Wednesday, April 30, 2014

High Elevation Green Tea (or not...)

Today I'm going to be taking a look at yet again another tea from Mountain Tea. (I swear I don't work for them!) This time I'm looking at their High Elevation Green Tea located in the clearance section. If I am remembering correctly, I think I tagged this onto an order due to the price; A modest $5 for 2.8oz of tea. Not a bad price at all for a tea from Taiwan.

They state on their site that this tea's origin is Nantou, Taiwan, which is where a lot of their other high mountian oolong offerings come from. I suspect they have a farm in Nantou who is making several types of tea for MT. This tea in particular comes from the Qing Xin bush which is notorious for producing teas that yeald buttery flavors, a velvety mouthfeel, and strong floral notes.

Image from Mountain Tea
First off, let me start out by showing what the picture on Mountain Tea is. It depicts a very GREEN natural looking tea. It seems to not have a great deal of processing which is a nice thing to see when looking for tea. The picture below is how the tea looked out of the package. It resembles a loose puerh or possibly a wuyi oolong far more than a fresh green tea the sites picture indicates.

How tea looks out of package

As you can imagine, after opening the package I was pretty confused. Expecting a fresh green tea, the roasted(?) leaves are usually something I do not enjoy. I love the fresh flavor of green oolongs and green teas and I tend to think roasted teas taste like an old leather boot. For instance, puerh teas are very popular among most tea drinkers; while I can appreciate the work put into the tea and even smile after a sip, I don't enjoy the complex earthy flavors roasted/aged teas tend to give; they taste, well, old.

2nd or 3rd infusion
Being a little let down on the purchase, I poured the bag into a container and sat it aside for another time and the time is now! I decided to use my yixing pot for this tea. I'm hoping the pot pairs well with the tea's roast to bring out some subtle notes. I started off by adding 6g of the dried leaf to the pot and pouring in off boiling water for a quick 10 second rinse. I know a lot of people tend to rinse roasted teas to get any debris from the roasting process off of the leaves and to "wake up" the leaves. After the rinse, the first steeping is a deep reddish/violet/brown color. Its very intriguing as Ive never had a tea with a purple hue but upon inspection, it could be the lighting in this room. The taste of this tea was a little shocking at first. I'm getting notes of soy beans or edamame beans on the front with a heavy mineral flavor coming in the back. There is also a little bit of floral dancing around in there too. This mineral flavor becomes more pronounced as you progress in infusions. From what I know about teas, this sounds like a wuyi tea due to the mineral flavor but due to not having experienced a wuyi oolong, I cant comment on the similarities or differences. The body of this cha is very nice. It reminds me of a thin honey in the way it coats your tongue. In the later infusions you get hints of green tea that pop in from time to time in between the soy bean and mineral notes.  

They also boast on MT that this tea is very forgiving in the brewing process. They say that this tea will not become bitter no matter how long you brew it. I did forget that I had water in my pot for a good 5 minutes and normally I would discard the infusion but I decided to try it out. It wasn't bitter but it was stronger than I would like to enjoy my infusions. All in all, I was initially let down on the appearance of this tea but in the end it turned out to be enjoyable to drink. I may be more will to try roasted teas now that I have enjoyed this roasted cha. Maybe ill pick up some wuyi in the future!

***After contacting Mountian Tea about this tea, they seem to think I was sent the wrong bag of tea. This bag would be their Puerh cha... No wonder it was so hard to pick out the tasting notes.***