Monday, September 17, 2007

Showy Teas

I couldn't resist trying this tea out tonight, especially since I'll be up a while doing some grading. This is one of the teas I ordered a sampling of from Upton Tea Imports: Special China Green Peony Rosettes. I've always been curious about these "display" teas. They may be interesting to look at (some of them even have a red or pink flower in the middle, though not this one), but are they any good?

These teas are tied into a bunch - and sometimes subsequently rolled/folded into a ball - by hand. They are normally good for multiple infusions (a good tea for an all-nighter, perhaps?). Prior to brewing, the leaves had a deep, almost grape-like fragrance.

The rosette takes a little while to bloom. Upton Teas recommends steeping for 3 - 7 minutes. I may have over-steeped just a bit, because the tea developed a little bit of bitterness, but there wasn't any unpleasant aftertaste. The liquor had a deep, muted vegetal taste that reminded me of fall. It was also surprisingly smoky, which wasn't what I was expecting, but then I looked back at the catalogue description: "...Sweet aroma, with a delicate, smoky nuance." It was a fun experience, and I think I'll give other display teas a try, but I don't think this particular one is to my taste.

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