Tuesday, 8 February 2011
I'll show you mine if you show me yours
What an enjoyable afternoon Neil of Neil's Yard and I had trying a variety of tea. Am going to briefly go over the highlights, and possibly come back and go into more detail if there's more to cover.
I wanted to see what he thought of the Darjeeling I have from Darjeeling Tea Express, so I started with a Goomtea Pre Autumnal Black. You can read about it here: Darjeeling Pre Autumnal. This is a tea I like, but Neil was immediately smitten. He loved it. Couldn't help but taste the muscatel, he said. He could clearly see why I was so excited to share this tea with him.
Then I tried his Everyday Kenya from leaf. (leaf. tea), and I was similarly impressed. I've not had much Kenyan tea, but this was delicious. It smelled smoky like a good Yunnan, but was so smooth and spicy. Here's how the leaves looked before adding boiling water (Very dark brown with yellow tips):
Although many Darjeeling lovers wax rhapsodic about first flush tea, I've always liked the stronger second flushes. So I was excited to brew a bit of Gopaldhara 2nd flush (again from Darjeeling Tea Express Gopaldhara 2nd flush). Although he liked it, it didn't make nearly the same impression that the Pre Autumnal did.
This is one of the things I love about tea. Not just the variety of flavours, but the incredibly subjective response that can result from two different tea drinkers.
After we got the black tea sorted, we spent the remainder of our time on multiple infusions of something called Organic Blue Tea (again from leaf.). According to their website, Oolong is sometimes called Blue tea because it's somewhere between black and green. Had never heard that description, but why not? Here's how they describe it: Organic Oolong 'Blue' tea, and it's stated, 'this oolong tea is a Qi Lan from the province of Guang Dong in China.'
From both appearance and taste, this is clearly a highly-oxidised Oolong. Like many first infusions, the smell was more pronounced than the taste. Nevertheless, you could tell what an enjoyable tea drinking session was in store based simply upon this smell.
Sure enough as we drank multiple infusions, the taste of the tea developed. How I ever brewed one single infusion of a decent Oolong still makes me shudder. It was at this point that we sat down and looked at twitter. I think Neil was a bit impressed, as well as intrigued, that the tea companies he'd been in contact with were so easily accessible on Web 2.0. So often, twitter makes no sense until one can see it in action.
There you have it. A wonderful tea tasting experience, and the more he talks about it, I can't wait to see how Neil's Yard turns out. Stay tuned.