February 22, 2018

Global Tea Hut October 2017 Elevation Red Tea

In medieval times I might have been a scribe. I always carry a notebook and keep a separate tea notepad in my kitchen. Many of my tasting notes become the tea reviews you read on the blog.

I've been a fan of Global Tea Hut from a distance. From the blogs and social media accounts of other tea folks, I know of their in-depth articles about tea culture. These same sources rave about their teas. I did not hesitate to accept a a monthly box which included the October 2017 magazine issue, a tin of Elevation, a 2017 Old-Growth Sun Moon Lake black tea, and a clay tea pot scrub. Do you subscribe to Global Tea Hut?

I am keeping the October 2017 issue of the magazine! It's an excellent resource for a student of tea. Forty-five pages of the 62-page issue is devoted to sidehandle teapot history and ceremony. The feature follows the evolution in form and function of the sidehandle pot then provides a deep discussion of the sidehandle bowl tea ceremony including step-by-step instructions with clear photographs. The final section of the feature profiles two renowned artisans of the sidehandle pot -- Petr Novak and Luo Shi.

Now for the tea. I had many sessions with this tea, including "leaves in a bowl", and all the cups were delicious. I'm sharing details of my four-gram session here. I used 200F and poured to just cover the very long, dark leaves. The first infusion was very flavorful. The thick copper-colored liquor was has many notes: wood, leather, sweet. The second infusion was thicker. It tasted of sandalwood, leather, camphor, and a sweet spice. The third infusion had similar profile to the previous cup with the addition of a creamy texture. I noted that the was unmistakably a black tea at the fourth infusion. It was less complex than previous cups but it tasted like an accessible daily black tea. There was a slight bitterness in my rear cheeks. The fifth infusion (the third three-minute infusion) was tighter and drier. The flavors of wood, camphor, and spice were still present but the lush and creamy texture was no longer detectable. The sixth infusion was sweet and fruity this time. The liquor had a high, bright note. The final infusion was a 10-minute steep yielding a light-bodied liquor with a nutty sweetness. I transferred the leaves to a jar which I topped with room temperature water and refrigerated. Even after all of the many hot infusions, there was still flavor in the leaves.

This delicious red tea is perfect on its own, but if you like to eat a snack with your tea, I have two pairing recommendations for you. Peanut butter and jam on a thin brown rice cracker. A handful of roasted, unsalted almonds. If you try one or both, let me know what you think in the comments.

Magazine and tea provided by Global Tea Hut.

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