Reading the lists of flavors that Samovar provided while I anxiously awaited my order’s arrival, I tried to compile some mental understanding of what those combinations would be like together and had the most difficult time. Having now had the tea, I’m still not certain that I can describe quite what it’s like, but I’m going to try.
First of all, the leaves are incredibly fuzzy. I opened my tin eager to get a whiff of the leaves and was surprised by the amount of fluff stuck to the sides of it…there’s a lot. Which makes me happy, for whatever reason. It really looks more like clippings of brown and green-silver yarn than tea leaves.
I have never had to rinse tea leaves before. I know you’re supposed to for some, and probably there’s something to be said for doing that for some oolongs no matter what, but…I never have. Needless to say, my zojirushi being set to 175 already meant that the little rinse they got was fairly low-temp, and I don’t know if that makes a difference…they recommend boiling. And such a short steep time!…but then I got to thinking…does the 3-minute steep time still hold true for the lower-temp 175 brew vs. the boiling-water brew?
And then I decided it smelled delicious while it was steeping and I didn’t care, because I could just experiment more later and find out. Hoo-ah.
I’m not sure what I expected, but I could never have expected this. To me, this is sort of like someone managed to combine together oolong and white tea, completely bypassing any of the notes I usually associate with green tea in a bizarre leap I wouldn’t have anticipated was possible. We’ve talked a little bit in TNs and comments about green oolong vs. black, but I dub this white oolong. It even has the fluffies floating around the bottom, the nutty nectary sweetness, the…mmm. Even the little bit of tang I sometimes get from whites.
Bready fruit, like plantains — easy to find. Starfruit when very hot (along with something more nutty like peach or apricot), then more bready as it cools, like plantains.
Nutty sweet floral roasted starchy tropical-fruity bliss. I cannot for the life of me find the ‘smoked chocolate’ in here unless I try very, very, very hard, and even then I’m not sure that I’m not just making it up. The cup had more strongly fruity flavors when hot, and some of the edges seem to be rounding off now that I’m at the bottom of the cup and the liquid is tepid. I haven’t tried this at a higher temperature…it sounded good this way, so this is the way I started out…but I imagine it’d be quite tart…more like the skin of a plum than the flesh of it. I’m interested in trying it to see.
I feel as though this is a cup of tea that’s going to provide a lot of flavor revelations the longer I go on drinking it, and that’s pretty exciting. In fact, I think I might have myself some more. Gonna try to resteep first. The short steep time makes me worry that it’s not able to go a second round, but here’s hoping!