On day 44 of this challenge, I wrote about a Turkish green tea cultivated organically by a boutique tea farmer in the Blacksea region. Tea is his main cultivar, but he also grows organic fruits which include tangerines, lemons, kiwis (yes, they can grow in the rainy Blacksea climate) and oranges. Although I cannot quite figure out how oranges and tea can grow in the same garden.
Citrus oils or pieces blended with tea is very well-known if not the most popular tea blend in the west. Many people fancy a good Earl Greyis named after the British PM Charles Grey in the 1830s as he received a gift tea flavoured with bergamot oil. The tradition of ‘Chenpi’ dried tangerine peel has a longer history in China as it has been used in Chinese Medicine. According to some online sources (I would question reliability but we all like a good story), a scholar called Luo Tian Chi who lived in the Qing dynasty took some pu-erh from Yunnan with him. One day, he had a cold and he was given dried tangerine infused hot water. He used this water to brew pu-erh and he liked the result which led him to keep pu-erh in dried tangerine.
It is a good idea as by this way natural tangerine oils mix with pu-erh which cuts through pu-erh’s earthiness by bringing in acidic notes. And it works! I already review a pu-erh in tangerine from 2012 however, I found the citric notes rather faint. Which is interesting, as according to this article, most citrus fruits (except for bergamot) contain monoterpenes which are light molecules that evaporate quickly. For thisvery reason, citrus oils are known as “top notes” by the perfume industry.So, I am thinking that it should not be a coincidence that Earl Grey blend utilises bergamots.
This tea, however, was very fragrant. Mr Yogurtcu (the tea master) takes organic oranges from his garden, dries them and keep green tea in them for about two weeks. Therefore, both tea and peel are quite fresh. Obviously, ageing green tea may not be a good idea anyway. So, I loved how freshly citrus this tea was. In my mind, I divided the tangerine into three and I am looking forward to the remaining brewing.
Harvest time: May 2019
Leave colour: Dark brown with lighter edges
Liquor colour: Bright yellow/light amber
Tea aroma: Citrus and fruity
Tea taste: Fresh and citrus
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 85-90°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) 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