Grrrr. I hate when I lose a carefully crafted tasting note….. Oh well.

First off, do yourself a favor and get the 2013 sample packs of green tea from Life In Teacup before they’re gone. I’m SO glad I did. It’s been a wonderful journey that will soon come to an end, as my box of tea is dwindling.

2nd, I almost dismissed this tea for a variety of reasons: 1) It looks like gunpowder, and I don’t tend to go for that type of tea, 2) some sites describe it as smokey due to being roasted over charcoal, not so much for me & 3) the small packet (the smallest of all the samples) doesn’t have a zip lock, so it feels like more of a commitment to open.

Those were all just dumb reasons. Don’t delay is all I gotta say.

I brewed this tea in my glass 8 oz infuser, using half the capacity to 1 tsp of tea. Boiling water was used to preheat the infuser, transferred to my Finum cup and then used for the 1st steep of about 1 min. I didn’t measure, but this usually brings water temps to about 170-175ºF.

What’s particularly magical about this tea is how it appears so mundane, and then unravels itself to become the loveliest pristine 2 leaf and bud sets you’ve ever seen, rivaling some of the more exquisite long jings I’ve had. It’s wonderful to watch in glass, dive and fall, uncurling with almost a life of its own. And that little tsp takes you a long way; 5 steeps as I write this.

These aren’t overwhelming flavors per se, but lovely, lasting clear tones. Here astringency is just that, astringency. Not to be confused with bitterness, but a real note that carries from steep to steep, framing a subtle, but undeniable sweetness, a refreshing light quality that doesn’t become dry. If you’ve ever had wine that is off, gone kinda mildly carbonated, and then been introduced to a wine (non-sparkling) where that light bubble is actually an asset, used to enhance and bring more complexity to the flavor profile, then you will understand what I mean by how the astringency here really serves this tea.

I increase steeping time as I move forward, using color and fullness of the leaves as a guide. Overall the liquor tends toward a pale yellow-green, a bit hard to discern in the waning natural light here near sunset. The latter steeps start to lose me a bit, and midway through I got the strangest kind of seafood sent, mildly fishy. Not sure what that’s about, but it wasn’t unpleasant, just weird.

I feel good about this tea late in the day, alert but not particularly lifted. I wonder about it’s theanine content. From the looks of the leaves, and their early spring harvest, it leads me to believe it would have a decent amount.

Many sites describe this tea as being stronger than most greens. Maybe I need to increase the amount of tea, but I didn’t find that to be the case. It appeared my 1 tsp was a good ratio of tea to water after everything was hydrated, so I think I got a good representation of what one should expect. I will try a tbsp next time instead maybe and see how that goes. As a matter of fact, I’m kinda excited about how that will turn out and am tempted to go all in now. But I think 6 4oz cups of tea at 7P is enough for this guy!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Recovering coffee drinker. I prefer green tea varieties with a focus on high theanine content.

I generally make my teas using a 10 oz. double wall glass tumbler. Alternately I sometimes use a smaller 8 oz. glass tea infuser. More recently I’Ive fallen in love with a little 5 oz. double wall glass w/ filter kit from Finum. It’s kinda awesome. I prepare the occasional Black or Oolong teas mostly in a Yixing clay or porcelain teapot. I’ve been known to bust out the Gaiwan every now and then too. Basically whatever catches my fancy.

My usual tall glass brewing method: http://bit.ly/brewingmethod

My rating system:

I’ve never really felt compelled to include a rating guide here, but upon reflection I noticed something; I think I’ve subconsciously been rating teas like my papers were graded when I was a kid in school. Do with it what you will.

90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D
<59 = F(ail)

I can quit any time.

PS- Any runners out there can find me on RunKeeper or Dailymile.



Burbank, CA, USA

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