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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Impossible Questions

From Chinese Ceramics

From Chinese Ceramics

This new baby arrived today, and I feel yixing force you to treat them unlike just about any other type of teaware. While I admit I got this in hopes of using it as an additional Wuyi Yancha teapot. I am confronted with a problem quite unlike any I have yet come against when pairing tea and teapot.

I have had it occure that after going through the steps to ready a pot, I brew up the first batch and it just tastes off, normally in a bad way. But the baffling part of this session is, I prepared the pot as normal. While people sometimes say you do not need to do this, I feel it always helps push the pot along slightly, I even threw in a few pinches of leaves from the 3 wuyi oolongs I have open, during the boiling process.

So the pot was ready. so I put the kettle on to boil, and add tea leaves... the Andao Da Hong Pao -- and well I'm almost done with the session, and even though I remember the bag I took the tea from, and the leaves in the pot look right, I still do not believe I am drinking a yancha. What I had come to think a wuyi Yancha should taste like, is turned almost upside down.

What always seemed to be a tea that felt like fall and winter, a body warming, spicy dark tea, that has all sorts of hearty factors too it, now tastes light and refreshing, a prevalent citrus note. Even the mouth feel which I love on this tea, for its gripping ability, is reduced to a slight sharpness, but overall smooth and enjoyable.

So here are my impossible questions to answer at this point, but I will have to address them in due time:

Is this due to the pot being new, and will it with use come to be reflective of how I always viewed classic wuyi oolongs?

Is this pot ultimately a wrong choice for Wuyi even though it makes great albeit completely different tasting Yancha?

Could this be similar to how my other Yancha pot tasted when I first started using it, and it just changed so subtly over its many many uses that I just do not remember?

*** EDIT***

I spent time working with Toki over at the Mandarins Tea room, as he is possibly the person I can reach that is the most knowledgeable about yixing tea pots.

He had me run an interesting test, which involved taking a neutral gaiwan, my old yixing pot, and this new one, by pouring boiling water into each of them then drinking and comparing the water that was in them. and taking note of the taste.

The my old yancha pot the Zini pot had a deep base note, though still tasted fresh and clean, the gaiwan was just fresh and clean, but this new pot also had a brightness to it.

So after detailing for Toki exactly everything I knew about this pot, and did in its preparation.

He feels that I may have actually been tasting the true nature of the tea, and that perhaps my old pot rounded out and subdued the flavors a bit more.

He said that if I give it a week or so of consistent use I should start to get some great flavors coming out of the tea with this pot.

I think he is really on to something, as I brewed up some aged DHP that is 9 years old or so, and it actually tasted the best it ever has with this yixing.
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