This tea comes from a small district of Rize (a city in Northeast Turkey by the Black sea) which has an altitude of 700-800 meters. While tea cultivation in Turkey started in 1920ies, in this town first harvest coincides late 1960ies. Today, 19 out of 24 villages and around 2,500 people are engaged in small-scale tea cultivation. Before tea, the villagers were growing maize and the stalks of the maize were fed to cattle. While the arrival of tea was welcome by the locals and perceived as a good source of income, the production of maize hence the cattle ownership decreased. This resulted in an impoverishment of the sources of nourishment of the town’s people. Some of the locals from the older generation even complain that the cultivation has destroyed their traditions.
In my view, it is important to consider what is the context of the tea that ended in our cup. It does not always tell a good story. Sometimes, we may not be lucky even to trace the tea we drink, and I think any tea that is not tracible may entail an element of disappointment.
I am not here to cause despair, but to point out that there is more to a cuppa than what we can taste or smell. This tea was harvested in late April; hence it is the first flush for the Turkish standards. I do like its fruitiness that I am starting to believe is a characteristic of Turkish tea.
Source: Simonian, Hovann.The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey
Origin: Çamlıhemsin, Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: April 2019
Leave colour: Green leaves and brown petioles
Liquor colour: Yellow
Tea aroma: Fruity
Tea taste:Sweet with fruity and woody undernotes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 80°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 24 months (fresher the better)