Today’s review will focus on the Azores Encosta De Bruma Premium Green Tea from What-Cha, sourced from the Gorreana Tea Estate. You may view this product at the What-Cha website by clicking here.
The Azores are a group of islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal. The Azores are considered an autonomous region consisting of nine islands. These islands have a subtropical climate, and are situated near the junction of three tectonic plates, the North American, Eurasian, and African, giving the islands a heavy dose of volcanic influence.
The Azores Encosta De Bruma Premium Green Tea is grown and manufactured at the Gorreana Tea Estate, on the island of Sao Miguel, which is a part of the eastern group of The Azores Islands (see Google map below). Gorreana Tea Estate was founded in 1883, and is thus considered the oldest tea estate in Europe. Gorreana prides itself on not using pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides on the tea bushes, and claims to be located hundreds of miles from any industrial pollution. With mineral rich soils and fresh oceanic air, Gorreana Tea Estate produces high quality green and black teas.
The sample packet has been opened, let the journey begin…
The dry leaves range in color from dark green to greenish-brown. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. There are some bare stems in the mix. There are no obvious buds. The leaves are machine rolled. There is a wide variation of fragment sizes and rolling consistency. The stems show a two leaf pluck. Some of the leaves appear to have had some considerable oxidation occur before the kill green process was conducted. The leaves have a light, dry feel, and crack easily into coarse crumbs. The smell has scents of dried apricot (dominant), hay, forest floor, and light dandelion.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for 3:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 175°F (80°C). Steep the leaves for 2:00 minutes. Expect two to three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves, increasing the steep time by 30 seconds on each subsequent infusion.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of apricot, dandelion, forest floor, and sweet hay. The body is medium, with a clean, gentle texture. There is a unique acidity to this tea. The taste has notes of apricot, dandelion, sweet hay, and mineral rich soil. The apricot and hay notes carry into the aftertaste, and a slightly sweet, light floral essence is left on the breath.
The infused leaves range in color from fresh forest green to copper brown. The leaves are all medium to large fragments. The large fragments are of smaller, younger leaves, and there are a few that are nearly whole. There are quite a few bare stems and twigs in the mix, and also a few buds, some of which are nearly whole. Most of the stems show a two leaf pluck. Many of the leaves definitely had some oxidation occur during processing. The leaves have a soft, smooth, delicate texture. The smell has scents of dandelion, hay, forest floor, and apricot.
The Azores Encosta De Bruma Premium Green Tea is a unique, dominantly fruity green tea with a specific acidity. The tea is quite accurately described on the What-Cha website as having apricot aromas and tastes. I felt apricot the second I opened the packet. That apricot character carried through the entire experience. Arguments aside on whether this is truly a green tea or an oolong tea, this tea would be an excellent product for someone who is looking for a sweeter, less vegetal aroma and taste. The leaves provided two quality infusions, and a third that was acceptable, but considerably lighter in overall character. I can imagine that this tea would make an excellent chilled tea, or a kombucha base.
Thanks to the management at What-Cha for providing this sample of Azores Encosta De Bruma Premium Green Tea for the Gorreana Tea Estate. Cheers!