So the Moral of This Tea Story Is…

I was inspired to write this article when my husband said he fancied a green tea and I looked in my tea cupboard to see what jumped out at me.  After some deliberation, I decided to open up a foil packed tea that had the year 2008 printed on the front.  You can imagine how many teas I might have in my cupboard, and it’s not possible to drink all teas in their freshest state, I’m embarrassed to say.  Needless to say, I was curious to see if there was still any flavour left this 3-year-old tea.  I opened the bag and looked at the loose leaf.

Meng Ding Cui Zhu (Green Bambo Green Tea) loose leaf
Meng Ding Cui Zhu (Green Bambo Green Tea) loose leaf

Considering the age of the tea, the leaves didn’t look too bad.  If the tea was freshly picked, the leaves would be much greener.  I was also astonished to find that there was still a fresh(ish) grassy aroma to the dry leaf.

So, I put the kettle on to the right temperature, made the tea, and the next test is, of course, in the drinking of the tea.  My favourite part of my tea making ritual is watching the leaves dance as the water is poured into the glass.  This never fails to make me smile. 🙂

Meng Ding Cui Zhu (Green Bambo Green Tea) loose leaf
Meng Ding Cui Zhu (Green Bambo Green Tea) loose leaf

The tea was an absolute delight: typically vegetal, slight nutty (although not as nutty as other green teas, such as Lung Ching), with a sweetness and slight astringency.  I was pleasantly surprised!

A mark of a great tea is how many infusions you can get from the same teaspoon of leaves.  To my amazement this tea had two further infusions out of it.  Not bad considering how old the tea is.  You can see from the following picture the plumped up wet leaves on the right, when compared to the dry leaf on the left.

Dried loose leaf compared to the wet leaf on the right
Dried loose leaf compared to the wet leaf on the right

So the moral of this tea story is, when buying tea, buy in small quantities, and tea is best stored in a dark cupboard, away from strong smells, and in a tightly sealed container.  Tea is best consumed within 18 months but if you have a good quality tea, you may be surprised like I was with this tea!

Note: A thousand apologies to the vendor for not consuming this tea much sooner. 😦

Many thanks to my dear husband, whose renewed interest in photography resulted in capturing some wonderful tea memories. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “So the Moral of This Tea Story Is…

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  4. Today on Wojciech Bońkowski’s “Polish Wine Guide” (a blog written by a wine connoisseur who has turned his attention to fine tea, as well), he writes very intelligently about old tea that has gone stale. His observation is that the characteristics that made these teas distinctive in their prime are lost for more general characteristics when they have lost “it.”

      1. A.C. Cargill

        No problem, Steven. If Wojciech had a blog devoted to tea, I would add him to the “blogs we like” list on our sidebar. Maybe he needs to separate the two topics and have a tea blog and a wine blog. Thanks again for reading. 🙂

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