Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zenjala Tea Company, Bohea

This is the original Lapsong tea, from the Wuyi mountains of Fujian Province in China. It has a sweet flavor known as "longan". Pronounced "boo-he" this tea was advertised for sale in Philadelphia in 1720, and 342 chests of this tea were thrown overboard at the Boston Tea Party.

My how my tastes have changed. I asked for this one not knowing what it was. The name just sounded interesting and it was thrown overboard in the Boston harbor. How cool is that? :) I opened the tin and could smell smoke. Uh oh. Last fall, my first Keemun threw me. It seemed so smoky to me. I didn’t know if I liked it or what to make of it. I eventually learned to enjoy it by using a very short first steep. Fans of this type tea tell me it isn’t very smoky at all, but it was to me and I have been avoiding smoky black tea since. Oops.

So here I go again. I took a scoop of leaf and steeped it in my press for 3 minutes (the instructions said 4-5, but I was afraid). It smells strong. I poured my cup, took a breath, and sipped. Wow, it doesn’t taste like an ashtray. There is a woodsy kind of smoky thing going on. This tea is lightly sweet. The smoke and sweetness linger long after the cup is gone. There is no bitterness. No astringency. This is really good. No one is more surprised than me. I had three cups. Go me!

I did some research and Bohea was at one time considered high quality tea (like in colonial times). In later years the name lost respect. This tea by Zenjala reintroduces this tea in its classic form. It is deserving of respect. If you get the chance, do not pass up the opportunity to try this one.

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