This was a tea I was excited to try. Vahdam Teas gifted me a 10 gram sample of the 2017 production of this tea a little earlier in the year and I promised to review it in return. Going into this review, I was at least vaguely familiar with the Arya Estate’s line of offerings, but to be completely honest, I knew more about its reputation; the Arya Estate has developed a well-deserved reputation for producing truly exceptional teas. I was aware that their black and white teas, in particular, are considered to be some of the best on the market. So, all of that being said, I was looking forward to trying this tea and even made sure to set aside a large block of time to conduct a review session with minimal distractions. Unfortunately, I never quite came to grips with this tea.
I opted to gongfu this tea. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf material (which was absolutely beautiful, by the way) emitted subtle aromas of hay, herbs, grass, and pine. After the rinse, I detected touches of malt and lemon. The first infusion brought out impressions of nuts. In the mouth, I found notes of pine, lemon, grass, hay, straw, malt, and nuts underscored by a hint of spinach. Subsequent infusions brought out the spinach on the nose and in the mouth. I also found impressions of lettuce, lime zest, seaweed, grain, and minerals. There was kind of a broth-like umami note that fully emerged as well. Brewing the way I did, the tea faded quite quickly. The later infusions that actually did have any amount of aroma or flavor mostly emphasized notes of minerals, grass, and spinach, though hints of corn husk arrived fashionably late and did what they could to liven things up a bit. Very distant notes of lettuce and malt could also be found on at least a couple of these infusions.
This struck me as being a very soft and clean tea. Having now taken the time to process my feelings about it, all I can say is that I can see why some people love it and I can see why it is so highly rated, but it was not for me. I like white teas that display more fruitiness and this tea did not offer enough to satisfy me. I could tell this was a quality tea produced from a quality picking in a good year, but again, it was not quite my thing. If you are a fan of more delicate, vegetal white teas with a strong umami note, I could see this being up your alley.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Pine, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw, Umami