Recently Sir William o.t.L. mentioned that he'd like to read more tea tastings/tea notes from me. I aim to please, so this evening I prepared two very different green teas to review here.
One I bad mouthed a long time ago. In the comments to that post, someone recommended I try other Yunnan teas and I'm really glad I did. This one is simply called China Yunnan, which is so vague I almost don't want to review it. Both of these teas I got from Claus Kröger in Hamburg. The other one is much different, and has character that this specific Yunnan could only hope for. It's a Sencha called China Dong-Bai. The Sencha is not a light, soft green tea. Not by a long shot.
I have to say that since that bad experience with one questionable Yunnan, I've tried several and was pleasantly surprised. Have come to understand that Yunnan greens can be very very good, and I just picked a lemon at the outset. It happens. This one I'm drinking tonight is mild, but that's not always a bad thing. It'd be perfect if I'd just had something stronger and wanted a break.
The Sencha, on the other hand, is fantastic. Not a tea for people who're trying to ease into green tea. Very strong and earthy taste. Now, one of the Japanese teas I like most is also a Sencha, but this only tastes remotely like that one. The Japanese is called Schattentee (Shadow Tea) and is very smooth and almost hesitant. This Dong-Bai is the exact opposite. There's something smoky about it. Something so much like Lapsang Souchong. I know that's a black tea and this is green. Nevertheless, the smokiness ties them together in my mind.
So many green teas are called grassy. I guess that's how I'd describe the Yunnan. A bit like the taste of grass. But the Sencha is in no way grassy.
When I first started this blog, I focused on the different kinds of black teas at first. I knew more about them and had more connections to India, so it was a logical decision. The thing was that I was and am very curious about China and Japan and wanted to dig deeper into their teas. I knew even then that the more I got into green tea, the more obsessed I'd be.
Well that's exactly what's happened. I read more about the specific greens and whites, and all I want to do is go there and see where this tea is grown. There was a video blog last summer from Kevin Rose and some of his friends travelling across China drinking tea and eating bar-b-que out of the back of a portable grill pulled behind the guy's bicycle. As I watched the footage, all I could think of was, 'I wish that was me. I wish I was hoofing it across China, looking at tea plantations and interacting with the people.'
Not too late. I could be taking just such a trip later this year. We'll see.