Day 16: North African Mint

When it comes to green tea (and white and oolong teas, for that matter), you should never steep it with boiling water. Slightly cooler water is needed,  or else you’ll scald the leaves.

There are three methods that I know of in order to reach the ideal temperature. One is to let the boiled water sit for a few minutes. Another is to temper with cold water, and a third is tempering with an ice cube. In the second and third case, you’re technically using boiling water, but you’re making sure to pour the hot water over the colder parts, and not directly on the tea (if at all possible).

Over my three forays with green tea so far, I’ve played once with each of these methods. To date, I’ve no favourite. I do, however, think that I’d feel much more confident if I had a thermometer handy so I could measure how hot the water was, and making sure I was staying close to suggested steeping temperatures.

In time, I’ll work on that, and find what does work best for me. If anyone has any best practices, I’d love to hear them.

Anyway, on with the tea of the day.

 

Those are sensitive tea leaves. ...along with a bunch of... not as sensitive herbs and spices.

Those are sensitive tea leaves. …along with a bunch of… not as sensitive herbs and spices.

Day 16: North African Mint by DAVIDsTEA

Ingredients: cardamom, peppermint, ginger, Japanese-style Hojicha green tea, licorice root, fennel, clove, black pepper

Steeped: 1.5 tsp in tea ball, brewed in-cup. Brewed with boiled water tempered by ice cube.

First cup: Steeped 3 minutes.
The mint is definitely the flavour that comes out strongest in this tea. The other ingredients seem to work to intensify the sensation of mint, without actually taking it over. I can smell the spices and the ginger far more than I can taste them, but the ginger’s sweetness certainly does come through, and I have to guess that the tingliness which I would associate with the mint is actually coming from the spices as well. The overall flavour seems very simple and well-put together for all the ingredients, though.

Second cup: Resteep. Steeped 4 minutes.
The mint less prominent this time around, though it’s still detectable. With its fading, the complexity of the tea’s flavour seems to rise as the spices gain prominence. There’s still a sweetness that hits at the back of the throat, and the different kinds of heat and spice all hit at slightly different times, making for an interesting experience. It seems slightly less cohesive, but still very complementary.

Third steep: Re-resteep. Steeped over 5 minutes.
Still very strong flavour. Again, the spices are coming out more than the mint, but still in a very complimentary way.

Overall impression: An interesting flavour. Goes from deceptively simple to more complex, while still maintaining a strong flavour profile over several steeps, and evolves over the course of them. If I wasn’t so full of tea right now, I’d probably see what a fourth steep was like.

My rating: 80. A-. I like a tea that will last over time with a good amount of flavour to it. Not sure if I would buy it for myself in large quantities, but still something I’d keep in mind for sipping now and again.

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