Sunday, June 19, 2011

Taste Test: High Mountain Fairy Orchid Twig wild tea from Life in Teacup

Time for another Taste Test folks! This the first of many, many of teas I bought from Life in Teacup. Due to me being a laggard in posting these, you probably won't be finding these too useful, as it will be impossible to get any of these teas until September due to Gingko (who runs Life in Teacup) going on Summer holidays. So yeah, bum timing on my part. Still I hope you get SOME value out of this.

Today's tea has a real mouthful of a name: High Mountain Fairy Orchid Twig wild tea. According to the Life in Teacup page, it was harvest in the spring of 2011 in Jiangxi Province, Wuyuan, China, was grown at an altitude of 900m (2700ft for you Imperial system slowpokes).

The thing that stands out the most about this tea is the smell of the dry leaves. I've never smelled anything like it before. It's an odd mix of spice, ripe fruit, and something kind of like sweat, though a good kind of sweat. Lover's sweat. It's totally unique and really enjoyable. The dry leaves themselves are very wiry and so pale green as to almost be white.

The wet leaves smell like the dry, though with an aroma of wet vegetation thrown in for good measure. It smells better than the wet leaf of any green tea I've tried thus far (which I'll admit hasn't been too many). My nose constantly dipped back into the gaiwan for another hit.

The first infusion produced a pale green liquor (as did all the rest) with a slightly fruity aroma. The mouthfeel was nice and thick, almost oily, and very satisfying. The taste was just as complex as the aromas found in the dry and wet leaf: a slight buttery note, a pleasing astringency, and a very nice peachiness/necatriness that helped tie everything together.

Subsequent infusions yielded similar tastes, though things got kind of bland by the fourth one, with the peach note remaining fairly strong. Being able to taste anything at all past about three infusions is pretty rare for green tea, and I bet I could have done a fifth infusion had I really wanted to.

It is the goal of these reviews to help you, the reader, decide whether or not a tea is worth your time and money. In this case, if you like green tea and want to try something really different, this one is definitely worth both.


  1. This was indeed a fine tea! I look forward to your thoughts on some of Gingko's other teas, as I have tried many of them and like to see others' opinions.

  2. Yes, hopefully my comments will be useful. My palate isn't as refined as I'd like it to be.

  3. Practice practice practice! Keep tasting everything you can! It will grow on you. And...everyone's palate is always growing and learning constantly.