This morning I decided to try my new purchase of a sample of Bolivian Black Long Leaf Tea from Simpson and Vail. On Saturdays, from 10-4 you can go to their shop in Connecticut and taste 4 different teas. Check out their website for directions http://www.svtea.com/ . I really like straightforward black teas in the morning and usually I don't try anything new, but I was, for once, wide awake and functional, so I figured – Why not?
In the short month since I last mentioned them, S&V has added 2 more Bolivian teas, a green Orange Pekoe and a Jasmine green. Until very recently the only Bolivian tea you could read about on Google was tea adulterated with coca, from which comes cocaine. However, Bolivia has been producing straight tea for about 70 years. They have an area with a perfect climate for tea growing, where the warm, humid Amazon basin meets the cool high Andes mountains.
The dry leaves are really amazing, very black and huge – about 1.5 inches long. I used about 1.5 teaspoons per cup and brewed it about 3.5 minutes at 212. This is a tea I would use the 2 pot method to brew – you brew the tea without any sort of infuser in one pot and strain it into a second, warmed pot of the same size. It would also work to use one of those pots that drain out the bottom when you put it on a cup. These leaves are huge as they unfurl! As it was brewing it had a complex smell of roasted corn silk, green vegetable, and floral. This continued as I drank it. This is a good sturdy tea with a solid black taste that has one of the nicest florals in it that I have tried. There is just enough astringency in the back corners of your mouth to add a nice fillip to the end. As it begins to cool, more of a vegetal character comes out. It is a thoroughly good beginning offering of premium tea. I hope the Bolivians continue to grow and produce even better teas.
If you are feeling like you have too many boxes from your teas hanging around or need something creative to do, go to this sight for an idea http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/celestialtea/23388 If you do use this idea, make sure you let me know!