Moving on through the samples from Shan Valley Tea Company, whose teas are sourced Kyaukme, Shan state, northern Myanmar, today’s review will focus on the First Flush Green tea.
This green tea is produced from the first harvest of the new growing season. The Shan Valley website states that this first harvest usually takes place in April. With that being the case, I assume that this is the first flush from the 2013 growing year.
The sample pack has been opened, and an earthy aroma reminiscent of sheng (raw) puer is unexpected and interesting. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a very dark green, almost purple/black color. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments. It does not appear as though any of the leaves are complete. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The aroma is very earthy, with strong scents of barnyard hay, marine or sea mist, and grass.
Nine grams of dry leaves were placed in an eighteen ounce (530 ml) cast iron teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds.
The first infusion produced a liquor with light, pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma is surprisingly delicate, with scents of light hay, light marine ocean mist, light earth, and very light fruit. The body is light-medium, with a lively, smooth texture. The taste has notes of wet forest floor, sea mist, light barnyard hay, minerals (wet stones), and citrus. The aftertaste has notes of earth and minerals, with a mineral effect being left on the tongue. This first infusion definitely reminded me more of a sheng (raw) puer than a typical green tea. This is by no means a bad description, as I thoroughly enjoy sheng puer, but it is unexpected. I am interested in seeing how the taste evolves over the next two infusions.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a very similar shade of light, pale yellow color as the first infusion. The aroma has scents of light hay and sea mist. The body is light. The taste has lightened some, tastes cleaner, and retains notes of light hay, sea mist, wet stones, and light citrus. The aftertaste is more mineral than earth, and a flowery essence is more noticeable than in the first infusion. I personally enjoyed this second infusion better than the first. Again, this tea is very similar to a sheng puer. The first infusion almost tasted like the rinse water from the preparation of a sheng puer, and the second infusion had a more palatable, clean taste, like a sheng puer. I enjoyed the flowery essence that evolved in this infusion also.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a slightly lighter shade of pale yellow color. The aroma retains scents of light hay and sea mist. The body remains light. The taste is very similar to the second infusion, having a clean taste with notes of light hay, wet stones, sea mist, and light citrus. The aftertaste retains the mineral character with flowery essence. Although slightly lighter, this third infusion was very similar in quality to the second infusion.
The infused leaves have a forest green color, with some leaves being dark forest green or light to dark brown in color. All of the leaves are medium to large fragments. Some of the leaves are quite large and broad. There are some bare stems in the mix, displaying a two leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma has scents of wet forest floor, wet stones, and light sea mist. I am confident that these leaves could provide an additional infusion or two of acceptable quality.
Despite the fact that this Shan First Flush Green Tea smelled and tasted very differently than what I expected, I still enjoyed it very much. In almost every way, this tea was more similar to sheng (raw) puer than typical green teas. I am wondering if this is due to the fact that the tea is about a year old, and maybe has taken on a bit of an aged character while in storage. I cannot say the taste was fresh. I would be very interested in comparing the remaining leaves in this sample with those of a sample from the first flush of 2014. I have a feeling the two infusions would have dramatic differences in aroma and taste. Regardless, this tea was certainly unique, and a pleasure to review.
Thanks again to Shan Valley for providing this sample to me. Cheers!