The DH (dear hubbie) wanted his own pound of green tea. I guess he got tired of my rations and wanted one he could control all by himself! >-) So, out comes the wholesale books for him to peruse. He chose Snowy Mountain Jian, and he has been kind enough to share.
My first tasting experience with this tea wasn't that great, but it's my own fault. I was exhibiting bad tea tasting behavior. It was early and I was multitasking (making pancakes - not a normal morning event for me). I didn't pay attention to my tea leaf-to-water ratio. I over-steeped. Not in the sense of time, but I had too many leaves for the amount of water I was using. My first experience of the tea was that it had a smoky aroma and was rather bitter. The bitterness was my fault.
When you taste a tea for the first time, it really is important to give the tea 3-4 different steeps. Use different water temps and steeping durations to see what you prefer. (When I'm tasting a tea for the first time, I only reuse the leaves twice. I might keep them for a third steeping later, but not for the purposes of really "getting" that particular tea.) I keep a notebook with my tasting preferences and observations.
Round 2 worked much better for me with this tea. The tea had my full attention. That's always a plus (and a moment to be centered). I steeped the same leaves for 2.5 minutes and used more water. I am enjoying this cup. The smoky aroma is still there. However, the bitterness is gone. The tea does have a pungency to it. It's manufacturer's description indicates that, while this is a green tea, it is allowed to ferment very briefly to give the leaves a dark hue. They indicate the taste is "much smoother than traditional green teas." I'm not sure I would define this as a smooth tea, but I do like it. The aftertaste leaves a sweetness on my tongue. Quite the combo - a mildly pungent flavor, but a sweet aftertaste.
I am also considering whether I should carry this tea in my Serendipity Teas line. The jury is still out. I will compare tasting notes with the DH. I find that many of my customers prefer really soft greens (like my Darjeeling Green), and this one definitely doesn't fit that profile.
On a slightly related topic, I am really pleased with the tray and fish bowl shown above. I picked up the very light celadon green tray at Cost Plus World Market in Albuquerque. I found the matching fish dipping bowls here in Bloomington! I needed something to showcase teas, and I needed a very light background. This one seems to work and the fish bowl is just adorable!