Here we are. Seems my new pattern is to review a few teas on Mondays, so howdy :)
Scroll down to TEATIME if you don’t care for life happenings.
I’ve been dog/housesitting for a coworker (so many acquaintances have been or will be going to Hawaii this summer, lucky ducks!). I didn’t take my kettle or teaware over to the house so recent mornings have involved drinking canned Guayakí yerba maté, or gasp! a K-Cup of coffee the other day. I came home this morning for a few sessions because I’m going through tea withdrawal.
The infection I’d had from March to June resurfaced last week, though since I knew what it was, I was able to get into the doctor for antibiotics the same day the infection kicked in severely. We’re euthanizing Housemate #1’s old, gay tomcat this evening at home. Housemate #2 is moving out in a month so the atmosphere will be very calm as autumn approaches, a setting enjoyable for hopefully increased gongfu sessions. Strange week. Despite all this, I feel a delightful yearning. Maybe it’s because I am okay, confident and rolling with the happenings. Also, somebody is hot on my tail.
Received as a sample from Togo. This swap package is never-ending.
5g, 100mL porcelain pot, 200F, rinse, medium length gongfu steep times starting at 20s. I didn’t keep track, maybe 8 infusions.
Dry leaf was small, uniform pebbles with scents of sweet almond and sugar cookie with vegetal, creamy and floral qualities. Warming the leaf opened up the aromas, with additions of pine, anise, gardenia, vanilla, cream, garden peas and a light, tangy high note.
The aroma was delicate and pleasing, floral, cookie, anise. The first thing I noticed was the body of the tea, thick and oily with substantial minerality leading to quick salivation. Like the aroma, the tastes were delicate. If the tea had not had such a pronounced mouthfeel, I would’ve felt this a dud. But the body had me wanting to swirl the tea around in my mouth and in that process, I was able to appreciate the subtlety of flavors. Pine, fresh and dry grass, butter, gardenia on the breeze, a golden apple and lemon mineral water brightness, fleeting hints of custard and spinach, and a few notes I’ve rarely if ever gotten in a high mountain oolong — wet rocks and fresh fungus on the forest floor. They unexpectedly fit the tea well.
The finish was cooling and complex with a throaty bite for the first few steeps and the aftertaste was distinctly green/golden apple skins. Spent leaf revealed pretty much all 3-leaves and a bud, very thin, yet it really expanded in my pot. The energy was CCC — calm, cool and collected.
Simply, a pleasant, perhaps understated tea. Delicate and subtle, never overbearingly green or floral, nor necessarily sweet. I feel like this is a Shanlinxi done right.
Song pairing: David Byrne and Brian Eno — Strange Overtones
Been grooving to David Byrne and Talking Heads for a while.
Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apple, Apple Skins, Butter, Cookie, Cream, Custard, Dry Grass, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Lemon, Mineral, Mushrooms, Pine, Spinach, Thick, Vanilla, Wet Rocks