Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Kashanganj Snow Bud

Tasting sample from the good folks at T Ching.

What they have to say about it:

"This is a special edition white tea grown in Kashanganj, India. The tea is comprised of individual, hand picked buds that have the appearance of silver needles. The dried buds are visually attractive and the liquor is delicate and sweet. Most people in the U.S. haven't even heard of White tea. Those who have, know it as a rare tea from Fujian Province in China that is made from the individual, hand picked buds of the tea plant with no additional processing other than drying. Using traditional hand-crafted artisan methods, this tea is quickly approaching the quality of the Chinese whites. Fujian, watch out... here comes Kashanganj."

First off let my say thanks to Tching for another great opportunity to taste some rare and, to me, almost unheard of tea.

The scientific side first of all:

Water: brita max filtered scottish tap water, which I still believe gives most bottled water a good run for their money.

Temp: I don't measure temperature, yet . I boil the water and then wait until the steam rising has slowed to a pace gentle enough to warrent white tea, probably lower than I'd use for China green and nearer to a fitting temp for gyokoro.

Vessels: small pyrex jug perhaps around 200ml, filtered into a fair cup(small milk jug from charity shop) which seems to keep the tea insulated for longer than a large cup.

Timing: first brew 15-20secs, the next few lightning fast, the last few far longer than they needed.

This was the first tea from the samples I tried. The aroma was beatifully floral, more of a heavy pollen slant than the subtle floral I'm used to from white tea. There was also a quite a sharp fragrance from the wet leaf.

The liquor itself changed dramitcally from steep to steep exibiting the natural freshness I've come to experience from white tea. Not overstated as in some greens, mainly Japanese, more a country breeze than a cold north sea wind which my father declares as real freshness.

I was begining to think that the tea had been heavily influenced by the Oolong sampler that had been keeping it company in the envelope for a good few days. This was due to fact that there was an unmistakeble taste of darjeerling fighting with the usual delicate white. I began to retract my thoughts of contamination when reading over the description of the tea again* and, realising it was an Indian white tea, I think my mind blocked out the word India as it had already assumed that all white tea was Chinese. This discovery led me to appreciate the last few brews even moreso. I was, perhaps, steeping the tea for too long but the purpose was to investigate and bring forth the darjeerling undertones. The plan worked! warmer water and longer steeps brought the liquor closer to a first flush darjeerling. The tea was not as pleasant to drink at this point however the second time I tasted the tea I was far more appreciative of the Indian character accompanying the traditional white taste as opposed to trying to discard the non Chinese notes from the liquor.

I don't think I'll be able to rate this tea on any scale until I've finished the sample and possibly another pack from T Ching . It confused me as much as it entertained my taste buds.

The last thing I feel the need to comment on is the remarkable endurance of this tea, even on my second outing with it I was hugely underestimating it's staying power and getting brews that were a little to abrasive due to oversteeping after making more than one trip to the water filter.

And the very last thing is thanks again to T Ching not just for providing quality teas but also for managing to pick teas of great educational value that I would, likely, never have got round to trying.

*and will fully retract most of my post if this is case.

Link to the rest of the reviews posted on TChing

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