Golden Tea Leaf - Honey Red Jade Tea

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I drink a lot of tea and I doubt you are surprised to hear that. I have more tea in this house than I can possibly drink in several years. Occasionally it feels like the teas all run together, so many of them are similar to each other. But then there are those special ones that I can think back on and remember for one reason or the other. Sometimes a tea manages to be more than just a drink; sometimes a tea is an experience that I know at that moment I will remember for a very long time.

My friends, today was one of those days.

Several weeks ago Peggy from Golden Tea Leaf contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their teas. My response is always that I would love to. I especially love getting to know a company that is new to me. The teas arrived a couple of weeks ago and I set them down, still in the envelope they came in, until I could get to them. This weekend I pulled them out and started to look at them and think about them and (don't laugh) figure out which tea ware felt right to photograph with them.

The letter that was sent with the teas should have been my first clue that this wouldn't be a run of the mill tea session. The letter was absolutely personalized for me, and said why each tea had been chosen for me. It was a bit like having a tea concierge. Initially I thought I would review all of the teas in one post but after I had tried the first tea, I decided to split them up. Enough back story. Let's get to the tea!

I chose the Honey Red Jade as the first tea I would try. The letter had the magic words "bug bitten" and I was all over that. The tea was vacuum packed in a small, colorful envelope like oolongs frequently are.

It was rolled into tight balls like an oolong but this is a black tea. Fascinating!

Immediately when I opened the envelope I could smell sweet honey, and it struck me that this was not going to be any ordinary tea session. For some reason I emailed Peggy and let her know that - which in retrospect seems really odd. I blame the influence of the tea. We emailed back and forth a few times and during that conversation Peggy told me that they had made the decision to roll this tea so that it would travel better.

In the tea classes I have been taking, smelling the dry leaf is a big part of the cupping process. They suggest that we put a little bit of the leaf in our cupped hand and breathe on it. The humidity from our breath lets some of the tea's scent come out. I did that quite a few times because the scent of the dry leaf was intoxicating. It was all warm honey and sweet honeysuckle.

The steeped up like liquid gold. It had a slight viscosity to it and a soft mouthfeel. There was absolutely no astringency. Peggy said they brewed this one under great extremes and couldn't get it to steep badly. The flavor of the tea reminded me very much of a Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty). I took the leaves seven steeps before they started to give out. The finish was long. I had a really pleasant and sweet flavor on my palate for at least an hour after the last steep. 

This tea session left me with a great cha qi. Not a tea drunk type, but just a general sense of happiness. If you want to float on a little mellow cloud of happiness for a while, pick up some of this tea. I guarantee you won't regret it.

Thank you to Golden Tea Leaf for the sample! I learned that this one has been submitted to the North American Tea Competition. I hope it wins!

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