Review 3: Simple Leaf’s Decadence

by Jason on January 8, 2009

in 70-79, darjeeling, white

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason January 19, 2009 at 10:49

“White tea does not, in fact, have higher caffeine content. It’s actually similar in content to green tea, but that widely varies according to where the teas are grown and prepared.”

Actually, what I was explaining was that buds have a higher concentration of caffeine than other leaves when on the tea plant. Caffeine serves as a defense against sun damage, and helps protect new buds as they grow. Michael Harney does an excellent job of explaining this in The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea.

Jason January 19, 2009 at 10:41

“…messing with the instructions off camera and already knowing what you think of the tea prior to “trying it” on camera for the audience is highly misleading, and I don’t feel that it did the tea justice….”

Thanks for watching and taking time to comment.

Two points here:

First, Simple Leaf, like many companies, provide “guidelines” which I followed in previous tastings off camera. I will continue to improve my reviews to clarify this point.

“Guidelines” are just that- a guide. Variations in water quality and intentions on re-steeping call for modifications in the preparation process. White teas originated in China, where the majority of tea drinkers there continue to follow some form of gaiwan-esque approach to preparing tea. As such, tea professionals use a little more leaf and steep for a shorter period. This method prevents the teas flavors from being fully leeched during the first steep.

Second- a one-time, first tasting on camera would do even less justice to the tea. Many teas actually taste better on the 2nd steeping than the first. Off- camera tastings are necessary to collect multiple tasting notes without creating an overly-extended video. A decanted wine tastes different than the same wine straight from the bottle. Why wouldn’t you want to get a fuller experience of tea across steepings?

I invite you to experiment using suggested brewing guidelines compared to a shorter steep/re-steep method and experience the difference.

Jason January 16, 2009 at 10:25

The review does include Simple Leaf’s preparation instructions, and I did follow those instructions precisely (although not in the video).

What can I say- having lived in China and studied quality teas there, I rated this tea according to the standard characteristics that can be expected from white teas.

Jason January 15, 2009 at 10:18

A good time to note that I give each tea more than one tasting so as to get the full experience of the tea. My comments often summarize the results of multiple tastings with different amounts of tea, different water temps, and different steep times.

At the same time, tea culture was cultivated long before thermometers were commonly accessible and when water was heated over flame. Preparing good tea should not require the precision of lab measurements.

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