This tea was hand-crafted in front of my own eyes last week in Rize, the tea capital of Turkey. I watched how it was made. The fresh leaves were collected in the form of 2 leaves and a bud. They were then left for a day (or at least overnight) to wither naturally. This process is not typical in China, where the leaves only have a chance to wither throughout their journey to the factory or the tea master’s wok. I was surprised to find out that it is a common practice in Turkey. They believe fresh leaves that are not left for natural withering become astringent. This might be something to do with the climate and the plant that grows here. At first, I found this strange but later (when I made my own batch of green tea with very fresh leaves which turned out to be quite bitter) I thought the tea makers must have a point. However, throughout this process, the leaves are oxidised, and they become much darker. When the overall process of green taking making is over, the end product also looks dark green, and one might question ‘is this really green tea?’. It is indeed, and the leaves turn to green when infused. And believe me, it tastes like a good green tea which has no ‘grassy’ or ‘astringent’ notes.
Origin: Cayeli, Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: June 2020
Leave colour: Tones of dark green
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Vegetal (wet leaves), perfumed (dry leaves)
Tea taste: Refreshing, slightly floral with subtle grassy notes
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)