Whoops it's been about 2 weeks now! My bad. I've been patiently waiting for my brother to come home with the camera so I can take photos, but it seems like he'll return on the 24th of NEVER. So this is going up now. I'll add them in when he does decide he needs to come back to the supply depot, that was formerly his home, and stock up again. >_>
I've got a real treat today. For myself only, of course. Unless you drop by for a chat, because I'm talking about tea again xD
Today I've got the "Monkey Pick Tea"... Badly English, clearly. But from that I can tell it claims to have used trained monkeys to pick the tea leaves. As weird as that may sound, it's probably good for the tea leaves.
So I think picked it up for a real bargain, in my opinion. Only 150HKD for 250 grams of the stuff. Usually I'm a bit suspicious of teas that are so cheap, especially since I've been fooled by a few ti guan yins and black teas this way, and at a steeper cost too. But then again this was sold at a discount, so it could've commanded a much higher price a while ago.
First off, it smells fantastic. After depositing the leaves into the warm pot below and lifting the lid, I was greeted with a lively duo of fruits and cheese (cheddar?), along with the familiar smell of wheat crackers. And yes, I did say cheese... Like an aged cheese. After steeping, the wet leaves instead present a much sweeter fragrance, full of raisins and cinnamon, with the original savoury notes hanging just behind it. I think it's all gone into the water. I was not expecting this sort of combination of aromas, given the price point of this tea, but I am definitely pleasantly surprised.
It mostly tastes sour, perhaps cheesy. While the smell from the pot is unmistakably mixed with the wonderful smell of aged dairy products, the taste is a bit more open to interpretation. One chap had indeed identified that very same sensation as a tropical note, like the sourness from pineapples. It's interesting how my previous experience with the dry leaves affected my tastebuds in such a manner.
Now that I think about it, it does seem to lack something in the flavour profile, as all of the sweeter components refuse to leave the pot for some strange reason. Either that, or the sourness is overpowering it. It's nice and refreshing, and it's got quite an enduring aftertaste... But there's no sweetness for it to cut through anyway.
Overall... Definitely a very savoury sort of beverage. It's an interesting Jekyll-Hyde sort of transformation, from blooming garden in spring to a... a lemon, I guess. Not that it's excessively sour, but that's the best analogy I can come up with for now. The taste is a bit underwhelming, in a way, but the fragrance more than makes up for it in my opinion. For the low price I paid, it's a pretty damn good brew.