I recently wrote about orchids and tea. It seems natural to follow up with a review. I normally keep reviews out of this blog, instead choosing to put them on RateTea, but this review is of a special tea that is not available for sale, so I am posting this review here:
The tea is Tong Cheng Small Orchid (桐城小蘭花), provided by Life in Teacup, which has a selection of other outstanding Chinese green teas available for purchase.
As Gingko explains in her post about the tea, this is not a commercially produced tea, but rather, it is harvested from the wild, by retired tea farmers, in areas that used to be tea plantations but have been allowed to return to wild forest. This tea is a symbol of the importance of leaving land as wild ecosystems. The land in China, as in many countries, is over-cultivated, and a majority of the original forest cover has been destroyed, replaced by commercial cultivation of plants. But wild forests support a myriad of plants, and some tea can still be harvested in these wild areas from the remaining plants in the forest, without sacrificing the ecological value or integrity of the forests.
I am fascinated by the aroma of this tea: it is fresh, highly fruity, and floral. But I do not see this as being very orchid-like. To me, it's more like berries, or even slightly like candy, but more natural. It reminds me a lot of early summer. The flavor is very smooth, with not even a hint of bitterness even drinking the whole cup. Only a very faint bitter aftertaste. Mild-flavored and primarily aromatic.
The aroma of this tea is absolutely delightful.
I experimented with brewing and this tea seemed to come out nearly exactly the same way no matter how I brewed it. The only thing that varied was the strength. I preferred the stronger cups as they had a hint of pleasing astringency and were slightly more full-bodied.
Other green teas from Life in Teacup:
You may not be able to obtain this tea, but there are many outstanding green teas that you can buy from Life in Teacup. If you are interested in reading more reviews of green teas from life in Teacup, you can browse my reviews of green teas from Life in Teacup on RateTea.