Type: Green Tea
Style: Jade Cloud
Purveyor: The Spice & Tea Exchange
Preparation: One teaspoon steeped in about eight ounces of boiling water for 2:30, sipped plain
I suppose it is only right to open with a disclaimer about labeling this tea as organic: the pouch in which my sample of this tea was packaged at The Spice & Tea Exchange's Newport, Rhode Island, store does not say anything about being organic. However, its website does declare that the Jade Cloud Green Tea is organic. While labels can be old or printed erroneously, websites are easily correctable and updateable. So, I tend to presume that in the event of a discrepancy, the website should be given the benefit of the doubt. But again, a disclaimer is only fair for my kind patrons.
In any event, the Jade Cloud green tea is exquisite. Whatever label the Spice & Tea Exchange puts on it, that soon becomes of quite little interest in the presence of such a charismatic beverage. The dry leaves are, aptly, of a dark jade color, withered down but without curling into the leaf equivalent of the fetal position, as many other teas are wont to do. These Jade Cloud leaves are long, elegant, curvy, almost supple looking from a slight distance. And when getting a sense of their aroma, I was greeted not with a statement but with a question: can an aroma be matte? I do not mean dampened; the fruity tones are wonderfully vibrant. But there is a certain quality to them, almost like a gloss-over except decidedly not glossy - perhaps we can call it a haze-over. It is slight, and gives the aroma (which also includes an undertone of nuttiness) great texture, and in my mind's eye, when I sniff these leaves, that texture is quite distinctly matte. There is no other way to explain it.
That would normally be plenty of character for a tea, but in the case of the Jade Cloud here, we are just warming up - literally, in fact, as the water was boiling to brew the tea as I pondered the dry leaves. When brewed, the tea emerges very light, almost delicate in color. It is pale yellow. The nuttiness comes out much more in the aroma when brewed, and in fact becomes the predominant note. There is also just a touch of maltiness and fruit beneath it all. Could that maltiness be the manifestation of the matte quality that I found in the dry leaves? Could it all really have been just what malt smells like before being brewed? How intriguing.
When sipped the tea immediately shows itself to be quite comforting and cozy, key qualities this time of year. The flavor is subtle; not too tannic, not too malty, just right. The package, which mentions a chestnut flavor, is proven correct on that count. The tea is full bodied, even, and evidently glad to please. There is a bit of fruitness to the finish.
The Jade Cloud Green Tea has plenty of personality, but unlike many beverages brimming with character, it does not heave it at us in a frantic effort to boast of glitz and glam. Rather, it welcomes in anyone who would enter, and explores its own depths with us, sharing the adventure at our own pace. Such keen reserve makes it most ideal as an afternoon tea. In fact, I look forward to another cup of it this afternoon, and encourage everyone else to partake as well.