Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mariage Freres
This surprising blend, with its evocative name, is based on a fine green tea. It boasts the pleasantly round acidity of citrus fruit, the aromatic richness and peppery notes of mild spices, plus the rind of real Japanese Yuzu (halfway between lemon and mandarin orange). Resolutely exotic.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is one of the Mariage Freres teas that I always seem to overlook when I’m choosing a green tea to drink. There’s no reason for it; it just seems to happen. From time to time, I’ll make an effort to pull out those languishing teas and give them another try. I’m usually surprised by what I discover!
I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The dry leaf is very dark green and folded in appearance – it looks to me like a dragonwell, but there’s no specific indication on the packaging. Some leaves are quite small and fine (almost shredded in appearance), so I suspect it may be a blend of some kind. The scent is mildly grassy and a little bitter. Once brewed, the resulting liquor is a medium yellow, the scent mildly floral.
To taste, this one belies its appearance. I had it pegged as heavy-tasting and possibly bitter, but it’s not like that at all. It’s actually a light, refreshing, spring-like green tea, with initial notes of grass and hay, and a light orchid-like floral in the mid-sip. There’s also a slightly bitter fruitiness that reminds me of orange pith, or perhaps the physalis that sometimes accompany desserts. It’s a pleasant counterpoint to the sweet, mild green base.
The flavours are a little fleeting, and don’t really linger long in the aftertaste, so it’s an excellent palate cleanser. I can see this tea really coming into its own during the warm days of spring and summer ahead. It’s refreshing, sweet and flavourful without being cloying, and wonderfully light on the palate. Although today’s cup is hot, I’m sure I’ll be drinking a lot more of this iced or cold brewed in the coming weeks. Definitely not to be neglected.
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.