Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gramercy Tea: White Tea, A Tea Review

I am super nervous, tomorrow Ben has an interview for a job he really wants (no spoilers unless he gets it, then I will reveal the mystery) and I think I am more nervous about it than he is! He will probably come home from the interview to find me pacing around, and this is not the first time it has happened! Each time he has had an interview I have been more nervous than him, it is like I get it all and he gets to be chill for the interview, which is a balance I am ok with!

So, to distract myself I am doing my usual writing about tea and drinking it, continuing my week of Gramercy Tea. Looking at their White Tea, specifically a Baihao Yinzhen or Silver Needle. Usually I am used to silver needles being all needles and no leaves, but it is a little more needle heavy than a Baimudan, so this is a bit of an in-between of the two. The aroma of the fluffy leaves is mellow, blending notes of pollen, hay, cucumber, melon, lettuce, and paper. Classic white tea notes, leaning more on the crisp side than sweet side.

I got into a bit of a fight with this tea, it did not want to behave for me! One of my favorite ways to enjoy tea is bowl steeping (or grandpa style, many names for the same concept) so I tossed the leaves into a bowl, topped with hot water and expected to have myself a nice session relaxing with a bowl. Nope, not happening. The first few sips are good, mellow and a bit sweet pollen and hay with a crisp cucumber and melon quality, though later in the sipping it got bitter and pretty unpalatable, so I gave up on that idea and went to gongfu.

First time I tried steeping it at my classic white tea temperature, 195° F, I find a lot of white teas can handle the heat as long as the initial few steeps are short. Anyway it is a lot of white that can handle the heat, not all though, once in a white I run into one that balks at heat and turns bitter and super dry. Sadly this one not a white tea that liked the heat...not that I can blame it, I also don't like the heat. So I tried with a lower temperature, 175° F and ended up with an incredibly mellow and bland session.

Ok, I thought to myself, I have enough of the sample left for one more session, how can I make this tea work for me? I reached a happy medium, steeping at 185°F with a 30-60-90 time, rather than flash steep at super hot or long steep at lower. I finally got this tea to show me what it had to offer, sweet honey notes and crisp cucumber with a lingering sage and melon. There is not a whole lot going on (I might be spoiled on Kenyan Silver Needle and the Aged Whites I have been drinking lately) but it is a decent tea, other than the finicky brewing. Honestly I have not had the much difficulty with brewing a tea in a while! Even though this tea is pretty mellow and not hugely nuanced, I would say it is a good introductory white, and a good one to drink while you are gaming and not necessarily paying attention to the tea.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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