Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Shan Valley: Valley Green Tea, A Tea Review

As I am typing this Midwestern weather is showing its chaotic flair! This early afternoon it was almost 80 degrees, sunny, and wonderfully pleasant. It was so nice I decided to go out wearing a short-sleeved dress, BIG mistake, pretty much as soon as I went out the sky clouded over and the wind started whipping. An hour or so later the temperature has dropped to 45 degrees and it is storming wildly. If the weather prediction is correct it will get below freezing and I will wake up to three inches of snow! The weather here is maddening but seldom ever dull.

Today's tea comes from a more tropical location, Myanmar! Valley Green Tea by Shan Valley is a premium green tea harvested year round, according to the description. The aroma of these fairly large leaves is extremely kelpy, in fact I had to do a double take 'am I really just smelling my nori by accident?' are these leaves really just dried kelp? I can practically smell the sea air, maybe if I am lucky it will transport me to the seaside. Further nose investigation led me to find the aroma of cooked spinach under the strong ocean aroma.

As per the previous teas from Shan Valley, there were no steeping instruction, I steeped at 175 degrees for about two minutes. I found the aroma of the wet leaves were still very kelpy, but now I am picking up stronger notes of spinach and sweet fruitiness similar to cherries. I have to admit this aroma struck me as an odd combo. The liquid sans leaves smells strongly of seaweed and brackish water, it reminded me of being on the coast when the tide is leaving. I know a lot of people are not a huge fan of that smell, but it is one of my favorite.

I love the ocean, the smells, tastes, everything about it! I tend to go into this kinda of trance when I am at the ocean that usually involves me running off into the water (a problem when I was a child) and staying there until I am dragged out. It has made me wonder if I am part mermaid or something along those lines most my life! Having a tea that smells so strongly of the sea is extremely exciting, sadly the taste was not entirely to my liking. First is the initial kelp taste with a hint of slightly fishy, metallic note. It quickly fades to cooked spinach, which goes nicely with the ocean greens theme, but the finish is a mix of sweet cherries and seaweed. I think the sweetness at the end kinda ruined the experience for me, if it had been all kelp and vegetal I would have loved this tea immensely, but the cherry sweetness added too much of a clashing taste. I still say give it a taste if you are able, I mean how often can you say you are sipping a tea from Myanmar that tastes like the ocean and fruit?

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