This is the other half of a pair of black teas from Georgia that I recently purchased from House of Tea.
According to House of Tea’s notes the raw material was hand picked, and comes from a forest of wild arbor trees that was once a plantation of bushes of Chinese origin, located in the mountains of the Gurien region of Georgia.
Like the Georgia Etseri Wild black tea I looked at earlier, this tea is a product of the return of small scale, craft tea production that is taking place in several parts of Georgia.
The dry leaf was giving little away, save for vague hints of dark berries and suggestions of dried flowers.
After a short while and a shake in the warmed up pot I picked up baked honey, raisins, and what might have been cacao nibs.
Thinking back to my other experiences with Georgian black teas, I decided to opt for a Western style approach.
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||3 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||200 ml ceramic teapot|
|No. & duration:||3 infusions of 1½, 2, and 3 minutes duration|
The first infusion left very little dust or debris behind in my tea strainer. The liquor was smooth and slick, with a nice combination of honey sweetness, that fruity thing that came across like a mixture of lychee, raisins, and blueberries, and a subtle, floral note that to my somewhat uneducated nose felt like orchids. Sat at the back behind everything else was a kind of old school dairy sensation, like melted butter.
The second round saw a distant Assam like hard edge appear at the far border of the tastefield. The slightly blurred floral thing suddenly popped into sharp focus – heather! I was instantly transported back to the impossibly long, hot summer of 1976, and the huge expanses of purple clad moorland not all that far from where I grew up.
After pouring the third steeping I sat entranced, just looking at the liquor in the cup for what seemed like an age, admiring its colour. This infusion was drinkable, nice even, but clearly a session delimiting one.
It’s hard to know when you’re writing a post like this if every nuance of your experience will be adequately conveyed. No matter how hard you try with metaphor and simile to bring depth and colour to the table you are at the end of the day flattening down that multi-dimensional experience into a 2 dimensional one, and some of the subtleties will inevitably be lost.
What I’m trying to say is that like all the other Georgian teas I’ve tasted, this one is a bit different, but it’s proved to be quite hard to pin down in mere words and a few pictures just exactly how different.
I’ve no doubt that in a blind taste test you’d have little trouble picking the Georgian teas out from their Chinese cousins, but you might very well be stumped if asked how you knew which tea was which, and that, for me at least, is a large part of their appeal.
I’m looking forward to many more sessions in the future where I try to get closer to what makes these fascinating teas tick.
Watch this space, etc…