Just when I thought I was about to have a typical, not-so-exciting sample from Satemwa Tea Estate, I poured out the contents of the Mint Green Tea Fusion packet. Then I saw mint leaves that were plucked like tea leaves, with two fine mint leaves and a small mint bud. Then I smelled the leaves. Then I grabbed my note pad, because a sample that I did not originally expect to review proved to be much more interesting than I assumed it to be. Shame on me for assuming that any product from Satemwa is anything less than interesting (my head is hanging in shame).
So here I am, with the review of the day focusing on the Mint Green Tea Fusion (621) from Satemwa Tea Estate. Satemwa Tea Estate is located in and around Thyolo, Malawi. To read more about Satemwa, please visit my introductory page to this wonderful estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop. Don’t forget to check out the two white teas that I offer from Satemwa Tea Estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop, including the Bvumbwe Peony and the Satemwa Antlers. Not surprisingly, these are two of the best selling products at The Tea Journeyman Shop.
This product is not flavored with mint. It is simply a blend of the Zomba Steamed TSFOP Green tea and mint leaves. I do not think the mint leaves are peppermint or spearmint. I would guess grapefruit mint, but I will have to check with my contact at Satemwa Tea Estate.
The sample packet has been opened, and the fact that this is not a common mint tea blend is immediately obvious. Let the journey begin…
The dry tea leaves have a uniform dark greenish brown appearance, while the dry mint leaves have a fresh, bright forest green color. The tea leaves are large fragments, and are lightly rolled. About 60% of the mint leaves are whole and unbroken, many of which are still attached to stems that show a two fine leaf and slightly opened mint bud pluck. The remaining 40% of mint leaves are medium to large fragments. The green tea leaves are steamed, and have a very light, fluffy, crispy texture. There are a few bare tea stems, and a few small tea buds in the mix. Strangely, the mint leaves are the star of the dry leaves show. The smell has scents of dried grapefruit mint, oregano, dried grass, very light brown sugar, light citrus (grapefruit). Interestingly, there is a spicy, herbal scent that hints of damiana leaf. This almost smells like a blend that will taste as good sprinkled on your favorite baked dish as it will when steeped in a teapot.
I prepared this sample as I would normally. I placed the ten gram sample of dry leaves in a 21 ounce (620 ml) cast iron teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°F). The leaves were infused for 2:00 minutes. At home, use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Expect two to three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. I recommend not exceeding the 2:00 minutes of steep time.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-yellow color and a touch of jade green, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapefruit mint, seaweed, oregano, salted butter, and a hint of nectarine. The body is light-medium, with a clean, lively texture, and a refreshing energy. The taste has notes of grapefruit mint, mild seaweed, light oregano, salted butter, and citrus.The aftertaste leans to the grapefruit mint and spice notes, and a refreshing minty essence is left on the breath.
As I finish this review, I am enjoying the third infusion of these leaves. The third infusion is developing a mineral taste at the back of the tongue that hands through the aftertaste. Blending with the grapefruit mint notes, which are still present, makes for a very pleasant aftertaste. After three infusions, I am mightily impressed by this product. I wish I had more.
The infused tea leaves have a fresh, light forest green color, while the mint leaves have a uniform dark forest green color. Interesting how the tea leaves and mint leaves seemed to trade colors during the infusions. The tea leaves are all large fragments, with some bare stems in the mix, and a few fairly young buds. The largest leaf fragment measures about 1.75 inches (<45 mm). The mint leaves are small, but mostly whole and unbroken, with two small leaves and freshly opened buds attached to the stem. There are some large mint leaf fragments also. The smell has scents of grapefruit mint, citrus, oregano, lemongrass, and mild seaweed. The smell is simply incredible. Below is a not great photo of one of the grapefruit mint plucks. The leaves are folded in, but whole.
I personally thought this was the most interesting blend of mint and tea that I have ever had. In my opinion, the aroma and taste of the infusion was simply beautiful. The consistency over three infusions was also impressive. This Mint Green Tea Fusion has made my Friday go by very quickly, as I have been intrigued by each sip, and there were many of them after three 21 ounce pots. I do not currently have a mint green tea blend in my personal collection, and I must say I am tempted to ask Satemwa to include a kilogram of this tea with my next inventory purchase for the Tea Journeyman Shop. My question is how would a more casual tea drinker, or one who is used to the more typical peppermint or spearmint mixed with Chinese gunpowder or Chun Mee green teas, feel about this Satemwa version? They are vastly different in every way! If your appreciation of tea expands to not only the aroma and taste in the cup, then you will want to check this product out! It may change the way you view mint tea blends. It has certainly changed mine!
Thanks to the management at Satemwa Tea Estate for providing another phenomenal product! I promise to never underestimate your fusion products again! 🙂 Cheers!