This Green Tea Improves with Age

I opened our recent shipment of Heritage Green last week and was surprised by what I saw.  The leaf was big and leafy, and a bright green. A fluorescent green. This was different from the tighter, darker leaf of previous shipments.

We quickly whipped up a cup of both teas to compare the flavor.  The new, brighter green had a light, creamy taste.  Our current tea had a bolder, sweeter taste. (Make no mistake, both of these teas are delicious!) I WhatsApped Jason, our tea source, to confirm we got the right tea. I wanted to check that it was still coming from the Ancient Tea Trees, too. Jason confirmed the new shipment was indeed from the Ancient Tea Trees, just like previous batches.

Jason also shared a few other points with me about our recent shipment of Heritage Green. These turned out to be good reminders when thinking about tea. The tea for this batch was picked in a different season, so the leaf color and flavor varied from previous pluckings. He said that a characteristic of tea made from the Ancient Tea Trees for the flavor to enhance with age. This makes sense. As this shipment of green tea ages, it will darken and the flavor will become more complex and sweet, becoming more and more like our previous batches.

These points about tea directly relate to the concept of terroir. Terroir is the concept that the flavor of a tea is determined by where it comes from (much like wine) – the geography, soil, culture, when it’s picked, and the climate.

Keep this in mind as you open a new bag of tea. Factors that affect terroir will impact tea flavor from batch to batch.  This, however, is perhaps one of the best reasons to enjoy tea in the first place. Enjoy tea nuances and appreciate that much thought and consideration goes into each cup of your tea!

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