Tea Vivre always wins for longest titles! The longer the title, the better the tea, maybe?
When I was learning to be an English teacher, one of my instructors explained the English language this way:
More words = more distance, more formality, more respect and awe; Less words = short distance, less formality, more familiarity and love
In your inner circle, there are your friends and family… people you love. People you hold close to you. You embrace them. The distance between you is very very short, and you pull them closer to you by putting fewer words between you. So, you might say to them, “Want tea?” (2 words)
Then there is an outer circle with people you know, but not well. You use a few more words with these people because they are not so close. There is more space to fill. “Would you like some tea?” (5 words)
Then there are people who are outside of your circles. They are strangers, or they are divided from you by class or status. Maybe they are revered scholars, or religious leaders, or royalty, or lawyers and judges, or presidents… The distance between you is great. Maybe it’s a chasm! You need many more words to fill the space. If you wanted to show respect, you might say something like “May I offer you some tea?” (6 words) or “Your Majesty, may I offer you one of our finest black teas from Yunnan province?” (15 words). More words… more respect.
So, the tea… when I open the package, it smells like (in order) wood, malt, oak, earth, malt. In my hometown there is a large beer brewery. Sometimes in the summer the smell of malted hops would drift across the city and you’d catch it on the breeze. These thick twisty leaves smell like that… warm, earthy, malty breeze on a summer’s day.
I steep 1 tsp of leaves in a basket for 25 seconds. Cooled water: 80 deg. It’s a deep amber colour.
Mmmm… it smells so sweet, like honey and malt. The first sip is exactly that! It’s sweet! It’s honey! It’s sooooooo smooth and malty! This is delicious! The aroma, combined with the super smooth sweet maltiness is just phenomenal! It doesn’t even taste like black tea to me. It tastes like melted malted milk candy! No bitterness, no astringency AT ALL! This ancient tree is mellow, and honey-sweet. I think there’s a little hint of apricots as well.
I steep the second cup for 2 minutes. It still has the sweet malty flavour, but now there is more of a ‘tea’ flavour like a good quality commercial black tea. I don’t mean to say it’s like a dusty teabag… but just that the classic ‘tea’ flavour is there. But still… none of the bitterness or astringency that I associate with black teabags. I think this might be my new favourite black tea! I just can’t believe how mellow and smooth it is! Tea Vivre describes it as bold but delicate, and that is exactly right!
This tea deserves its long, long, long name. More words… more respect!
Big THANK YOU to Tea Vivre for providing this excellent sample!