I have seen this tea at the World Tea Expo.
I have seen this tea on many blogs.
I have seen this tea on youtube.
I have seen this tea in the press.
I have seen this tea reviewed; both praised and criticized.
It was time for me to experience this tea for myself and come up with my own conclusions.
Thanks to the Teatrade marketplace (special thanks to Rachel Carter) and the Chicago Tea Garden, I was finally able to pick some up at a reasonable price, and in a nice sample pack.
The dry leaf smells of sweet corn, cabbage, sugar cane and mountain air.
There is some aroma in this tea that reminds one of a creek running through a lush forest. It does smell pure; fresh.
The tea is steeped.
The tea is poured.
The tea is sniffed.
Grass and mild cereal (grain) aromas come to mind. The liquor is clear and almost has the color of a light sencha. Though, the aroma reminds me of an Alishan. Being that the cultivar used to make the tea is Taiwanese in origin, this comes as no surprise. I suspected there to be a strong resemblance to Taiwanese made teas.
As the tea is sipped, there is a refreshing lime quality about it. The texture is mildly brothy and leaves behind a light marine taste.
The tea is grown and processed on an island off the coast of New Zealand, so taking in sea like qualities would not be unheard of.
In the second cup, the tea seems flat; lifeless. It is not bad, there is just no complexity or depth.
The third cup reveals a more balanced taste of lime and floral notes; lavender comes to mind.
The forth cup brings sweet water and ghostly vegetal tastes that drift off just as fast as they presented themselves.
This tea feels hollow.
This tea is, if I do say so, too "pure."
I enjoy a tea that has some roughness to it. This tea is too clean.
I feel that the tea lacks a unique character. It is trying to be something that it is not. It is made as a copy of its predecessors in Taiwan, but is lacking that character.
It is not individual, as it should be. There is promise for New Zealand to produce fine tea, but only if the tea is allowed to take in the character and qualities of the land.
Every tea needs a name, and this one has no basis for identity.
It is shallow.
The one thing that this tea brings with it that stays with me for a long while is the unique Cha qi. It is cooling in nature, and moves one's mind into a state of tranquility and relaxation. Minor perspiration and the sensation of being lightheaded is calming and almost puts me to sleep.
This tea is not by any means bad, it is just overpriced and lacking uniqueness.
One cannot become something which one cannot be.
Matt's review here.