by Little Yellow Teapot (a tea steeping marvel and occasional contributing author to this e-zine)
Yours truly here, as in your fave little teapot. Don’t feel deserted because I joined the tea party here. TOOOOT! Time to get steeping some tea. This time around it’s the latest from a tea garden in India. We’ve had some ups and downs with this tea in the past, our first experience being rather…uh, gee, how do I say this nicely?…not worth remembering (yet we do). Follow-up experiences, though, were pure delights. Let’s see how this one does.
Something Is Amiss
One thing my humans and I have learned over the years is that sometimes the sample we get is not a good representation of the tea vendor’s stock. This is such a tea. As you can see, the liquid looks a beautiful ruby color. But photos can be deceiving. When my humans cut open the pouch and inhaled the aroma of the dry leaves, right away they detected that something was amiss. The odor was unpleasant (very corn-like with cucumber notes). Sort of like the Makaibari Darjeeling my humans and I tried a little while ago (see the post on my old blog here) and didn’t like. SighTOOOOT! The steeped liquid was just as unpleasant. That corn/cucumber quality. What to do?
Suspecting that something was clearly amiss, and having heard from the vendor that our flavor/aroma experience was not at all what theirs was (and considering that in the past we had really good experiences with them), my humans and I thought we’d “air out” the remainder of the sample and try it again. This had worked in the past with a pu-erh sample from another tea vendor we like.
How to air out your tea:
- Dump the tea leaves in a bowl
- Set the bowl (uncovered) in a room away from any kitchen odors for about 24 hours
- Smell the aroma once or twice during this time, shaking the bowl lightly to mix up the leaves
The dry tea’s aroma did improve. Then, I steeped up some, following the instructions on the back of the sample pouch. This time it was a lot better. The hot version was decent, but astringency grew as the tea cooled.
Be sure to drink it while it’s nice and hot so the flavor doesn’t degrade too much. TOOOT!
Disclaimer: all items were furnished by the vendor but all opinions expressed here are totally unbiased.
© 2014 A.C. Cargill photos and text