Wow! That smell!! What is it? It’s so strong! It’s somehow taking me back to “The Western Fair”: my hometown fair that takes place every fall.. with all the bright lights, the carnival music, kiddie rides, deep-fried beaver-tails, corn-dogs, cotton candy, the bees, the screaming kids, the sky-high prices, and rows of corny carny-games and garish gigantic stuffed Scooby-Doos and Pink Panthers… Whac-A-Mole anyone?? This tea smells like all of that! It’s like grass and smoke and something sour/tangy like caramelized onions… and spinach/asparagus… and bacon. It smells like a stir-fry!! The smell hits me before I even get the bag open to look at the leaves. They are pretty, thin, dark-green needles; each one twisted and fuzzy. I can’t even imagine what this tea will taste like. It definitely has hints of Lapsang Souchong‘s smoke. I’m a little scared.
I’m afraid this is going to be too strong and smoky for me, so I’m going with Gongfu style so I can do quick, 20-second infusions. Let’s see.
I give it a 5-second rinse. I steep for 25 seconds. The tea is a light gold colour and smells a bit like sweet straw.
Hmmm… not bad! It’s initially sweet with toasty honey and hay notes. It’s quite mellow. The aftertaste is where you find the lingering smoke. It’s subtle, though, and not too overpowering at all. This infusion is just on the edge of bitter… 5 more seconds would have ruined it. It’s nice, though. It’s fresh, mildly sweet, slightly smoky, somewhat astringent, and thankfully, does not taste like spinach, asparagus, onions, or bacon! This is a unique green tea. I don’t think I’ve had one like it. It really seems more like a toasty oolong, or a Lapsang Souchong. This might be nice for coffee lovers who are trying to switch to green tea.
I leave the second infusion for 40 seconds. It’s not as sweet… more smoky. I think 40 seconds is too long. It’s closer to bitter, and more astringent… still drinkable, but not really my favourite. I think it’s very easy to overbrew this tea.
I will happily drink the rest of my sample, but I don’t think I will be buying this again. It’s a good tea, but I’m more partial to the fruity, floral, perfume-y flavours of a Dragon Well or Anxi Monkey King. I think my Dad might like this one.
This tea was purchased as part of Tea Vivre’s 2014 Spring collection.