and then goes straight to the aftertaste, which, to my surprise, is indeed with a bit of vanilla to it. I wasn’t actually expecting that. Whenever I see vanilla (and to some degree also caramel) described as a naturally occurring flavour in something, I can never seem to find any, so I’ve stopped expecting it. Maybe it has to do with my obsession with finding the perfect vanilla flavoured black?
It’s not until after I’ve swallowed that I realise something is missing. Where exactly was the body in this? Where was that grain and malt and stuff that I picked up from the dry leaf? Where did that go? Laoshan Black and Jin Jun Mei are both teas with pretty assertive and strong flavours, so… where did they go? It’s like all their top notes just banded together, ganged up on the rest of the notes and locked them in a cellar somewhere. I can’t find even a hint of grain in this. How peculiar!
And yet… And yet, if you really could take the body notes out of the equation all together, I don’t think you would actually end up with this result. They are there, I just can’t taste them because they are the stuff that holds all the rest together in a united front. Without them, it would probably just be something that tasted layered and somewhat thin. They are there. They are important notes. They’re just working behind the scenes on this one.
I apologise for that last be becoming a little odd. Blame it on my having acquired some sicks somewhere, it seems. I feel all ‘W and F’, as the father in law says (Weak & Feeble).
‘Peculiar’ seems to be the keyword here. What an all round peculiar tea. Peculiar, but living up to my initial expectations completely and utterly. Auggy, there will definitely be a share of this in your care package. I’m very much looking forward to what you think about it.