The Gyokuro Green Tea in my tasting cup
The second tea was a Lapsang Souchong (one of my favorite teas to say!), a black tea from China. If you are not familiar with Lapsang Souchong, you should definitely try it--at least for the experience. It is an extremely smoky tea--which i love in smaller doses. (I used to "host" informal tea gatherings at work in the afternoon and we paired this tea once with a smoked Gouda and bacon--whoa!) This robust, strong tea is whithered over pinewood fires and then pan fired, as the tea leaves oxidize they are pan fired again, rolled and do their final drying in bamboo baskets over smokey pine fires. The aroma of the dry leaf is very smoky and a bit woody. The aroma of the wet leaf is even stronger, like a smoky campfire and the flavor reminds me of the outer crust of a toasted marshmallow when you slightly burn it when making a S'more. They say you either love or hate this tea--the woman next to me didn't want to taste her tea after smelling the leaf but she gamely gave it a sip and although not a "lover", she finished most of her cup.
(A little blurry) Shot of the Lapsang Souchong leaves
Our final tea from last week was a Jade Oolong from the Nantou/Chiayi region of Taiwan. (Apparently in Taiwan, Jade is a category of tea based on oxidizing but can be characterized differently in other places in China). This tea is lightly oxidized, with greenish, tightly rolled leaves. The aroma of the dry leaf was lightly floral. The wet leaf had a more Jasmine-like floral smell. This tea typically has a floral aftertaste that lingers longer than the first taste. It has a light sweetness and reminds me of sitting in a flower garden on a sunny day. Very drinkable and you could easily drink it all day long.
Blurry Again--but can you see the tightly rolled leaves of the Jade Oolong?
The wet Jade Oolong leaves unfurled & the tea ready to taste
I am not sure exactly what we will be learning this week other than tasting more varieties of tea but I am looking forward to learning and cupping more in the next few weeks.