One of the fun things about sampling new teas is guessing what the tea is going to look like. I'll bet some of you can simply look at these two teas and tell what type they are. Can you? I might not have necessarily gotten the one on the right correct, but I'm fairly certain I could've guessed what the one on the left is.
These two teas are samples I recently received from Palais Des Thés of their Grand Cru teas, which are rare teas harvested in small batches.
This Long Jing is a green tea from China, and I can usually remember that the name is "Long" something because of the long, flat leaves which look like dried blades of grass. You may also know this tea by its popular name of "Dragon Well," which is what "Long Jing" means in Chinese. The dry tea leaves had a grassy scent, but steeped, they smelled of roasted vegetables such as artichokes or asparagus. This tea had a deliciously rich mouth feel, almost like a very light broth. Lovely, and a nice change from the iced stuff I've been drinking.
This Tawaramine Shincha (a type of Japanese Sencha) also had a vegetal scent, in both dry leaf and the steeped tea versions, and when I sipped the tea, I again detected vegetal notes, yet this tea had much more of a brisk taste than the Long Jing. I detected a slight bit of astringency, but when I re-steeped the leaves, I got a perfect cup of Sencha that had a wonderful mouth feel and was quite satisfying. I'm grateful Palais Des Thés offered to send the samples, because with my overflowing tea pantry, these are some pricy teas I doubt I would have felt the need to splurge for. (The Long Jing is $22.50 for a 3.5-ounce pouch, and the Shincha is $115 for 3.5 ounces!) So if you're in the market for a delicious splurge, mild or wild, check out more of the Grand Cru Teas here!