Since it wasn’t bought in a traditional grocery setting, I am not 100% sure how long this tea had sat on the shelf before i found it. Never a good sign.
Silk Road Teas specializes in rare and artisan teas (but then, apart from TeaVana or DavidsTea, who doesn’t? ;). I’d run across their site a few times in the past year, but hadn’t gotten around to them yet. So i definitely had my eyes open for anyone who might be selling Silk Road Teas while I was out in LA last week. As they’re located in San Rafael, north of San Fran, I didn’t really expect to find any though. In truth, I didn’t try all that hard as I was focusing on other vendors, and just got very lucky that the J. Paul Getty Museum had this in their gift shop (and that it was loose leaf).
Fo Cha, or Buddhist Tea, appears in liquor to be a thin yellowed jade Chinese Green. Its loose leaf has a wiry, Chun Mee-like curl. In aroma, a vegetal melon confluence assails the nostrils. I do wonder if it might be nearing the end of its lifecycle from its lack of lush chlorophyll, but i’m hopeful it’s still very drinkable. In flavor, Fo Cha has a definite, possibly shade dried? tanginess similar to a lower oxidized Oolong. Fortunately, its texture is definitely intact: a rough and tumble powdery medium grit, that on a blind taste test I might have mistaken as having come from further West than Zhejiang. Nice!
Silk Road’s Fo Cha is certified Organic by CCOF. I paid $11 for what my math tells me ought to have cost $8 (but then, i have no idea where i was supposed to be shopping for it), so not bad. Apologies, I’m between apartments and my macro lens for loose leaf shooting is packed away somewhere i cannot currently fathom. ^^;;
- Aroma – 91
- Taste – 91
- Texture – 93
- Spunk – 93
- Rarity – 92
- Availability – 92
- Appearance – 95
- Organic/Fairtrade – 93
Mean score – Rounds to 93 Definitely worth $11/ounce. I got pretty lucky this time.
You might have noticed that I’ve added an 8th category to my rating system. You may also have noticed how silent this blog has been recently… For the past six or eight months I’ve suffered a moral quandary when it comes to blogging about tea. I really want to reward vendors that go that extra mile to find organic and/or fair trade certified teas. As you can imagine, I’ve grown weary of constantly poisoning myself with unsafe tea. Also, my Buddhist guilt has made it more and more difficult to endorse exploitive harvesting practices or unsustainable buying. From now on, I’ll be rating down any company that can’t demonstrate its products are organic or show no commitment to the prosperity of tea farmers. Actually, most likely, I just won’t be reviewing them, because I simply have no time for them. Sorry TeaSource and Upton. You seriously need to change with the times.
This image has no connection whatsoever to Fo Cha or Silk Road Teas. Just a neat temple in Little Tokyo. Sorry. ^^;;