Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sanne Tea, Taiwanese Green Tea

Sanne Tea Description:
This Taiwanese Green Tea comes from Pinglin District, New Taipei City, near the Feitsui Reservoir area. For centuries, the environment has been strictly protected in this area. Mr. Chen, the fourth generation of his tea family, earned the organic certification in 2010, and became one of only 22 organic tea farmers in this area.

Unlike non-fermented Japanese Green Tea, Mr. Chen’s Taiwanese Green Tea is lightly fermented, about 5%, making the tea less pungent and less bitter than Japanese Green Tea. After it is picked, the fresh leaves go through a short withering process. Unlike other green tea makers who pick immature tea buds, Mr. Chen only picks the well-grown tea leaves, which contain sufficient nutrition to generate exquisite flavors. After harvest, the fresh tea leaves were naturally withered under the sun and gentle breeze. Compared to blower withering, natural withering keeps the tea’s innate aroma. Next step, the stir is the key for making excellent green tea. Insufficient stirring would make tea smell moldy and fusty; over stirring would lose the freshness of green tea. Only an experienced tea master can adjust the amount of time and temperature during stirring, extracting the correct notes from the fresh leaves to impart a wonderful sweetness.

Sample provided by Sanne Tea

My Review:
Sanne Tea invited The Everyday Tea Blog to review a few of their new products. I quickly jumped at the opportunity as the previous teas were very good.

Today's tea is a new Taiwanese Green Tea. Taiwan is noted for their exceptional high mountain oolongs. They also have some fabulous black teas (Sun Moon Lake I love you). Lesser known, especially in the west, are the green teas that did not hit the global market until the mid 20th century and most of us are just hearing about them now.

This is a 6g sample that came in a resealable pouch. It looks like brown market wrapping paper on the outside but is lined to preserve freshness. The package front is elegant in its simplicity.

The back of the pouch is what most catches my attention. The pertinent information is hand written with a brush pen. I find this personal touch and attention to detail refreshing in a world of shove it out the door. Taking the time to do it right is very tea.

Opening the pouch, I get just a light whiff of green. If I have to find a word, I guess grassy is the best choice.

I poured the entire sample on to a plate then divided it in half. 3g went into a glass bottle. I filled it with water and put it in the fridge for a cold brew test in about 12 hours.

Examining the remaining 3g, the leaf is large pieces, some lightly twisted, some not so much. The leaf is various shades of green with an abundance of white tips on the end of the leaf.

I used the glass French press as usual. Water was heated to 175 F and once added the steep was a short 60 seconds.

Permit me to run off on a brief rabbit trail, I have always read tea bags release the flavor more quickly than loose leaf. I just don't get that. I have never steeped a tea bag for only 60 seconds. I think it is more fair to say a tea bag releases most of its flavor in the first steep, reducing the usable number of steeps to one - two if you like weak tea. Loose leaf usually steeps multiple times, has a more complex taste, and often results in a different experience with each.

OK, back to this tea. The resulting liquor I found to be one of the yellowest cups I can recall. The product page calls it light green. Possibly the difference is they may have prepared this in a gaiwan and I used the press.

The steeped leaf has really been rejuvenated. They are big plump green leaves. The scent is between green vines and grassy.

Tasting the very clear liquor, I taste sweet corn. I was expecting more of a seaweed flavor, but my brain and taste buds are calling this corn. It is incredibly smooth with no hint of bitterness. I am not noticing much in the way of drying astringency. The taste turns even sweeter toward the end.

As it approaches room temperature the flavor is reduced and it becomes more of a fresh mineral stream taste. I still find it pleasantly refreshing. The aftertaste remains green and grassy.

The second cup was steeped for 90 seconds. The color of this cup does have a slight greenish tint. The aroma out of the press is far more nori (edible seaweed). This difference is an interesting example of my rabbit trail comment above.

Cool. The taste is also a 180 from the first cup. The taste is bold nori. There is just enough bite to be interesting without being bitter or astringent. The finish is sweet and grassy. I notice just a slight tingle in the cheeks. As the cup cools the bite subsides, though never disappearing completely. The taste remains a mix of seaweed and grass.

This leaf should stand up to three more steeps, and I still have the cold brew to comment about, but not today. It is my oldest son's birthday, so we are getting ready celebrate with him. However, I have enjoyed my time this afternoon with this one from Mr. Chen's garden. Thank you Sanne Tea.  

You can find Sanne Tea Taiwanese Green here.

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