Time for a break from reorganzing for a bit of tea and writing! Today's tea is the last of the samples from Shan Valley, Shan First Flush Green Tea, this tea is from the first harvest (usually in April, according to the description) and is considered a reserve tea, fancy. The aroma is very fresh and very vegetal, mixing the notes of vegetation, fresh lettuce, spinach, and a bit of kelp. It reminds me of a salad, specifically a salad being eaten al fresco in a lush garden. These leaves smell like nature and food.
The steeped leaves retain their vegetal tones but also gain a sharpness that reminds me of fresh kale, there is a spritz of citrus and slight hint of kelp. The more I sniff the wet leaves the more I am picking out, a bit of lettuce and a hint of smokiness, and a finish of teaberry. The teaberry finish gave me a surprise, I have not smelled that plant (and by extension ice cream flavor) in years, so serious points on the nostalgia chart. The liquid without the leaves is a blend of lettuce and kelp with a finish of copper.
The taste is sharp and vegetal, mixing the taste of lettuce and kelp with a bit of bitter green, like kale. There is a bit of a citrus taste as well and an aftertaste of smokiness. Out of curiosity I decided to brew some in my gaiwan, uncovered for one minute, just to see how much of a difference there is. The taste of the gaiwan brewed leaves is very similar, less of the kale taste and more kelp, there is a finish of smokiness and it leaves a slightly sage like herbal taste in the mouth. This is a tea for someone who loves the strong vegetal greens with a hint of ocean flavors, I like this one. I was not wowed or blown away by it, but I did certainly enjoy it.