Hello all! It’s a rather dreary today today but I have been feeling great. Mostly in part because I’m so excited to review this tea.
Today’s tea is a green tea, which is lovely already but this one in particular hails from Samcholing in Trongsa District of Central Bhutan.
Sebastian of In Pursuit of Tea provides an excellent story on their website about this tea (you can read it here).
In short, after being told that tea leaves formerly growing on the grounds of Bhutan’s Winter Palace had been cut down, Sebastian found living ones and began to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture to begin production. A Korean botanist traveled to help for 3 years who taught the locals how to make green tea, and thus this tea was born. As of now, In Pursuit of Tea is the only importer of this tea.
Two leaves and one bud are picked off of the tea plants in Samcholing, which are then withered and pan-fired. The leaves are then shaped, pan-fired again and withered again.
I am a huge fan of bizarre teas and teas grown in unusual places so as soon as I found this I immediately bought it because I was just so intrigued.
I would love to visit Bhutan – hopefully one day I can if I can fit the prices in with all of the reckless tea spending I do.
The dry leaves are quite dark and rather wiry in shape. The smell is lovely though and unlike any green tea I’ve tried. The first scent I picked up is a slight sour basil note that is very reminiscent of fresh pesto. I also picked up notes of wildflower honey, leafy greens, and the sweet fruity scent of fresh apples in an orchard.
The steeped leaves smell quite sweet, almost like overripe apples. There are faint notes of honey once again and freshly cut grass. I must say that the transition from dark leaves to a bright, vibrant green is beautiful (especially watching the leaves unfurl in a glass teapot).
The steeped tea was rather vegetal and fruity in it’s scent – almost like a combination between the smells of the dry leaves and wet leaves. It’s a gorgeous faint yellow color that is very similar to some lighter Chinese greens like Taiping hou kui.
The first steep of the tea is quite light – it has a slight note of sweetness at the beginning which is followed by some subtle basil and lavender notes, and it ends on a peppery flavor of fresh leafy greens. A second steep brought out those vegetal notes even more, as flavors of basil and tulsi came through more strongly and the level of sweetness decreased. Further steeps (I went to about 5) bring out even more leafy green flavors, and some nutty, toasted flavors come through that are reminiscent of a Chinese green like a longjing.
This tea is wonderful – I love lighter greens and this was perfect. I will definitely be purchasing more of this once I drink up the rest that’s left in the bag and I will probably adding this to my tea collection. I think part of my happiness with this tea is due to the story that it came with – I love drinking tea knowing that it has a history behind it (a rather interesting one at that).
From: In Pursuit of Tea
Samcholing, Trongsa District, Bhutan