Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tea-Historic: Extinction Event, A Tea Review

Recently, for Christmas, I got a new book called The Great Extinctions, a dense little book on one of my favorite sub-subjects of prehistoric studies: Extinction Events! Conveniently for me (not so much for the vast amount of life ended by them) there have been several so I have my pick of ones to decide are a favorite, though let's be honest, if I don't choose the Permian-Triassic Extinction I am missing out. This event was so epic they called it the Great Dying, 96% of Marine Life and 70% of Terrestrial Life...that is an honestly hard to fathom amount of death. One thing that was really driven home to me a few years ago when I started studying mass extinctions in depth is that they take a lot of time to happen, the Great Dying took roughly 10 million years, most the documentaries, books, and brief mentions in other media make it seem so quick (looking at you Fantasia) and granted it is when looked at in a geological time scale, but it is certainly not as quick an event as most pop culture makes it out to be.

As much as the Permian-Triassic (and its amazing Siberian Traps) might be my favorite, the most well known has to be the one that killed the dinosaurs, the event caused by an impact (mostly, there is of course the theory that the dinosaurs were on the way out and the event sped things along, and of course the impact probably triggered climate change and the Deccan Trap eruption, turns out extinctions are not really caused by one massive thing but snowball out of control. That is what it is both correct and not entirely correct to say the dinosaurs were ended by an impact) With that bit of topical rambling aside (I honestly have put this off because I had a heck of a time abridging this topic...I could write MANY blog posts on just the K-Pg event) it is time to look at a real asteroid of a tea, Extinction Event from Tea-Historic! The big ol' rock is made from a rolled Yunnan Dragon Ball (yay for Dianhong!) and the little splinter rocks are made from White Jasmine Pearls, making this a Jasmine black and white blend, something I have been wanting someone to make for so long! See I love jasmine in moderation, straight up jasmine scented teas tend to be a little too much for me, and I always thought blending with a hongcha could be perfection. So the aroma of the collection of tea space rocks (which come pre-measured, so useful!) is fascinating, the typical notes of malt, cocoa, yams, and molasses blend with a heady note of freshly blooming jasmine and buttery sweet undertones of baking bread. It is honestly the perfect amount of jasmine, heady without being headache-inducing (a problem I have with stronger jasmine, even the flower can be a bit much) nectar sweet and floral without being perfumey.

After a steeping in my gaiwan, the balls have unfurled a bit and the aroma that wafts out of the gaiwan is intoxicating. Honey jasmine nectar dances with cocoa, sweet potatoes, molasses, and brown sugar. Like sitting next to an open window at night eating chocolate dusted sweet potato pie while the jasmine flowers open in the moonlight...super evocative aroma! The liquid is a wonderful mild yet heady jasmine blossom and honey with yams, cocoa, and malt with a brown sugar finish.

The first steep is pretty awesome, the jasmine starts very mild allowing the Dianhong to show its stuff at first. Starting with honey and brown sugar covered yams (ok it is just liquid candied yams) it starts very sweet and thick in the mouth. Around the midtaste a malty cocoa note shows up and the jasmine starts to bloom, growing in strength and lingering long in the aftertaste. The finish is like chocolate covered jasmines, something I didn't know I wanted until I had it.

The second steep is a perfect blend of jasmine and Dianhong, both having unfurled a good bit at this point, so their flavors and aromas really shine. Neither over powers the other at this point, and both start strong. The mouthfeel is smooth and light, a bit velvety in texture while not being very thick. It starts with yam and brown sugar with honey and jasmine nectar, then the flavor builds to stronger jasmine and malt with a strong chocolate and jasmine finish. The aftertaste is a long-lingering mellow jasmine that is sweet and nectar like, with just a hint of chocolate.

The third steep onwards show a slight decline in the jasmine, the hongcha goes strong for several steeps longer. Granted the jasmine is still there until the very end, just progressively fainter each steeping, like the flower closing up for the night, and I enjoyed its ghostly fade, towards the end I found myself wondering if it was a ghost and I was imagining it, though the lingering aftertaste of jasmine made me realize that no, it was still there. It is probably quite obvious that I really enjoyed this tea, so far it is probably my favorite of the teas offered by Tea-Historic and one I definitely recommend trying if you want something unique and are a fan of jasmine!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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