Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Emerald Pearls, by Mighty Leaf
One of the perils of writing reviews is that you sometimes stumble upon other people's reviews of the same product. In this case, I've recently watched the enjoyable Walker Tea Review, with Jason Walker, who said this is what he would consider a "base model tea," to paraphrase; or in other words, that tea with other green teas would be compared. "It's more floral," or "It's more vegetal," that kind of thing. Well, let's see what I think, for what it's worth.
Emerald Pearls are certainly an emerald green, but not in "pearl" shape-- or, rounded balls of tea leaf. Instead, the leaves are short spears, deeply green-black in hue. I asked the Mighty Leaf person on Twitter about the name, and got a reply that perhaps the name signified its value and rarity. When steeped, the leaves unfurled in a forest green, with hints of gold. There is definitely a warm, garden scent to it-- the vegetal, or asparagus, note that Jason Walker speaks of.
My wife took a cup and wandered off into the other room with the baby. She said, "Wow, what is this? Mm, this is good." Or words to that effect. She liked it! Hey, Mikey!
Golden-green, transparent to the bottom of the cup. The tea has a rather dry mouthfeel, and it is nicely fragrant. It's a rainy day today, and as I stood in front of the open door with the tea flavor fresh on my tongue, I thought of my Grandma's wonderful garden, and how it smelled on a rainy day. I realized that the tea itself was providing the fragrance that triggered the memory. There's a slight sweetness, and the slight dryness doesn't really detract from the smoothness of the cup. I like that astringency, and it goes well with the hint of citrus in the high notes, or the umami of the low notes. The low note hangs on in the mouth, with a very long and pleasant finish.
Umami, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is the elusive "fifth flavor," which accompanies the usual sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. It is caused by L-glutamate (and other variations of the glutamate molecule), which is present in large amounts in green tea. It's a yummy meatiness, or a satisfying happy flavor that is difficult to pin down, but wonderful to experience. If you want to learn more about umami, go to this Web site: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15819485 .
I find this tea to be very satisfying and pleasurable in a simple, unobtrusive way. Nothing in this tea screams for your attention, but instead, it feels welcoming and homey.
Tea can be purchased here: http://www.mightyleaf.com/chinese-tea/organic-emerald-pearls-green-tea/