I am getting to the end of my samples from Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm, located in the Nilgiri district of south India. I did save the tea which I found to have the most intriguing name for last, the Teaneer Aristocrat.
The sample packet has been opened, and an interesting aroma is escaping the bag. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves are brownish-green to dark brown in color, with a generous portion of silver tips. The leaves are long (leggy), and twisted, displaying a two leaf and bud pluck. The leaves are mostly whole with stem attached. There are a few large fragments, and some crumbs, but no bare stems. The aroma has scents of dry hay, barnyard, earth, light cocoa, and very light dark pit fruit. The aroma is quite complex. The dry leaves from Teaneer always appear darker than other green teas, but the true character comes out in the liquor and appearance of the infused leaves.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute thirty seconds, with fifteen seconds being added to subsequent infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with pale, light yellow color, clear and transparent, with some fine particulate. The aroma has scents of hay, forest floor, mineral, and earth. The body is light-medium, with a delicate and clean texture. The taste has notes of mineral (wet stone), earth (forest floor), light hay, light wood, and light marine air. The aftertaste has a mineral and hay character, while the essence that is left on the breath combines hay with flowers. There is a very clean, refreshed feel left in the mouth.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of golden-yellow color. The fine particulate continues to be present in the second infusion. The aroma retains the scents of earth, forest floor, mineral, and a hint of marine air. The body and texture retain similar characteristics to the first infusion. The taste is better balanced, and retains the same general notes as the first infusion, again with the marine air note gaining some strength. The aftertaste and essence remain the same as the first infusion.
Unfortunately, my camera malfunctioned after taking the third photo, but I did not realize it until now, so there is no photo of the third infusion. The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of golden yellow than the second infusion, but still darker than the first infusion. The fine particulate continues to be present even in the third infusion. The aroma has lightened some, and retains the scents of minerals, forest floor, and marine air. The body is light. The taste has lightened some, and retains notes of mineral, forest floor, earth, and marine air. The aftertaste and essence have lightened some.
The infused leaves have a very fresh light to average forest green color. There is some black particulate remaining on the leaves.The leaves have mostly a two leaf and bud pluck. There are some more developed buds in the mix, and no bare stems. Most of the leaves are whole with stem intact, and other leaves are large fragments. The leaves are long and narrow, and have a soft, almost faux-leather texture. I believe another worthy infusion could be extracted from these leaves. The aroma has scents of forest floor, hay, and very light cocoa.
Some of these green teas from Teaneer, including this Aristocrat product, are very unique in their appearance, being covered by a dark film-like material that can be seen as fine particulate in the cup, and even some left on the infused leaves. I assume this is a result of the firing procedure employed by Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm. I also assume that it is this firing procedure, and the resulting dark film, that gives the tea the earthy, mineral, forest floor characteristics. Although this may seem to sound unclean, this tea leaves behind a very clean feel in the mouth, and has a very refreshing effect. It takes some adaptation, but by the end of the first infusion, I began liking this tea much more.
Cheers to Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farm for providing another unique and interesting sample!