Friday, January 23, 2015

What-Cha, Vietnam 'Fish Hook' Green Tea

What-Cha Description:
A powerful green tea which has a lovely grassy taste with strong astringent tones.
Produced on a small family farm utilising traditional methods of hand-rolling the leaves and using wood fired ovens.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
I really tried to reach into my What-Cha box today and pull out a random tea. I tried. I failed. I mean, come on, Vietnam Fish Hook Green Tea! I am a sucker for an interesting name from a far away place that I know little about.

That's why I love What-Cha, they make it possible to explore a much bigger tea world of amazing tastes than I even knew existed.

OK, resealable aluminum bag with a simple to follow label, yadda, yadda, yadda, let's brew some tea!

Opening the bag for my first sensory impression. I can't come up with words to describe the scent. It is kind of grassy but there is another element. It is kind of halfway between corn and hazelnut to me.

It's show and tell time. I placed a scoop of leaf on a plate. It is unusual in color. It is kind of a battleship gray (or grey if you prefer) coating over a tiny green leaf. Yes, they are kind of kinked and resemble a fish hook.

I placed the leaf into my still warm and wet, from cleaning, clear glass teapot. This really amped the grassy aroma. Then I added water heated to 167 F per the label and steeped for one minute.

The result is a very lightly yellow tinted liquor. There is no cloudiness. The leaf is bright green now and highly scented in a steamed vegetal way.

Taking my first sip leaves an immediate positive impression.

This tea has a grab you, and force you to notice, bite. It is, to my tastes, the good kind of bitter. At this point I am not sure it is astringency as there is very little dryness associated with it. The taste kind of reminds me of halfway between Dragon Well and Tai Ping Hou Kui. Feel free to disagree. It's grassy and not so much buttery but kind of corn tasting.

For those who follow the blog regularly, you may recall I am doing my best to kick the Splenda monkey. I mention this because it is difficult to tell if something is naturally sweet without additives when you are used to sweetener overload. That said, I believe this to have a natural sweetness.

Cup two was steeped for 1 minute 10 seconds. The bite is substantially reduced. This is grass first, then corn, followed by a nice mineral note. I keep thinking I smell floral notes as I sip but as soon as I notice them they vanish. I do notice much more of a cheek tingle with this cup but still minimal dryness.

I liked this one a lot. It is not subtle and it is flavorful. Watch your temperature and your time with this one as I am pretty sure it could get very bitter very quickly. The heavy bite of the first cup could probably be held back by a steep shorter than one minute. I did not try it as I like the bite.

You can find What-Cha, Vietnam 'Fish Hook' Green Tea here.

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