Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What-Cha: Vietnam Wild 'Mountain Mist' Silver Needle White Tea

I might be going to the zoo tomorrow, how fun! It is a big might, see my local zoo sends out these coupons that allows two people free entry one day on a few randomly selected months, and September is one of those months. I am a bit stir crazy, but it seems every time I go out my 'condition' gets worse, exacerbated by my already annoying social anxiety, so now I am phobic of leaving the house. Fingers crossed, I want to go to the zoo, it is one of my great joys. Now if only the somewhat tiny 'chainstore' version of the local aquarium would give out free passes, oh I would spend all day with the fishes!!

So, tea time! Today I am talking about What-Cha's Vietnam Wild 'Mountain Mist' Silver Needle White Tea, a White Tea from the Assamica varietal, plucked from possibly up to 800 year old trees grown in the Yen Bai Province of Vietnam and harvested by the H'mong Ethnic People. This fancy tea was sourced by Geoff Hopkins of Hatvala, a company whose mission is to spread the word of Vietnamese teas, something you guys probably know I am a fan of. The aroma of the gently fuzzy needles (they have a slight curl to them) is a fascinating blend of sweetness in the form of peaches and green melon, green in the form of cucumber and a touch of celery, and a hint of smoke. The name Mountain Mist is fitting, the aroma is light and airy, crisp and clean, with a wispy hint of distant hearth fires, it is evocative of the environment it was grown.

Into my steeping vessels the leaves went, it took a while for the water to permeate the fuzzy trichome sheath turning the leaves plump and green. The aroma of the wet leaves is an even blend of cucumbers, green melons, watermelon rind, and smoke. It leans more towards cooling vegetal than sweet. The liquid smells sweet and refreshing, blending melon rind, honeydew, and cucumber.
The first steep is intensely cooling! That is very refreshing, starting in the belly and spreading out to my fingers, remind me to keep this stashed away for next time I have a fever! It is very light and clean, reminds me very much of rain water in the mountains. The taste starts with gentle smoke and then moves to melon and peaches with a finish of cucumbers and distant flowers. It is almost effervescent in its lightness. 

I went for a second steep, the aroma has a stronger smoke note and a crisp barely ripe peach note as well. It is still potently cooling, though not quite as much so as the first steep, the taste has a slightly astringent edge to it this time, while still being light and airy. Sweet peach, smoke, and melons mix together, with a slightly gentle smoke aftertaste. This was quite the unique tea!

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