This marks my first steps in a venture through Indian teas. I’ll be exploring black, green, oolong, and chai teas. Thanks to Vahdam Tea’s sampler packs, I have a pretty diverse selection of quality teas.
So, I couldn’t bring myself to follow their brewing recommendations and brew Western style. WIth only 10g to work with, I had to go gong fu – once with about 6g in 150ml gaiwan, and another with 4g in a 60ml gaiwan. Yes – full on gong fu.
I have to say – this tea was made for gong fu brewing. Not only did both of my sessions yield substantially different results, but the heavily-leafed version (4g/60ml) was extraordinarily dynamic and revealed new facets with just the slightest changes in brewing parameters. It was simply a FUN tea to brew. (As a side note – the 6g/150ml version had more grape leaf flavors, while the 4g/60ml version had some almond, yeast roll, and pollen. Both had rich and syrupy finishes).
The flavors ranged from fruity to vegetal, from floral to sweet, with herbs, spices, and even baked goods making an appearance. Really fun, and on par with Taiwanese high-mountain oolongs. However, just like these oolongs, I can’t say that I would ever purchase anything more than a sample – at $38 for 100g, it is simply out of my budget for what I pay for tea. But, it is well worth adding a sample to my cart just to remind myself of the kinds of experiences that are available out there in the world of tea.
Dry leaf: primary grape leaf note. Secondary notes of light roasted nut, parsley, cilantro, and sassafras. Hints of anise. In preheated vessel – more nut flavors, buttery syrupiness.
Smell: sweet corn, light pecan, grape leaf, floral, yeast roll
Taste: arrival of grape leaf. Development of raw almond, yeast roll, pollen, and coriander seed. Finish is syrupy sweet. Aftertaste of sweet corn, parsley, and hints of sassafras.