Saturday, December 27, 2014

What-Cha, Darjeeling 2nd Flush 2014 Jungpana AV2 Yellow Tea

What-Cha Description:
A brilliant yellow tea from Darjeeling with a delightful hay taste and a slight spice finish. A great example of the brilliant work being done by Jungpana Tea Estate in Darjeeling.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
Today we return to sampling a What-Cha tea. Their teas have been excellent. Though they have teas from regions we all know and love, for me, the excitement builds when tasting from a region I was unaware produced tea, or in this case a type of tea I have never tried. This is my first yellow tea. So, I had to do a little research. Here is what I came up with from Wikipedia:
Yellow tea is a tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow. Typically, the tea has a yellow-green appearance yet a different aroma from both green and white tea.

Opening the sample bag for a first whiff, I get lovely hay. It reminds me of a silver needle white in aroma.

I removed a third of the 10g sample for exam and brewing. The leaf is interesting. I mean, it kind of resembles a blend of white peony and Nepalese black teas. The color range is very broad from green to cinnamon to greyish tipped dark brown.

Today I opted to use my new clear glass teapot. I'm not sure why but this just looked like a tea that will be neat to watch (I was right).

I used filtered water heated to 194 F. The recommended steep time is 3-4 minutes. I shot down the middle at 3:30.

The leaf quickly began to soak up the water and rejuvenate. As it did, it filled the teapot with leaf. At one point my attention focused to a few slightly purple tinted leaves that formed a display like an orchid blossom or a hummingbird fluttering about. That's why I love a clear teapot.

The liquor is very clear and bright with a sunshine yellow gold coloring.

I found the teapot much easier to pour from today, after a little practice. The cup was better than half full before I realized I forgot to use a strainer. Quickly, I grabbed and continued pouring as the teapot does need to be turned way up to drain. Amazingly, only a small amount of leaf was in the strainer - and none in the cup, thank you very much.

The wet leaf was then poured on to a plate. 3g of dry leaf (about 2 tsp) made a humongous amount of wet leaf. There is an abundant amount of large whole leaves. They look like they have just been plucked on a dewy morning. There are also several examples of two small leaves and a tiny bud. They are just as fresh. It has a lightly vegative scent with notes of marine and fruit.

I've written a whole review and I haven't even gotten to the taste yet. That shows how magical the experience has been. This is why I love tea. At its best, tea is so much more than just something to drink.

Now how to describe what I am tasting... I described the appearance of the dry leaf as a blend of white and black teas. For me, this similarly describes the taste. Initially, there is a soft almost stone taste but sweeter and leaning towards hay and fruit. It kind of reminds me of the gentleness of a white tea. Thinking about it, I think nutty might also fit here. As you swallow a sudden wave of good bite fills your mouth. As you smack your lips afterwards you get a sense of floral, that is more vegetation than flower, if that makes sense. You also get a touch of dryness. This is more what I would expect from a Darjeeling black tea. The greenness in the aftertaste stays with you a good long while.

A second cup was prepared, using the same leaf, in a similar manner to the first. Well, this is interesting. The subtle taste of the first cup has been replaced by bolder flavors. To my limited Midwestern palate, this tastes like a raw white potato with maybe the sweetness of corn. The nutty/stone is still present. The aftertaste is more vegetive than grassy. The wave of bite remains intact.

This is a complex, unique, and interesting combination, of subtle, bold, and explosive, making it hard to define and worth trying.

You can find Darjeeling 2nd Flush 2014 Jungpana AV2 Yellow Tea here.

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