Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What-Cha: Vietnam Wild 'Tiger Monkey' Green Tea, A Tea Review

It is pretty bizarre to think that 15 years ago, half my lifetime ago today, I left my home in Georgia and never went back. It is a sad story that I have mentioned off and on before and see no need to rehash it, but wow, time is a crazy thing! Hard to believe that it has been exactly half my life since I lived in Atlanta in my house on the edge of the forest...that forest is now long gone, replaced by an apartment complex...sad since it was a sanctuary to a lot of wildlife. I find myself feeling wistful and dwelling on memories, they do not feel as heavy as they once did, mainly I just find myself in awe of the perpetual movement of time.

Time for the weekly tradition of looking at a tea from What-Cha, that most dangerous event of visiting the website, looks like I have more teas to add to my wishlist! It is always fun trying to decide what tea I am going to ramble about each week...something new to me or something from the older pages of my notebook pile? Today comes from the notebook pile, Vietnam Wild 'Tiger Monkey' Green Tea a Green Tea from Lao Cai Province in Vietnam. Sourced by Hatvala, whose mission it is to spread the word about the yumminess that is Vietnamese teas, something I can get behind. The more I try teas from Vietnam the more I find them becoming a favorite. I do not know why it is called Tiger Monkey, but I do know it is processed by Black H'Mong families who have the trees growing around their homes, neat! The aroma of the curly green leaves smells like the lovechild of a Sheng and a Dragonwell, notes of chestnut and green bean, asparagus and camphor, sea air and smoke blend together for a nutty, cooling, green sniffing experience. It is not a mellow tea, it is brisk and sharp, yet with a very clean aroma profile to it.

Into my green tea pot the tea goes, so glad I picked this bright red clay because man does it make green teas pop! The aroma of the wet leaves is a bit more vegetal, stronger notes of green beans and asparagus mix with a bit of lettuce for a crispness. Alongside the green is gentle smoke, camphor, and a tiny bit of sea air at the finish. The liquid is delicate, sesame seed nuttiness, green beans, and a delicate sea air note. I admit to loving teas with sea air notes, they remind me of frolicking in the ocean at Bar Harbor, frigid water but so refreshing!

Ah, that is a brisk green! The earlier comparison to a Sheng is not far off, strong camphor notes and a gentle woody bitterness give way to green beans and sesame seeds. The finish is mellow smoke and gentle sea air, and for all that it is a brisk start it is also mellow and refreshing.

Second steeping, honestly I did not notice much change. The taste is a bit more brisk and bitter, a dry camphor bitterness that is like chewing on cedar wood, this gives way abruptly to green vegetal notes and sweet nutty ones that linger for a while, blending with the cool mouthfeel. I went for another steep but I swear someone trolled me and it was the same cup that time traveled. Sometimes teas do not find the need to evolve much in their steeping, and you know, that is alright.

This tea was purchased by me.

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