I recently placed an order with The Simple Leaf, and they sent me a 1oz sample of this for free! Much thanks to them. I was considering ordering it, but my order was already approaching 70 bucks after the 20% “simple20” discount – a decent sum for a part-time teacher!
I opened the packet and the first thing to hit me was the Chinese-ness of the tea. I know it’s an Indian tea, but I would not be surprised if this particular breed of camellia sinensis was brought over from China somewhat recently. At risk of overgeneralizing, what I mean by “Chinese” is the slightly gritty, astringent, strong sort of green, in opposition to the lighter, more vegetal or hay-ish Japanese style, and so on. It is a bit less harsh than that though, and I do plan on trying a shorter steep next time (1:30?) to see how that affects things.
In any case, on that canvas are subtle strokes of clay, smoke, and soil after a rain. It’s sort of a nice memory for me, because this combination is the smell of mornings at my paternal grandparents’ house – my grandma is a sculptor, and she let us play with big old chunks of grey clay in the backyard on the driveway. My grandparents smoked, so there was always a hint of smoke even though they stopped smoking while we were around. The yard had a lot of tree cover, so the rain or dew would linger just a bit longer on the ground, stirring up smells that I loved.
I’m pretty sensitive to astringency in tea, and generally prefer the lighter greens, so Shanti still isn’t quite going to go down as one of my favorites. I would recommend trying it if you enjoy greens that lean toward the punchier side, or want to experience a green tea that has this somewhat peculiar blend of flavors.