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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Way of Tea by Aaron Fisher (Half way Through)

This book is found on Amazon along with possibly other book stores. Now I have been a fan of Aaron's work basically since I got deeper into tea and found The leaf a great online magazine with which he does quite a bit. He also has a blog which I would love to add to the feeds of other tea blogs on my side bar, but there seems to be some sort of inconsistency between how his is formatted and what google wants for it to work properly.

Mukuhara Yunomi

Now anyone familiar with Aaron's work knows he has a passion for the spiritual aspect of tea, and rather enjoys aspects of its history. This book is no different.

So far I have finished the first three chapters which is about half the book in terms of text (The second chapter is quite large). I will say I find this book quite a joy to read, but I have an interest in East Asian religions, and rather enjoy the spiritual aspect tea has, including the idea that you can come to a better understanding of yourself through your enjoyment of tea.

The historical aspects of this book are quite interesting in their own right, even if you are not into spiritual aspects tea has to offer, but perhaps this book might open you up to the idea of being receptive to the spirituality behind tea.

I feel this book is much like a religious novel, in the sense that no matter what level of understanding you are in how you can live your life by tea, and how to fully appreciate tea, you will always be able to take from it information which will help you advance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Zhi Ming Du Lao Man Er

Yet another one of the Zhi Ming Du offerings, and again I'm using my 60 ml Gaiwan and 5.7 grams of leaf. It is a rather snowy day here, and I'd like to say this tasting is being brought to you by the snow outside. As I have been so busy running around I rarely have occasion to knock myself down and write up one of these reviews.

I must say the aroma present in the rinse quite interests me. and I decided to use a small blue and white porcelain cup gifted to me in a swap of tea with a friend.

As the rinse smelled rather potent I decided to do a 5 second infusion for the first steep. The aroma definitely is potent bamboo and citrus rinds, and possibly the slightest hint of pineapple. Upon first taste I realize a bit longer wouldn't hurt, but if you like your young puerh tasty but mild about 5 seconds would be the right length. Its got that characteristic grassy astringency with a nice round burnt buttery taste full of all sorts of tropical fruits.

This is certainly a welcome tea, and this is coming form someone that has had quite enough tea today (but I'll keep on drinking ;-) ).

Today seems to be an entire economics lesson for me... in the sense that I'm being reminded how supply and demand are rarely ever wrong on most commodities. This 100g cake comes in at 10 dollars before shipping, and with a slightly stronger brewed 2nd infusion, I'm realizing its certainly better than standard Dayi fair coming in at around 10 dollars for 357g.

The big flaw I have with this is while it has strength it seems to have a strong bitter component that is not the good type of bitter I look for in puerh, this is rather drying and is just not meshing with what I want right now.

That being said so far through three infusions I rather like this tea, it certain isn't one dimensional, and has a bit of character. But most of it is in the aroma, and the taste I could take or leave, but I find that it really sticks in the mouth, a bit too well in fact. I'm taking longer breaks between infusions, and I even got a cup of water to drink from between infusions. That being said if you like the after taste, you will be in heaven cause it lasts.

This tea has a persistent quality to it that I must give it credit, though young puerh can be like this, but this tea has held constant flavor and taste for the past 6 infusions, with only minor increases in time, and honestly show no signs of relenting.

A gift of tea is a gift of profound and thoughtless mind.
With it one can see as though on top of worldly mountains,
but in truth we ascend into the zen mirror in us.
--Adam Yusko

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Retaste. Douji Shangdou Mini brick 2008

So this is my first retaste, I only have a little over half of one of the Shangdou bricks left. It has been stored in Pennsylvania most of the time but rather inconsistent storage I must say, and not sure I know all the types of storage this went through, but for the past 6 months it has been sitting in a Metal Drawer, supposed to be used for Files, and no added humidity. But I like to think the humidity and temp have been kept reasonable as it is in my room and I make most of my tea in my room (a.k.a kettle boiling and issuing steam for 1-4 hours a day typically).

Both notes can be found here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ippodo Mantoku

This is one of their lower priced Gyokuro's which seems more expensive comparatively as the bags are 100 grams not 50 grams. The Dry leaf smells delicious, everything that I have come to like about Japanese Greens. One thing Ippodo themselves say is that this tea can take warmer water than typical gyokuro.

I think that is generally the case when it comes to less expensive gyokuro, it is close and closer to Sencha in nature and abilities.

In truth I am amazed at the strength of the umami taste in this tea, it seems to be bolstered by the extra tinge of bitterness. Though aroma leaves much to be desired.

It was much the same through the second steep.

But I want to say that this tea is an umami bomb, but it seems to have given up the ghost by the 3rd infusion, I'm going to try and give it a fourth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


94 Menghai 8582

I do not usually write personal posts, but I felt the need to share this and I will try and relate it back to tea. I got accepted to Graduate school today, something I have been hoping for for quite some time, I will hopefully be working towards a Doctorate in Mathematics. So to celebrate I am having a the 1994 8582 from Hou De. Its a bit rougher than I remember, but I think aged puerh if it has the slightest hint of wet storage it is a hit to the senses unless you are used to it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wakamatsu-no-mukashi Matcha

From Tea
Another matcha from Ippodo, as they seem to be highly recommended by Matcha enthusiests, and this one comes highly recommended.

Its aroma is quite chocolaty with a hint of sea salt thrown in. The taste was great, like a slightly chocolaty cream. It was devoid of hints of bitterness, it seemed to only be smooth and velvet like.

A video of me preparing this Matcha is Available here.

From Hagi in Use

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Viewer Feedback

View this Post as a place for reader feedback.

Are there things you want me to keep doing? Do you want me to focus more on Tea or Teaware, or a specific type of tea? Should I return to an older style of tasting notes which I post my notes outlined as:


Or should I continue like I have been doing lately which mainly documents what strikes me most about the tea and those infusions.

Also do you like more random tea thought posts often labeled as musings?

So view this as the proper thread to speak up and let me know how you would like this blog to be improved.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Zhi Ming Du Ba Da Mountain

Some of these mountain series put my knowledge of Yunnan Geography to the test, and as I'm very poor in my knowlege of that area I often end up stumped, and resorting back to certain guides put together to help people like me. Some good photos were shown here.

So as promised I'm going to start posting weights. I had 5.7g of leaf in my 60 ml gaiwan. The rinse smells promising and is actually a very nice looking pale gold color. Though the overwhelming characterisic of the rinse aroma is a tobacco like smoke aroma.

The aroma is interesting, I'm having a hard time describing the main aroma as its seems like a chocolate/gelatine like aroma, something that is sweet but satisfying. But besides that there are quite a few good notes of melons and cucumbers.

Well this is interesting, though I am not sure if I can say I am thrilled with it, the initial taste is uninteresting but nothing to complain about, but the finish occurs in the front of the mouth. As in all in front of your back molars, it starts with a bitter/sourness then fades into like a sour apple, then fades into the sweetness. But mind you, I like those finish you can feel down your entire throat, you feel like you are still able to taste it right before it enters your stomach. But as for the intial taste its rather like Brussels sprouts.

In all reality there is not much wrong with this tea, it might partially be that I am not in the mood for a young puerh (I keep thinking of how its been awhile since I have had any aged puerh). Though I feel like this tea is not pulling on my heartstings, while the aroma is good, the taste seems to be not what I am looking for, though possibly not lacking for a young puerh. In fact I find it somewhat intriguing, though ultimately I am not interested. And though the many infusions I have done the finish has stayed the same as I have detailed, certainly interesting, just not what I was looking for.

It is a cold day outside, and somehow perhaps due to the nature of young puerh, I feel the warmth from this tea though its very warm in my mouth, seems to vanish the second it hits my throat.

So sorry for one of the shorter puerh reviews I have done in some time. Verdict on this tea, "Interesting, but not for me right now".

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Horai-no-mukashi matcha

So far ippodo is the only place worth naming that I have gotten matcha from, and this is the second matcha of theirs I have gotten.

This produced a nice thick froth when being whisked, and while the aroma was of nothing but bittersweet chocolate, it tasted rather like seaweed.

I honestly think matcha reviews are going to be rather short.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ippodo Nichi Getsu Sencha

Nichi Getsu Sencha
I recieved an order from Ippodo today, and while I am cutting back on sencha, I am taking the time to try Gyokuro and Matcha. Though this was the sencha I had in the order, and hopefully I can stretch this and my teas into Shincha season (3-4 months?---probably not).

The aroma of this one is very nice, its got almost a candy like quality to it. Though it would be an odd candy as its very fresh, in terms of green leafy vegetables, but I guess what gives it the candy is there is this strong sweetness permeating through the entire aroma.

Its taste is rather sweet, with a slight hint of fish, but I love how it coats the mouth and has an intense lingering sweetness.

From Hagi in Use

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