a really nice Russian guy; he helped with translation quite a bit
that shop was absolutely beautiful, inside and out
It's taken awhile but I finally tried the only Russian tea I brought back from Russia, a version of green tea. This is from the Perlov tea shop in Moscow, website here, a very beautiful shop and building, which sold a broad selection of teas. I could guess out more about their product range but having only tried this tea from there it seems as well to leave it at that. I'll also mention this post covers travel in Russia, but it's not mostly about tea. I loved visiting Russia, and I'm sort of a fan of the culture now, but I'll skip all that here.
Green tea isn't my favorite general category, so it's not as easy to judge, but I've drank plenty of it, and can sort of relate to it. I haven't mentioned all the Vietnamese green teas I've tried over the last couple of months, some of which were exceptional, and those should have helped keep me dialed into that range.
It goes without saying that it's not ideal to try a green tea in March from the previous year, perhaps made nearly a year ago. Green teas don't seem to be destroyed by age and storage as fast as people sometimes let on but they do change, and for types for which the bright, fresh intensity is the main draw they could change for the worse over several months. This may have been a slightly different tea nine months ago.
It was still nice though, and I bought it because it was the only Russian tea I found. I'll resolve that, and try more of others in the future.
familiar parts of Moscow, not so close to the shop but not far either
It was interesting that the labels for a willow herb tisane and a green tea were so completely in Russian that what they say really can't distinguish which is which. The green tea package mentions that it was produced in the Sochi area, by Matsesta tea, with a website and sales page here. It just doesn't actually get around to clarifying what it is. That would be funny if I reviewed a willow herb tisane here, and a green tea in that post.
The tea is nice, definitely green tea (really, I'm sure). It reminds me a little of the range for those Vietnamese versions, some of them, definitely vegetal, with a good bit of mineral, good sweetness, and a little grassiness, but heavier on other vegetable range. The sweetness stands out, and an overall complexity and richness. This is probably pretty good tea, it's just that I don't love green tea, so it's hard to appreciate in the same way as tea types I do like a lot better.
The aspect-list approach probably works as well as that ever does for tea review. Sweetness stands out as an initial impression, with that vegetable and grass range next. Mild and well integrated green bell pepper, green bean, and field grass all combine, supported by some mineral. As green teas go the feel is a bit richer than is typical.
I tried a better version of a Thai Nguyen region (Vietnamese) green tea than I've tried before not so long ago, and it reminds me a little of that tea, but only in a couple of limited senses. It was sweet as well, and complex, and of course primarily vegetal supported by mineral range. It also drifted more into seaweed range, with a good bit of umami (savory taste element). This Russian green tea expresses a little of that, just not nearly to that same extent, or to the degree some sencha and gyokuro can.
On the next infusion the warmth and depth picks up a bit. I'm brewing the tea Western style, but at a higher proportion than would probably be typical, and using limited infusion times, around 2 1/2 minutes, so I guess in a hybrid approach process. It was prepared using a typical well-below boiling point range.
Lately brewing temperature has been coming up a good bit, and this probably would still be ok made with boiling point water, it would just be different. It would be necessary to compensate by adjusting either proportion or timing, or both, and astringency would pick up a bit, emphasizing mineral and astringency over that sweetness. It's probably possible to adjust which flavor aspect elements come across (which vegetables, or grass versus the rest), so that different people might like it made different ways related to that.
The grass aspect in this is more like field grass, like a fresh cut hay version, versus lawn grass. I guess that's better, to me, but then I'd as soon be drinking black tea, oolong, or a broad range of pu'er and other hei cha instead. The brightness and freshness is nice; that compensates some for flavor aspect range not matching my main preferences.
That's really it for the tasting notes I made, and it would be nice to keep a review simple for once. If the number of infusions a tea produces is considered critical for judging quality--and the two things do seem to correspond, they just don't always go together--then this is great tea, because I kept on drinking infusions all day long. I'd probably be able to add a bit about how it works to vary brewing parameters, or what else I notice related to trying it a few more times, but I'm sure this initial impression captures enough about it.
I do have other family than that one girl
Bangkok, from a boat
like taking a bus, except there are no traffic jams on the river