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Friday, October 30, 2009

1996 Chung Cha Huan-Yin (Yellow Label) #7432

I do not know much about this tea that avid puerh drinkers can't tell by the name and the number. I also like how Hou De on their sample bags gives a rather throurough description, though sadly under manufacturer it just says "CNNP."

To borrow a descriptor from Tim at "The Mandarin's Tea" I'd describe this tea as Powdery, a little bit talc like with a faded young taste to it. The leaves for this tea look less brown and rusty, and more of a faded greyish/green just starting to brown, and as such trusting this is a tea from 1996, I can only assume this is what a relatively dry stored 13 year old tea tastes like.

In fact, this tea is starting to grow on me. and when I think back to teas form mid-late 90's I have had and compare it to this tea, I can formulate a much clearer idea of that wet storage taste that people mention.

Basically this is the only tea from Pre-2000 that I have had that to me tastes fresh still. It isn't musty, or wet leaves, or even all that earthy. And I think a slight camphor taste is really contributing to the "freshness".

Though that being said, I like this sample for its uniqueness. But I would not buy a whole cake unless I was to further age it. While it does taste fresh, it tastes like a very powdery young cake.

Edit 5/11/10

This tea aroma is rather comforting, its fresh and clean, but rather nature like in the sense that it is slightly floral. The taste though is like a very strong young puerh though. Not mellowed like a more humid storage would provide. But this tea is quite powdery in the mouth and very drying.

This is turning rather nice with very quick steeps as is slowly gives way to softer and softer infusions. Its rather velvety in terms of mouth feel, and really sticks with you in the finish.

This was rather enjoyable tonight, and I do not know if it is the tea, but I am feeling quite like laying down for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2007 Wuyi-star Da Hong Pao Brick

I picked these up to age, hopefully close to the great success of the1997 Shui Xian brick. I should note that from the vendor I picked these up from I have not been entirely happy. If it weren't for the tea of his I tried last night and this tea being nearly air tightly packed in what looks like some sort of factory packageing, I'd almost believe that they had been stored in a place where many people smoked. Otherwise I have to just guess that the roasting was done to a such an extreme on these such that a 2 year wait on this, and more than that on the other tea from him, that for the first couple of infusions the predominate flavor is ash.

This is servering as a note for further aging. The brick is very very hard to break apart, harder than the '97 SX brick. and The cake is thicker even in the thin parts which makes it hard to break off a stick, so you sort of need to chip it from the brick.

But I think this tea has promise, and hopefully the really heavy roast deminishes. It has a rather spicy aroma to it otherwise, with hints of chocolate and malt.

I'm surprized at the durability of this tea in the later infusions already, and while the initial infusions might be very strong, the later ones are of good quality.

I look forward to tasting this again in a year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Head to Head two Jing Shui Xian offerings

Two bowls of Tea Soup,
Today I'm extra thirsty,
Worthy opponents.

I started out with 5 grams of each tea, and simply added water to the bowl, then ladled out cupfuls and tasted periodically.

Traditional Shui Xian

Slightly smaller and more chopped leaf

its brew is slightly more red in color.

Its aroma is of primarily root vegetables with citrus coming into the mix later, overall the aroma is heartier, but later on it turned almost sour.

The taste is more robust, with citrus and clove, and packs a little bit of a bite.

Lao Cong Shui Xian

Leaves are full and long.

Color is more amber.

Aroma: Starts off sweet with bits of citrus, but mainly fruits. Then just fades into general candy like aromas.

Taste is more cinnamon and nutmeg

At one point in the finish this had a slightly awkward note in the finish.

These both are very sound teas, and which I would probably grab depends on my mood. Both offer rather tasty broths, and taste somewhat similar, but the differences speak for themselves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

1996 Chung-Cha Menghai "Orange in Orange"'

This tea I picked up from Hou De fine asian art. It stems from my wish to taste more aged puer, so I ordered this and two other samples. I should note that this might be the first puerh I have had from Menghai tea factory, as I my first order was mostly from no name factories, and since I've mainly been ordering aged puerh, and have not yet ordered any classic menghai samples.


The dried aroma of this tea is pungent and earthy, with something I want to call tobacco in nature. Yet it also has a distinct sweetness to it.

And the aroma of the rinse is piquing my interest.

If that is not camphore I don't think I know what is. But surely its a wonderful aroma and I am positive now that I did not go to light on the tea.

The tea is cooling, and though its obviously had some wet storage it doesn't overly taste like it, there is a slight burnt/ashy flavor in the finish which is welcome like accidently getting a mouthful of smoke around a campfire. But wow is this finish lasting quite a long time. I must say this is a new experience.

As the infusion number climbs, I'm recognizing how this tea still has a decent amount of youth to it, and the wet storage taste is becomming more apparent. Though the finish seems to be fading away.

Though this tea has definitely made my day... it turned an average day, into a great day. I love how that is the power of tea.


Impeccable mood
On an ordinary day,
A tea is thanked.
-Adam Yusko

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Studying with tea

Nothing better than on a day with questionable weather than to sit down, with a large gaiwan full of tea, with a kettle near by, studying. Math and German are my life this semester.

These are answers to the homework my Analysis professor gave us, to help us study for the test tomorrow. And in the gaiwan the Pre-Ming Meng Ding Huang Ya, which is always surprising.

For those of you who love puerh, I have some samples coming from Hou De, which I am greatly looking forward to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hidden Deals

Occasionally you stumble upon something that is really questionable. Like I've heard stories of China towns both good and bad, and I figured an Asian market would be similar.

Several weeks ago, I went to an Asian market, which I got two teas, one of which is nothing special. But I was surprized when I opened up this box which I could only tell that it was Tie Guan yin, and upon opening it up, I was amazed to see it was a Heavy roast.

Now this tea is nothing ground breaking but if I could find a place to get it regularly I would be thrilled, as it is a great deal for 300 grams for 8 dollars.

The box has little written in English and it is Sea-Dyke brand which a search will give you many results and no vendors offering a thorough selection of their offerings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White espresso, Traditional Zheng He Bai Mu Dan

Bai Mu Dan or White peony, is a very popular white tea, and this is the first white tea of this quality I have had. But one thing I've been itching to do, after hearing my friend Wesli talk about it, is white espresso, with white tea. As I'm not in the market for buying more white tea I'm trying to ration the 25 grams of this I have, so I'm testing this out in my smallest Gaiwan.

This Traditional Zheng he Bai Mu Dan came from jing teashop, and I know I've seemed to be trying only their tea lately, but I assure you that is almost to an end.

This tea in its rugged appearence and the sweet but woodsy aroma of its dry leaf immediatly peeked my interest, so I hope I enjoy.

I must say this is rather surprising, and espresso is a good way to explain it. Its aroma is quite full of woods and wildflowers. While the taste is very woody, with spices I can only explain as barbecue like.

So what seemed to work well for this White espresso, is a half full gaiwan I'm using my very thin 60 ml one so it looses heat quickly. And from a boiling pour water into a fair cup, and wait a short while approx. 15 seconds, then pour on the tea, and let it cool to a drinkable point. But leave a root between infusions and repeat.

It is wonderful.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Anhui Huang Shan Mao Feng

I'm continuing my trek into green teas, with this Sample thrown in with My Jing Teashop order. And with these new blogging rules, I'm hoping a statement as simple as that will suffice as accepting a freebie. Though in all honesty I'm wondering if things such as that should really be declared, as it was in no means preferential treatment hopeing for a good review that this tea was given to me. It was thrown in with my order like many teashops do to encourage people to try teas outside their comfort zone.

I am also working on drinking more of the green teas that I have as I have a feeling come winter I am going to be wishing to drink them much less.

Perhaps its the extra bit of leaf I put in, as I thought the leaves were not that much compact, and the part that I didn't think I had enough for two brews in my large gaiwan. But this tea is potent. Its aroma is all to familiar and in the category of boilied green vegetables. While its flavor is sweet, and pleasingly astringent.

I should note that green teas were the reason I went for this much larger gaiwan, as I like the effect of drinking straight from the gaiwan, yet I felt with leaving a third of the gaiwan full with the root, I wasn't getting as much tea per infusion as I would have liked. So a large gaiwan was the solution.

This tea does do a great job of lasting throughout the infusions though, and is a great complement to this farmers market Zucchini bread I picked up before I started brewing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jing Tea Shop Wuyi Fo Shou

Still working through a rather large order I placed from Jing Tea Shop. So far with one exception I have been thrilled with their offerings.

I have had a Fo Shou before but that was done in a Tie Kuan Yin like fashion. This tea somehow still offeres hints of a green oolong, though in my opinion roasting has improved it. I could smell this tea all day, in its spicy and flowery goodness.

But the taste leaves something to be desired. It is buttery, and almost breadlike, like a good rye. But there is also a slightly sour note, which some people like, but I just don't see how it fits in in this tea.

I enjoyed this tea, but did not think it was on par with the other Wuyi teas from Jing tea shop I have had so far. The taste faded quite quickly both the good and the bad parts.... But the Aroma persevered and was enjoyable throughout.

As you may have noticed I have been drinking a fair few Wuyi Yancha's recently, and I hope you are enjoying it as you can expect many more. There are few tea's I find more enjoyable then Yancha.

Wuyi and the mist

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