Today, I am going back in to my package of samples from the Ambadandegama (Amba) Estate, in the Uva province of Sri Lanka. After the high praise that the OP1 black tea from Amba earned from me in a previous review, I have been excited to get back to this box of samples.
Although the vast majority of tea production in Sri Lanka is in the form of black tea, there are certainly some high quality green teas produced on the island nation, as well. Amba Estate uses a fine pluck on all of their teas, picking only the bud and first leaf. The teas are hand-crafted, and truly artisanal in quality. Look for reviews of some of their other artisanal teas in the near future.
For more information on the Amba Estate, please visit their website at http://www.ambaestate.com.
In my ongoing attempt to be able to publish more reviews in an increasingly time-efficient manner, I will be shortening the second and third infusion descriptions. Essentially, I will provide the photos of the infusions, and simply note any significant differences from infusion to infusion. I am also cutting down the verbiage related to the brewing method. I will find better outlets for my more interesting written pieces. 🙂
Now, let the journey begin…
The dry leaves of this green tea have a wide range of colors, from dark green to brownish-green to black, and even some silver tips mixed in. It is obvious that this tea is pan-fired. The leaves vary in size and shape, and are rather tightly rolled. There appears to be fully intact leaves, as well as fragments, but very little crumbs or bare stems. Some leaves show the fine pluck quite well. The aroma has scents of toasted seeds, sweet hay, and sweet wood. The aroma is certainly unique, sparking my interest in how it will translate in the cup.
Five grams of dry leaves were placed in the 8.5 ounce (240 ml) Kyusu teapot. Leaves were infused in 175°F (80°C) purified water for one minute.
The liquor has a golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has layers of sweetness, from ripe tropical fruit to brown sugar to sweet hay. Scents of toasted seeds are also present. The body is medium, with a mouth filling feel. The taste has notes of toasted seeds, sweet hay, and a slight fruitiness. There is moderate level of astringency through the aftertaste, with a slight floral note. The floral essence resonates in the sinuses for a nice duration.
The second infusion has lightened considerably, balancing out the flavor and lightening the astringency some. Same general aroma and taste notes.
Third infusion again lightened considerably. Lighter taste and aroma. Astringency remains moderate.
The infused leaves range in color from fresh green to light brown. The fine pluck method is evident in many of the leaves. There are some fully intact leaves with buds, and some fragments. There are no bare stems. The leaves carry the aroma of toasted seeds, almost toasted grains, wet hay, and a slight woodiness. The leaves feel strong enough to produce an additional infusion, although I suspect the taste would be quite light.
This Pan Roasted Green Tea is certainly one of a kind. Every aspect of this experience, from the look to the aroma to the taste were evidence of the pan roasting that this tea had been through. The aroma of the first infusion was sweeter than I expected it to be. The astringency was also stronger than I expected, but perhaps I am somehow responsible for that. I am still getting used to the kyusu, and finding the appropriate amount of tea to put in it. I am always excited to try something new, and although I am not as big of a fan of this green tea as the OP1 black tea from Amba, this is definitely a tea worth experiencing. Many thanks to Amba for sending this sample to me, and I look forward to the next review.