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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The benevolence of a friend

I got a Christmas gift of sorts today in the mail, and as such I decided to pull a lengthy brew till I can take no more tonight while watching movies in my room. The gift was a sample of a late 80's 8582. This is my first late 80's and the 8582 has always been one of my favorite recipes and I'm assured by the sender that the older versions are of far better quality than even those of the 90's let alone current offerings.

The dry leaf aroma is whats really peaking my interest, it smells fresh but at the same time earthy, it smells well aged without much in the way of wet storage and molding.

I have not been drinking puerh as long as some, not even drinking tea as long as many, but from all the aromas rising from the cup I just know its going to be a great time. Slight hint of the damp wood indicating its age, but the rest of the aroma is mostly fresh, besides a hint of mushroom. I'm getting Bamboo and hints of a fresh cut grass, but there are also hints of fruit, perhaps a mix of apple with certain melons, and just the lightest touch of camphor.

Day 1:
Its taste is rich like coffee, and has so many dimensions. The weirdest thing is I'm getting this flavor profile that reminds me of mint oreo cookies. This tea though tea somehow is rich and fulfilling like cookies and cream.

Into the third infusion I'm thinking this tea is redefining my whole view of aged puerh. I swear I'm getting a slightly berry flavor. After the second could rival any cup of coffee I have ever had in terms of boldness of flavor. But needless to say Chaqi is alive and well and I'm so relaxed I have to remind myself I am keeping notes on this tea. If I keep on progressing into relaxation at this rate I very well may be humming and singing to myself with mind for nothing but the tea.

Infusion six brings out a flavor I struggle to describe its fruity yet lingering on the sides of the tongue. But I must say I think if I didn't drink after the first infusion I would still be tasting the first infusion. But on the lingering finish comes out a hint of orange.

Around the 10th infusion it no longer looks like coffee though its still darker than just about any non puerh tea would normally brew. The most amazing this is as the infusions go on the tea naturally gets tamer so I'm doing longer infusions, which while they are not very powerful, have a mouth feel which is impeccable

Well I nearly had my Lins kettle full (took a heck of a long time to boil), and if I pour one more infusion it will run dry something I always try to avoid. so it is off, and will be resumed tomorrow. I'm doing an overnight steep, though after 15 or so infusions the longest infusion I've done yet was 5 minutes, meaning this tea probably has much much more to give.

In this tea lies truth,
emphatic reinforcer
of our inner mind.

-Adam Yusko

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is not a review, as it was experimenting with matcha from a source I refuse to mention on my blog. I think matcha might turn into a semi regular thing for me, as the buzz from this was amazing, though the taste was lack luster at best.

That being said I'm glad I got this tea, and I feel its a good thing to keep in mind. Practice with the teas you are less fond of, because if you can make them taste good, its easier to dial in the better teas to make them exceptional. But matcha is a tea I feel needs an exceptional amount of pratice as I think it has one of the most involved brewing procedures of any tea out there, and I'm not talking about the formal ceremony. The effort put in to produce the optimal frothy top is not like pouring from a yixing pot, and I'd say its much harder than pouring from a gaiwan. Though I do say if you burn yourself making matcha you are doing something horribly wrong, whereas its almost common place to have very hot fingers while pouring from a gaiwan.

That being said I think matcha needs to be tried by people, to decide if they like it or don't like it, but I highly encourage making yourself to fully appreciate the effort.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Aged Ti Kuan Yin (Red Foil)

I believe the year on this tea is 2001, and I was told it was a high temperature roast, and it was reroasted every two to three years. While I would not say the leaves look black like a Classic/Traditional/Charcoal roast, they are far from green, more of an olive tending towards the brownish side.

But the dry leaf aroma is actually quite welcoming lots of dried fruits, and a sweeter candied smell I assume coming from the roast. But upon rising the leaves the aroma of the roast becomes much more pronounced.

This tea came from Kung Fu Tea Arts on ebay.

The aroma is most interesting, a combination of the dry leaves and the leaves after the rinse, but all the while smelling very sweet.

The flavor is mild, but delicate, and sweet like a good fruit should be sweet, not like candy bar or sugar sweet. And with longer infusions the color has a hint of a ruby tinge to it, though the leaves now look basically black.

The aroma of the second infusion is much different a bit of a sour almost rubarb note came out, but the flavor is still delicate and tantalizing.

It changes ever so slightly over the next few infusions getting slightly more sour, and slightly less sweet, but still always interesting an never really over powering.

I do want to say that this tea is characteristic of aged tea in that its not giving up all that easily, I think the better parts of it are behind it, but its still got more to give after the 6th or 7th infusion. I did not count but I want to say this tea was the first tea I've had in a long time that lasted this many infusions that was not a puerh.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kagoshima Standard Bancha

I sort of went out on a limb with this vendor. They are relatively new and found me on Twitter, but I decided I'll give them a shot as I've been on a Japanese Green kick lately. I must say their packaging was impeccable, and very attractive as photographed. Inside the green paper is a foil pouch containing the tea, I assume nitrogen flushed.

I decided to start with their standard Bancha as its price is very appealing on their site, and sometimes I feel you get a good idea of how a company views the tea they sell by what they select as their "low grade" offerings.

Kagoshima Bancha Leaves

The big downside to this tea was its color, at times it reminded me of a fukamushi (deep steamed) in the sense that it was a solid persistent color. But The real downside to the color is there was always a slight hint of brown in the brew, but I do not have enough experience with Bancha to know if it is normal.

But the Aroma of the tea was great, and the flavor somewhat complex. I thought long and hard on how I was going to write up the flavor, as it was a multitude of raw vegetables most prominent was radish. Which is where the contention came into play I'm not a fan of the bitter taste of radish and that was what often came out front in this tea. But while the bitter radish like flavor is not my favorite flavor it was not unpleasant, and I could see someone who really likes that flavor enjoy this tea immensely.

Kagoshima Bancha in Hagi

* Edit: When I first made this I made the mistake of treating it like Sencha. But by increasing the Water temperature and shortening the infusion time by about half the color issue is fixed. And the flavor is much more balanced, and more enjoyable for everyone. We are always learning with tea, especially when branching out to a new area.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gyokuro Rimpo

This is another tea thrown in the swap with a friend of mine. I must say I've been quite impressed with gyokuro-s they truly are a great tea.

The aroma is buttery and vegetal, but there is something about the aroma that is just incredibly comforting. It perhaps has hints of certain spiced fruits (think apple cinnamon). But I love the taste of Gyokuro, its almost miso soup like, but incredibly thick and savory (definitely umami).

Gyokuro Rampo

I'm amazed a really long third infusion brought out this incredibly sweet aroma, and the taste is still holding in there with the umami just starting to fade.

All in all Gyokuro is quickly becomming my favorite Japanese Green tea, if not Tea in general.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ippodo Obukcha

With a friend, as I was just starting to discover Japanese Greens, him and I did a swap, I sent him some aged puerh he has yet to try, and he sent me a goody box full of Japanese greens, just about all of which from Ippodo.

Sadly he didn't tell me till today he would like me to publish my notes on the teas he sent, and both Sencha's and 1 of the Gyokuro samples he sent are long gone. Though I will note that they were amazing, and the Gyokuro was simply amazing to say the least.

This tea is a Bancha genmaicha, but it has relatively few rice kernels compared to the amount of tea. Most of Ippodo's teas if not all are Asamushi, or lightly steamed.

The color of this tea is a slightly greenish yellow, but I couldn't get a good picture as its just washed out in the pink loquat glaze Biwa hagi.

The toasted grains are a nice touch, and add a little bit more substance to this tea, which is peaceful, but its amazing for the price. The tea has a slight hint at umami flavor, but nothing compared to Gyokuro.

This tea is just a pleasure to drink, and treat casually.

Happy Holidays

I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and hope there is always plenty of tea to be drunk. I do want to say that while it may seem that my blog is not getting updated often, it is because a policy I have where I do not review or really talk much about teas I have received as samples or as part of a swap on my blog. The exceptions are if its a free sample thrown in by a vendor, or if the person encourages me to blog about them.

So I've actually been drinking a fair bit of tea from swaps, and trying to finish off certain teas to trim my collection slightly.

But again I'm wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and apologize if the amount of posts slow slightly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Menghai 8582 batch 801

So I received a box I've been hoping for for awhile today, it included some young puerh, as I realize I have yet to try some of these classic recipes at a younger age. Though I've been warned by many that the quality of many of the classic recipes was compromised during the puerh bubble. So with the 8582 first thing I notice is the leaves are already on the browner side, not rusty as in aged, but sorta that greyish brown, much different than the 2009 Nada cake. I'm wondering if a year can really make that much of a difference? Though this cake comes from Hong Kong, which is notorious for wet storage, so that could very easily explain why it looks slightly older than it possibly should (Mind you I am on the new side with puerh from many different years, so I am unsure what a cake should look like at any age).

Is color is on the more orange side, but it definitely smells fresh. Its aroma is like grass, pineapple and bananas. Its got a bit of a malty character but its quite strong, though compared to other young cakes the year might have helped a bit, and it could be the compromising of the recipes towards drink now. But it still has a bit of that banana like tropical feel to it that I picked up in the aroma.

Actually it bares its fangs in the second infusion, much more potent and stronger, with a distinct nutty aroma.

In the third infusion its almost like a bitter rose water, with a slightly candy like characteristic.

This is proving to be quite interesting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jing Tea Shop Fujian Yong Chun Fo Shou

I've put off trying this since I got the package because upon reading the name I was very hesitant. I have had a few Yong Chun Fo Shou's in the past, and they have never been great. They always seemed like they were an attempt at a Green Tie Guan Yin, but it lacked in certain areas, and nothing set them apart in a postive fashion. But as I have been thrilled with just about everything else I have tried from Jing Tea Shop, I'm reserving a bit of optimism for this tea.

The aroma gives a hint as to the taste. And this one is distinctly different than all the Green TGY's I've had so far, while it still has the same buttery sensation. This tea seems to give a hint at an animal fat sort of situation, as in its not just the dairy fat its meat fat also. Weird description but its what I'm picking up on as the key difference.

It opens up and gets much more Floral, and Fruity later on. This one is making me second guess my thoughts on Green Oolongs and definitely Yong Chun Fo Shou.

This tea, an image
of a Buddha's hand at peace,
passing on such bliss.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Site Launched.

So while I for most of the past year focused mainly on Chinese Teas and the teaware to go along with it, I had a strong attraction towards Hagi pieces. But sadly there is not a good source of Hagi information in English, at least not all in one place.

So this site is primarily to catalog my collection as it grows, and show of the beautiful Hagi pieces in a non studio environment which I feel makes them look rather sterile and not that impressive.

But secondly to hopefully share information I find out about Hagi with the English speaking world, and I do not claim to be an expert in any sense of the word.

So Here is a project that I hope all of you can enjoy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kung Fu Asian Art Tie Guan Yin

I had two of these packets thrown in with my first order from them. I talked with the owner as this was completely unlabeled, I could only venture to guess that it was some sort of balled oolong, so I was guessing a TGY. This one came in a Golden Foil individual packets, and I believe he said this was either the 09 Autumn Premium or the regular 09 Autumn, I am unsure which.

The dry leaves smell nice, and they do not look the most picturesque, they look about on par with most green TGY leaves I have seen so far.

The color is pleasing, and the tea overall seems incredibly delicate, which amazes me as usually the green TGY have a flavor that cuts through everything and is dominating, this is a subtle mix of many flavors, but perhaps too subtle?

But its buttery, and slightly fruity, but in a non sweet way.

If you push it (steep it extra long) on an early infusion its still drinkable but the non sweet fruity notes are replaced with strong vegetal notes, such as spinnach, and broccoli.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


The Subtle Change

I would like to announce that I have accepted a guest blogger position on the T Ching blog to start in January. So for those of you wh o already read that blog you will now see an occasional post from me, and for those of you that do not it has a wealth of information and has attracted the likes of people like James Norwood-Pratt to be a writer for them, so I feel honored to have my writings posted among such people.

When talking to a friend about another project I was thinking about undertaking, he offered me a chance to collaborate with him on a site of his which is sort of a hodgepodge of topics that are of interest to him, one of which is Tea. His site is: Whimsical Curmudgeon at which I have already posted a brief article, and will probably submit an article when it strikes my fancy.

Sadly I am going to be keeping you in the dark about a few other projects I am working on until they materialize into something a bit more real. One is nearing completion, but another is basically in a dreams phase right now, and even if it were to work out it probably wouldn't come to life for at least another year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Porcelain Vs. Yixing a head to head.

With the last of my Jing tea shop Qi Lan, I am doing a head to head brewing compareing my decently seasoned Yixing pot to a neutral eggshell gaiwan.

Keeping in mind I'm probably a bit brainwashed as to the qualities each of these possesses. The most notable thing I have is the one in the yixing has so many more layers and so much more depth to it. If I'm to consider the porcelain as a clean slate and only that tea, then it strikes me that yes the yixing is seasoned, and while its producing better tasting tea, its in all honesty traits from many different teas, rolled up into one, and while the main character is the tea in the pot now, it gives off layers and depth from so many other teas.

That being said the porcelain seems to be lacking in the aroma, and slightly on the taste. But one thing thats just been baffling me is the mouth feel from the porcelain just seems so much better. its like a smooth velvet while in the yixing its like a standard pair of jeans. And actually the second infusion I like better in the porcelain as all the main flavor components are there except in the yixing the roasting is emphasized whereas in porcelain its noted but it is not the focus.

This just keeps on surprising me the further into the infusions I go the more I can tune into the differences and now they seem almost like night and day. And I'm not entirely sure which I like better as they are so different that they offer different things, and its quite surprising that the same leaves can make two cups of tea so different under the same conditions.

Friday, December 4, 2009

O-Cha Miyabi


This is an Uji sencha which is Medium steamed (chumushi). It comes from O-Cha and I highly recommend the Green Tea gift set, if you are looking to get into some good japanese greens. The best part about the gift set is it includes two wonderful tins which are double lidded and a nice size for the typical amount of a japanese Green you would like to have open at once. When it comes to teaware I've jumped off the deep end, I've fallen in love with hagi.

So as for this tea, its a little less sweet than that Oku Yutaka, and presents more of an pleasing vegetal taste. Its slightly astringent but I liken it to a Cooked Asparagus, cooked just to the point of being soft.

I actually have a hard time describing Japanese greens, as they tend to be completely contradictory with every sip, very powerful, yet very subdued, very vegetal, yet somehow all around pleasing, Maybe I'm showing my age but its like a very healthy dessert, its like having a salad after dinner, but somehow it has this quality that still convinces me I had something sweet.

The leaves are soaking
in a fresh batch of water.
Bliss, a cup of tea.

Green Tea - For Your Health
green tea

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nadacha 1960's Wang Zi Loose leaf Puerh

This is a Revisit, with the original able to be found here. I should note that there is quite a bit different between these two brews. The other one was in a Zini yixing pot which was roughly 100 ml in size, this one is in a 60ml zhuni pot. But probably the biggest difference is the fact that I am using the Lins Kettle for this one.

A 15 second steep and the tea is black like coffee, only more so than most coffees I typically see. While the aroma is quite nice, and I don't know how to describe it but saying the aroma seems much more complete then you usually get with a tea, like an umami of the nose. And its taste is so full and there is so much flavor that its almost overwhelming.

Several infusions in and I still don't know how to describe the taste of these pitch black infusions, its just powerful, not shy about anything, and in a sense flawless.

Granted I'm on longer infusions now, but the infusions are still powerful and only slightly less jet black. But the aroma is slightly fruity, while the taste is starting to fade.

Sadly this does not have the staying power of that mythical tea that Hobbes had lasting 60+ infusions. I'm sad to say that this tea is fading after probably about 8, though its color isn't letting up much at all.

In the cup a night,
the age shows in precious drops
time in its glory.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fun Alliance Bi Lo Chun

First I should remark on how small these are, though they appear to be mostly whole leaves just tiny little buds of the plant. Upon opening the bag an amazing aroma of freshness filled the surrounding area. Its odd to say but the aroma of the dry leaves reminds me almost of anise.

Spring Snail

The Funny thing about this tea is the anise flavor is evident at nearly every single step, not that I'm complaining I like it well enough. Though I think the big thing about this tea is it has a long lasting finish which just holds onto many of the great flavors this tea has to offer.

Its very strong throughout two infusions and milder but still passable on the third. I might give a go for a fourth but we will see.

A seed of anxiety dwells inside my very core
spring snail taking root eagerly in the mighty Gaiwan
a gentle sniff and gleeful slurp and peace warms my center.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Has it already been over a year?

So a thought occurred to me today, to check when I started my blog. The very first post was a year and thirteen days ago. Mind you if you go back in history there are very few posts for a month or so, as I completely refocused the direction of my blog earlier this year and deleted many posts I felt did not fit in to the big picture of my blog.

So In that regard I have a little bit of advice for people just starting out, though I'm rather new in the area also, I think I would have had a very hard time getting this far without this advice.

It is very important once you start to realize what teas you like that you focus your taste on one or two categories. This in my mind leads you to form a good idea of quality. Such as lately I've been posting on Japanese teas, and I feel my experience with Yancha only leads to let me better dial in the Japanese greens and see them at their fullest potential.

Basically learning several teas in a great amount of detail lets you better understand every other tea you come accross. I feel without focusing on a small section of teas, its easy to get discouraged at the many options availible. And your stuck focusing on big picture differences, whereas if your consantly persuing similar teas you start to pick up on minute differences, and with time comes a vocabulary for describing those tastes.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone in the United States.

O-Cha Oku Yutaka

This is a deep steamed, fukamushi sencha from shizouka. I'm giving my Hagiyaki a break, so I'm using these nice little cups my mother had picked up for my sisters previous birthday.

The aroma is very plesant. Though I need to establish a whole new set of terminology to differentiate these aromas. As this one is uniquely different and I want to say much more intense.

And the taste is nice and mellow with a nutty undertone.

I want to see what the second infusion of this looks like in these cups with white inside. As all sencha's especially fukamushi's have been producing an amazingly green second infusion, which is amazingly stunning in the Super Ao hagi.

Green Tea - For Your Health
green tea

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

O-Cha Yutaka Midori

So I'm breaking out of chinese tea right now, and venturing into Japanese greens. I've had limited experience with Japanese greens before and know that they can be really really good or really really bad, usually depending more on the person behind the teapot than anything else.

So This Yutaka Midori came in a Green Tea gift set, which I think is nice as it includes two of the tins Japanese tea lovers just love so much. Now this tea is 100% from Kagoshima, and deep steamed (Fukamushi).

Its aroma is something I've only really smelled from Japanese teas. Which is slightly nutty, but very grass and vegetal in nature. Its taste is on the divine side though. Springs playing soccer is all I can really say. Especially on those wet and rainy days. But in all honesty the taste is grassy, slightly sweet like fresh rain, and its finish is a lingering spinach note.

Yutaka Midori

In short I find this tea great, and my new hagi just completes the experience.

Super Ao ONI-HAGI, Sakazuki Hai

Green Tea - For Your Health
green tea

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tea and its embodiment of Nature

So most of you only know me through this blog, few of you know that I'm actually a hopeful mathematician. So last night and today I was at a conference at which I gave a talk. But the purpose of this post comes from the thoughts I had on the several hour drive home from the conference.

Driving through the mountains in Pennsylvania tonight, there was something in the air of the slightly moist leaves on a cool evening with sparse civilization around, perhaps a few burning fires. But for a solid half hour if not more of the trip, all I could smell was puerh tea. Now this is odd as I had not had some since my last post here, yet all I could smell and fantasize about was puerh tea.

I'm sure it was one of those flukes with sensory perception, but then I started thinking what was it I was picking up in the aroma? Decaying leaves, a wonderful earthy aroma, and a subtle hint of smoke possibly from a bonfire somewhere in the distance.

This caused me to think back on posts I have made, as I believe I said many times that Yancha makes me think of fall, whereas I believe I also said at least once that puerh is quite like fall. But pondering the differences, I realized yancha reminds me of stuff baked in fall, whereas puerh is the nature in the fall.

And I'm sure we all have ideas about what times of year certain teas remind us of. I have heard many times about green tea being a great symbol of spring. I do not know if thats from the freshness that green tea imparts or the fact that its usually released late spring, and spring is often anticipation for the upcoming release.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

1994 Menghai #8582

This tea already looking rather aged, and definitely more aged than the 96 which I thought was fairly dry stored. And the liquor on this one a nice brown color with hints of a redness to it.

1994 Menghai 8582

I'm brewing it in the 60 ml Zhuni pot, which although I liked it for aged oolong I think I prefer it for aged puerh more so. That and the fact that its hard to consistently find aged yancha in the west, whereas I know of several places I can go to to get quality aged puerh.

Its got a mild camphor aroma, with hints of spices, and its taste is equally spicy with a hint of mint like freshness to it. This tea has a slight bit of strength left but still a very pleasant taste.

The obscured drop

This tea when pushed has a great bit to it, which feels almost powdery afterwards.

This tea is quite long lasting, and good throughout its many infusions. I should note that the leaves are mostly mangled and from larger leaves. But still makes for a very tasty drink.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My thoughts on Yixing

Yancha Pot
Originally uploaded by Adam Yusko
This photo is of my yancha pot, and reflecting on my most used pot there are some remarks I want to make.

Many people ask questions about pairing a pot with a certain tea and what to look for when considering the pairing.

What I first want to say is Consider your tea habits and its probably only worth while to get a pot if it you drink that type of tea excessively. Or you wish to collect pots and you find that pot exceptionally alluring.

As for pairing with tea the best thing to do is brew several different types of tea in it. But Keep in mind the shape of the pot, if it is tall and narrow its going to be difficult to fit in long twisted leaves like yancha.

This pictured pot is my yancha pot, I like it as its low and flat and can fit leaves in it that are easily several inches long. It is also the pot that has been used the most, and I like how it has developed over these past several months.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jing Tea Shop Qi Lan

I must say I have one more wuyi to try from Jing tea shop, and so far I have been thrilled, I hope this one does not disappoint. But I'm already guessing it will not as the dry leaf aroma is very sweet like caramel with almost a woodsy hint to it also.

The unfurled leaf is the same huge leaf from The Tea Gallery's Hundred year tree. I pressed it in a book and now I have this little memento.

I should note that I'm boiling the water in my Lins Kettle which should probably be assumed for Aged Teas and Oolongs from now on. Possibly greens also. But I did not like what it did to young sheng one bit, it took away just about all life from it.

I know much has been said about harmony but in my wuyi experience, which on the scale of things is somewhat relative, I have a hard time finding Yancha's that are more balanced. I brewed this strong becaue I wanted strength, but at the same time its pleasantly sweet, but just biting enough to not be cast aside.

Shan Shui Cup

In later infusions the sweetness and bite merge together into a mollasses like taste, and with its color and way it sticks to your mouth I'd almost think I was drinking mollasses.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chinese Kung Fu Tea Arts 2009 Da Hong Pao

This is a small store I stumbled upon, and despite my hesitation on some of their older Yancha's possibly from the same source who I believe stored them in the same room they smoked. I was actually talking with him the other day regarding his business. He runs a store through ebay, and if you are in the market for a hand painted Gaiwan he is supposedly going to start carrying them in a partnership with another seller.

But while my conversation with him did not stray far from tea, he seemed very helpful to answer any questions I had about his products, but like any vendor he's trying to make a living so everything must be taken with a grain of salt.

Onto this tea... This tea already shows great promise as its lacking the cigarette smoke aroma and coming off rather sweet and fruity smelling.

The tea itself is very candy and floral smelling, while it tastes like a mixture of brown sugar and butter.

And I am completely sure my new Lins Ceramic Kettle is altering the water I even did a bit of a side by side taste test. And I am really enjoying this oolong, but I do not know if it is the oolong or the altered water, but I'm getting next to no astringency out of this, a bit of a sharpness but no bitter and drying astringency. This second infusion was rather creamy and cooked root vegetables.

All in all I like this tea, but there is little anything spectacular about it other than its sweetness. It is a standard wuyi not quite as complex as others, but perfect if you want to drink a nice smooth and gentle tea, with some flavor.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New teapot and 2001 DHP

Zhuni and Tea

Sometimes though a puzzle comes a great idea which turns out to be not only correct but surpasses even your initial hopes. I got this pot somewhat on a whim, as I liked its shape and I was sure I could find something that would work in it. Well when it arrived I was quite shocked at its size, 60 ml never looked quite so small before. But alas I was determined to figure something out.

So Aged oolongs tend to run on the smaller size as they are either rolled or somewhat decomposed slightly. The other possible idea I had for this pot was aged puerh but upon seeing it the idea off trying to cram even a large wuyi leaf let alone a large puerh leaf into this seemed laughable.

So while I admit I did not put this pot through rigourous tests I feel sastified in the Aged oolong approach or at least aged Wuyi Yancha. As I took my 60 ml gaiwan and brewed up an infusion, and poured half into this pot and half into my current wuyi pot. Now I love my wuyi pot and its shape just screams long twisted leaves.

But this tea I tried once before and it had a strong charred flavor, almost ash like like it was stored in a chain-smokers room. But perhaps the opening up of the many tiny little packets to let it acclimate to the surroundings helped also. I left one packet unopened to run a test at a later date seeing if the acclimation makes much of a difference.

But the new pot seemed to liven up the tea, there was still the heavy base note, but it covered the base note slightly and emphasized lighter flavors that were bogged down in my wuyi pot.

So as for this tea, It is from an ebay store "Chinese Kung Fu Tea Art Store." This tea is not my favorite but I think its somewhat of an acquired taste. Its somewhat fruity, in terms of fall fruits, but a very strong charcoal note, that sort of crys out for attention, and is hard to ignore.

But the good news is it lost the sensation of being around a chain smoker after less infusions now. (Still persistent in the first 1-3).

A teapot has a personality not unlike you and me
It learns, develops and grows to limitless possibilities,
A new life is devoted to tea, but not without its trials.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blending Tea...

I've always had mixed feelings on blends, and while I do enjoy a good Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast on occasion, I often feel that the sum of the parts is of lesser quality than each individually. But this has troubling interpretations when viewing it in light of certain teas.

I had the two Jing Tea shop Shui Xians left and together they had enough for one pot full. In retrospect I should have practiced with my small gaiwan as I've been a bit out of practice with my gaiwan. But I combined the two into my yixing and brewed. It is rather dissapointing to say the least, its like the characteristics that make each one unique are fighting with each other, and they do not come together elegantly.

I understand that there are blenders out there whose sole purpose is to produce consistent results, and avoid any unharmoneous results, but my view on blends holds the same for my view with Whiskey.

A blend is never as good as its components though ultimately easier to reproduce within a very small margin of error.

What does this mean with Tea?

Well in puerh it seems all mass marketed cakes are blends, in part as it is the only way to get such a massive quantity, so these and our breakfast blends will not taste much different ten years from now than they do now, bar any major environmental or industrial changes. But the question is do you want to be tasting the exact same tea for 10 years straight over many different production runs?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gaiwan got you down?

Big hands or tiny gaiwan?

Learning how to properly handle a gaiwan is rather difficult. So here is some advice for those starting out and learning their own technique. First things first, before leaf hits the gaiwan, first pratice gripping the gaiwan and pouring while keeping a good grip on both the gaiwan and the lid.

Once you are used to handling and holding the gaiwan, move on to icecubes and water. Why icecubes and water? Well simply put its easier to get burned then frost bitten. And you just have to think in analog that if the gaiwan is very cold where you are holding it it will be very hot holding it the same way brewing tea. So pratice pouring the water out of the gaiwan using ice cubes and water in the gaiwan a few times and try and have a steady flow, but somewhat minimal, as to not allow leaves out when pouring.

This is very important so you don't break your gaiwan, after praticing with ice water, warm it up in your hands and let it warm up slowly before adding hot water, as ceramics are prone to cracking when temperatures change to rapidly.

Gaiwans take pratice and in my mind really stress the gong fu like method to tea production, as it takes much more skill to use a gaiwan properly then to use a yixing pot.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jing Tea Shop Traditional Shui Xian

I am not sure which teas I have come to think of fall more when enjoying Puerh or Yancha (Rock Tea, wuyi mountain oolongs).

But this tea I seems to give a good representation of what a Shui Xian should be like when young. Sweet root vegetables with a decent bit of roasting. Something about this reminds of of Sweet Potatoes/ Yams.

I'm going to make this a short post, buy saying when brewed gong fu everything that happened in the head to head, a few posts back, holds except stronger and more pronounced. But a rather enjoyable tea.

Enticing aromas from a simple little tea cup.
How I would desire you to be forever steaming
with seasons progression is reflected in your spirit
--Adam Yusko

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