I had a nice little vacation, and by nice I mean I melted in the heat and played Ark while chugging copious amounts of tea, so nothing really new and exciting. Life in Ark has been extra exciting, my tribemate (aka my mom) and I have been securing our beloved swamp base for the new update which brings in the dreaded leeches and swamp fever, yuck! Lots of bridges and boardwalks had to be installed, and X-plants properly irrigated, it has been very grindy. To keep myself occupied in all this preparation I also tamed a level 116 white rex (the rarest of colors) and a new direbear, because I still have to be the Beastmaster!
Ok, ok, I need to get this out of my system before I get into the actual review of Teanami's Zi Cha/ Purple Tea (Raw 2012)...ANTHOCYANIN! I feel better now, I just have the overwhelming urge to shout that whenever I drink a purple tea, it is a fun thing to do and I suggest doing it. The reason why, of course, is because Anthocyanin is the flavonoid that causes it to be purple, it also makes blueberries blue, grapes purple, cabbage purple...it is essentially the thing behind my favorite food color group. This type of tea is thought to be more pest and drought resistance, and I have noticed that all the purples I have tried have a distinct oomph to them. (I tossed in a couple of links talking about purple tea, focusing on Kenya and Yunnan, it is botanical goodness!) The aroma of this tea is pretty potent, a tiny bit of smoke and meatiness, dried tomatoes and tomato leaf (I find this note in a lot of teas from Yunnan and it amuses me greatly) mineral, pungent wet hay, a bit of wet bamboo (the old stalk more so than leaves) and a tiny underlying sweetness of apricot.
The aroma of the steeped buds is a bit more vegetal, with notes of cooked spinach and eggplant (that is a new one) along with dried tomato, gentle smoke, meatiness (like a distant beef jerky) and a touch of sauteed mushroom. The aroma of the liquid is gentle and sweet, notes of bamboo, wet hay, and distant apricots and smoke. Has a summery quality to it.
In the beginning this tea starts light and immensely sweet, strong notes of fruity apricot and peaches with a touch of grape, then it picks up a bit of hay and very very gentle smoke. It has a very light body at first, with a touch of cooling (very welcome on a hot day) and only a slight thickness to it, bordering more on oily. It picks up a gentle bitterness and savory note around steep three, which carries into the middle.
Around the middle of the steeping, the bitterness, instead of being hoppy or vegetal as I usually perceive it, but takes on a nutty note, like the walnut skin. With the underlying smoky, gentle smoky notes, and subtle mineral notes, I found myself enjoying the middle steeps greatly. One thing I noticed towards the end of the middle (around steep 6) when my steeping time was stretching out, was an increase of sweetness and a resinous incense note very similar to myrrh and patchouli in taste, which really enamored me to this tea.
The end of the tea brought an increase in sweetness and a lovely thickness. This tea was overall light on the mouthfeel, so the finish bringing thickness was pleasant. I found this tea to be overall gentle and soothing, only giving me a little bit of the dreaded sheng gut-rot, which was awesome, especially since the taste, while not hugely overwhelming was still quite enjoyable. I have had a few sessions with this tea since I received the sample, each one going about 12 steeps, it had a moderate cooling effect, which was immensely welcome in the summer.
This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.