This was a tea I had been looking forward to for some time. I received it as a free sample from Vahdam Teas back in the spring. At the time, I was glad they sent me a sample of this tea because I enjoy Darjeeling white teas and had been curious about the teas produced by the Avongrove Estate, but had yet to get around to trying any. Naturally, reviewing other teas took precedence and this ended up sitting sealed in one of my tea totes until last week when I finally got around to drinking it. Though I do not think the way I brewed it did it justice (compared to my usual gongfu method, a simple Western preparation was just as, if not slightly more effective), this was a wonderful white tea.
Obviously, for the purpose of writing a thorough review, I prepared this tea gongfu style. I know that I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of water after a flash rinse, but I do not recall what the water temperature was. For some reason, I simply did not write it down. I think it may have been either 180 F or 185 F. The first infusion lasted 5 seconds. It was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for those infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of lavender, sage, wood, and malt. After the rinse, I detected aromas of lemon zest, hay, lemongrass, and basil. The first infusion produced a pretty much identical set of aromas. In the mouth, I found delicate notes of lemon zest, basil, lavender, sage, lemongrass, hay, and malt underscored by faint impressions of Muscatel, wood, tangerine, and white peach. Subsequent infusions brought out more citrus on the nose and in the mouth while the floral aromas and flavors fully emerged. A unique mix of geranium, violet, chamomile, dandelion, and marigold was highlighted by many of these infusions. The notes of tangerine and lemon zest were also joined by a subtle orange zest impression. New notes of cream, butter, almond, and minerals appeared as well. The tea washed out quickly. I was steeping mostly for color and texture by about the 50 second mark. The last infusions were dominated by minerals, though I could pick up belatedly emerging notes of cucumber to compliment the lingering traces of cream, grass, and herbs.
While I do not feel like I got this one right in terms of preparation, I do have to reiterate that this was a fabulous white tea. The mix of aromas and flavors it displayed was so unique that I am not certain I can compare it to any other white tea I have tried within the past year or so. Should you have the opportunity to try it, definitely take it.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Dandelion, Floral, Geranium, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Lavender, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Orange Zest, Peach, Sage, Violet, Wood