2012 Tong Cheng Small Orchid (semi-wild) from Life in Teacup

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Life In Teacup

Tea Description:

Production Year:  2012
Production Season:  Spring, Harvested on April 9th
Production Region:  Anhui Province, Tongcheng.  Single Estate.  800m (2400 ft.) above sea level.
Style:  Hong Qing (roasted)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is nice.

The description states that this tea has been roasted, but I don’t really smell a roasted/toasty kind of fragrance to the dry leaf.  The brewed tea has a slight roasted aroma to it, but it melds with the lush green notes in a way that it comes across as a fresh, nutty scent rather than a distinct roasted smell.

And as I took the first couple of sips of the very pale, light green (almost clear!) tea, I didn’t really notice a strong roasted flavor to the cup.  At first, all I noticed was a very light, crisp, refreshing taste that was definitely “green tea” tasting but without the strong grassy notes or even a definite vegetative note that lead my mind to think of “green tea.”  Just a sort of insinuation of green tea.

With the next few sips, some of the roasty-toasty notes begin to emerge, tasting slightly nutty and sweet.  With each subsequent sip, it seemed that the nutty tones seemed to grow stronger and stronger.  By mid cup, there was a very distinguished roasted nut flavor to the cup.  I like how this tea develops on the palate, starting very light and fresh, toward becoming a sweet, deliciously nutty taste.

The flavors here never really become very grassy or vegetal.  There is a sort of whisper of greenery – like the taste of a morning dewdrop on brand new spring leaf.  It’s more like a hint of green taste, rather than something that is more discernible, but there is a very refreshing quality to this first cup.

With my second infusion, the vegetative notes begin to emerge to become more of a “real” flavor rather than a hint or an insinuation of one.  It still isn’t a strong, distinct vegetal taste but, definitely more of a vegetative note than with the first cup.

But how this second cup is really different from the first is the roasty-toasty notes – this is a very distinguished flavor now.  I taste even a hint of smoke to this cup, almost like it’s been fire roasted over charcoal, I can taste all those notes here.  The smoke, the charcoal and the warm roasted flavor.

As much as I loved the first cup in all it’s subtlety, I am loving this one even more for it’s more forward flavors.  Both cups are very rewarding, and this is one of those teas that you absolutely MUST resteep!

As I write this review, I see that the Life in Teacup web store is temporarily closed, but it states that it will reopen in a couple of weeks – it didn’t give a specific date.  Who knows, by the time this article publishes, the store may be up and running again.  If it is, you should definitely check out this tea.  It’s really quite lovely!

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