Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Eco-Cha: July 2018 #32 - Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea, A Tea Review

I just want to take a moment and thank everyone who contributed to my Ko-Fi account, either by supporting financially or just sharing it, you guys gave me such squishy happy feels! I created the account after much waffling about either running ads (something I am rather against since I find them really distracting) or creating a Patreon, then I found Ko-Fi and (other than it being more coffee than tea themed, but shhh) it fit my needs perfectly. I was able to set a goal (I needed a new wheelchair since mine was falling apart under me) and you guys smashed it, my new wheels will be here tomorrow and I can't wait to use them! My blog was never about making money, it was about the exploration of tea and introducing people to new delicious experiences or treasured piece of teaware. Ok look, for all that I think I am good with words, I have always been bad at expressing my gratitude, I have never felt words adequately convey the nearly heart bursting over-whelming feeling I get when I am reminded at how wonderful people can be. So thank you, for reading this blog, for being awesome people.

Ok, enough of me being sappy, I need to talk about a tea that is far too delicious to exist. Eco-Cha recently sent me some goodies to take a look at (problem with only blogging once a week, it takes forever to get around to teas...I think I need to change that) including July 2018 #32 - Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea. I have had some mixed results with GABA, either I really like it or I find it too woody and tangy...also it makes my head hurt, not literally but the tea itself confuses me. When I first encountered it I only saw it represented as an Oolong, now I see arguments that it is its own category of tea (Here is a really good article on it) and I have been seeing GABA black teas, personally I slot it into my mind much like Purple Teas, they are the type of tea they are representing but also something different and should be judged accordingly. Take this tea for instance, it is a Jin Xuan that has been oxidized similar to a Hong Shui but since it is oxidized in nitrogen it will taste different than one that is just oxidized in normal air. Before I get into the aroma I want to take a moment to appreciate the leaves, I find tea leaves that have this "handmade", rugged, "organic" look to it, they look wild. I am not sure why these teas appeal to me so much, but I find their rustic look to be incredibly beautiful. So aroma, this tea is immensely fruity: think an explosion of lightly cooked stonefruit (especially peach) with undertones of malt and a surprise finish of honeydew melon. Pros-It smells unbelievably good, Cons- I am now craving melons.

So I brewed this tea up in a beautiful clay fish teapot (also from Eco-Cha) which I recommend getting before they sell out, they are magical teapots with a wonderfully fast pour. I use this pot for red oolongs and occasionally roasts, so this tea was a good fit for the pot. The aroma of the leaves and brewed tea is pretty intoxicating. I was making Ben some Lapsang Souchong while also making this one, and he started hovering around my tea desk asking why it smelled like cobbler. And he wasn't wrong, it smells so much like peach cobbler with undertones of stewed plums and apricots, and a lingering brown sugar and honey finish. Jin Xuan, man, no matter what you do to it you end up with something sweet.
Tasting this tea was a delight. When I first got the box (back in the first week of August) I immediately tore into this tea, I have almost consumed all of it too. It is one of those teas that not only tastes amazing, it feels great either from the GABA or just because it is one of those teas that evoke a feeling of relaxed comfort while lounging in a fuzzy robe on a cool rainy day, preferably with a lap full of cat and a good book to read. It is always hard to tell with teas like this, is it the taste making my brain dump happy chemicals or is it the tea's composition that is making my brain happy, or of course is it a combination of both?

It lasts for many steeps, each time I have had this tea it became an all day event, starting out with intense peach cobbler and sweet cream, with undertones of Asian pears and dark honey. Several steeps in it starts to bring in a phenomenal juicy ripe persimmon note, fitting since the color darkens to a wonderful persimmon color. In the middle of this tea's life (say around steep 6-8) the tea loses its sweetness a bit and gets a slight woody and cooked pumpkin taste with a starchy lingering finish. After this it goes back to sweet pear nectar with a lingering aftertaste of spiced stewed plums. I think this tea could become an iconically autumnal tea...now, if anyone needs me I am going to go back to drinking this tea and enjoying my immensely mellow chill while watching an online course lecture on the Beatles....because let us be honest, I am a bit ridiculous some times.

Tea sent for review

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