My trip to Turkish tea growing area in the Eastern Black Sea region was more fruitful than I imagined. I met two fantastic women who make their own teas. Aytul who made this tea managed to produce an exceptional perfumed green tea.
She started with plucking the buds and the top two leaves of the tea plant in the spring. They are soft as silk and uniform. She has not naturally withered the leaves by leaving them under the shade, which is a process most green tea makers start with after plucking. She instead ‘killed the green’ by roasting the leaves. She then hand-rolls them on a bamboo tray and dries them slowly under close control. I know through my own tea experience then drying the leaves as perfectly as she did is very labour intensive. Also, she uses wood fire throughout the tea processing in contrast to wok type electric ovens and, in my view, this adds to the aroma and taste of the tea. Aytul says that she processed this the in a naïve way, meaning that she handles these delicate leaves as gently as she can.
I think her modesty adds to the elegance of this tea.
Origin: Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: May 2020
Leave colour: Tones of green
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Woody, sweet and floral
Tea taste: Fresh with floral sweetness and woody undertone
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)