I feel so privileged to have drunk this tea that came from the fertile gardens of Rize, a town in the Black sea region in Turkey. I wrote about the teas from the same garden including a green tea, camellia blossom tea and green tea in orange. However, this is the one that made my heart beat higher. I will tell you why.
Firstly, this tea can only be made from the first flush. I’m now translating the explanation of the tea master: “Around Rize, tea harvesting season finished around September and the tea bushes are left for resting for about 6 months. The tea bushes are snowed under in the winter, and the organic materials of the soil start to decompose naturally as the snow melts. In early April, the tea buds start awakening with the April rain. As the amount of sun is limited in these months, the tea leaves and buds are of the quality of white tea. Every year at the beginning of the season, this yellow tea can be produced.”
When Mr Yogurtcu plucks the bud and leave, he leaves them in the shade for 20 hours. Later, he hand-roasts them in a Chinese roasting pan which he purchased to produce yellow tea specifically. He is a boutique organic farmer and is aiming to produce about 2 kg of yellow tea this year which makes it very rare indeed.
So, this is the first flush and I can drink it in the same month as it was crafted. I am very lucky for that. The dry leaves have a wonderful fragrance of the spring, they are so brisk that one could easily mistake them for freshly plucked leaves. The taste is clean, medium-bodied, faintly sweet and slightly floral. An excellent achievement for a self-thought tea master.
I should add that this tea does not fit the yellow tea category as per Chinese yellow teas. It is called that way by the tea farmers in the Black Sea region due to the colour of its liquor and unplucked leaves and buds as one can see in the photo below. In my view, this is a top-notch green tea but I will go with the cultivar's name.
Origin: Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: April 2020
Leave colour: Shades of light green with visible fuzz
Liquor colour: Pale yellow
Tea aroma: Fresh and floral
Tea taste: Medium-bodied, clean with refreshing mellowness
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 85°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 to16 months (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)