Following through on my desire to finish some of the Vietnamese teas I have lying around, I finished a sample pouch of this yesterday evening. As much as I enjoy Vietnamese blacks and oolongs, Vietnamese green teas are often very hit or miss for me. Too often I find them to be bitter, astringent, and lacking in depth. This one, though it did not entirely change my mind, turned out to be pretty good overall.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. I normally don’t rinse many green teas, but I went ahead and rinsed this one. I was aware that this tea has a reputation for being intense and I was hoping to not only wake the tea up, but also to take a little bit of the edge off. After the rinse, I steeped my usual 6 grams of loose leaf material in 4 ounces of 167 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times 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 emitted fairly powerful aromas of grass, hay, and corn husk. The rinse brought out hints of straw, leaf vegetables, and soybean, while the first infusion brought out something of a sweetness. In the mouth, I picked up pronounced notes of grass, hay, straw, and corn husk underscored by touches of sweetness and an almost salty, marine quality. Subsequent infusions brought out greater astringency, as well as aromas and flavors of chestnut, nectar, seaweed, sea salt, kale, toasted rice, and minerals. I never picked up on anything honey-like, but I did get something oddly floral. It almost reminded me of petunias, though that can’t possibly be right. The later infusions were grassy, grainy, and nutty with a more powerful mineral presence. Oddly enough, however, I picked up a few additional vegetal notes, almost like a mixture of spinach and leaf lettuce, around this time.
What-Cha advertised this tea as possessing a powerful grassy taste and they were not exaggerating at all. This was an extremely grassy, vegetal tea. Honestly, it was far from bad, but it was also not the sort of green tea I have been favoring in recent months. Still, I found this tea to be appealing enough. I certainly would not turn down the opportunity to try it again at some point in the future.
Flavors: Chestnut, Corn Husk, Floral, Grass, Hay, Kale, Lettuce, Marine, Mineral, Nectar, Salt, Seaweed, Soybean, Spinach, Straw, Toasted Rice