Search the Sip Tip

Looking for something on this site? Use this search to find it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Essence of Tea 2010 Manmai

2010 EoT Manmai
I do not have an entire cake of this tea, I got this sample through the Official Teachat Tasting Initiative #5 Young Puerh.

The Dry leaves have a wonderful sweet aroma of dried fruits and leather.

I've actually had a hard time getting through the samples, due to the fact that I go through times of craving young puerh, and when I do not crave it, it often feels rather uninspiring. As I may cause a bit of uproar with this statement, but even the best young puerh teas are somewhat secondary in quality due to the very nature of production and the variety of tea plants growing in Yunnan. I mean think about it, the bitterness in puerh, which often gets praised, would be considered a mortal flaw in Long Jing or just about any other Chinese Green tea.

That being said this tea has a pleasing color, with a nice mellow aroma of straw and wildflowers. But as I was saying the taste has a distinct bitterness which is praise worthy in young puerh, and the flavors lying beneath are strong tropical flavors (which in my theory would probably taste drastically different if the bitterness was not there).

I think I will reiterate here what I said in the Teachat post.... While this tea is a definite cut above the big factory Puerhs, today I can not identify anything of particular note, which screams out and attracts me to this cake.
2010 EoT Manmai color
That being said it while this is not a positive mark for this tea as a drink now tea. If you subscribe to the belief that a very bitter cake with a good bit of underlying complexity makes for a puerh that will age wonderfully. Then this tea would be a great tea to check out in ten or more years.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lazy Tea

What I have been worrying about has happened, my graduate studies are taking up so much time, that I really have to make time for a good session of tea. the biggest problem, is I still want to keep drinking tea as often as I was previously. This has lead to what I am calling "Lazy Tea."

Its rather funny that my "lazy tea" is basically western style brewed tea, though often a Chinese tea brewed in a Japanese glazed Kyusu. Honestly I feel it is what works best for getting work done, while still enjoying tea.

It wasn't until I started doing this, that I realized this would probably be the ideal set up for me, should I ever make tea in an office type setting.

Though I would be interested in hearing what other people have for Office set ups? I honestly would personally like to stay away from a Gaiwan as I feel they can be too easily tipped.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2009 Kim Jong Yeol Sejak

09 KJY Sejak

This tea is from Dao tea, and was acquired as part of the Sampler arranged by Matt over at Mattchas blog. I am trying to decide if my Korean tea drinking habits will be changing a great deal as we head into fall. As Korean greens are certainly unique in the sense that they have heartier flavors than most Chinese green teas, but they still have the cooling effect green teas are known for.

The dry leaf aromas of this this tea are lavender and several other aromatic aromas.

The first infusion had a nice light and fresh aroma, with a taste of hearty vegetables, but actually comes across as slightly over powering with a mildly bitter and drying finish.

The second infusion was so much better with hints of melon in both aroma and taste. A rather notable occurrence is a lemon like flavor and a citrus rind finish.

The tea remained incredibly drinkable and enjoyable for many more infusions.

09 KJY Sejak Color

Summer reminder
Tea, weather, and shining sun
Soon just memories.

--Adam Yusko

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2009 Kim Shin Ho Jungjak

09 KSH Jungjak

Granted I still am a bit of a neophyte when it comes to Korean tea's, but I believe it was Matt from Mattcha's blog that said you should not compare Ujeon to Sejak to Jungjak, even though they are all green teas, and often picked from similar areas if not the same plants (still not sure on that). Simply because they are vastly different, and while I have only tried 1 Ujeon, and a few Sejaks and a few Jungjaks, it seems almost like comparing a Long Jing to a Bi Lou Chun to a Tai Ping Hou Kui, as while they are all green teas, they can very well offer vastly different flavors.

This tea made it 5 infusions which is somewhat typical for Japanese and Korean Green teas for me, though I feel I could usually push the Korean greens more infusions ( I often do for premium teas).

09 KSH Jungjak Color

The color is nice and robust, and it certainly offers a flavor profile to match.

Early infusions start out with a wealth of beans on the aroma and tastebuds, mixed with hints of leafy vegetables, finishing off with a nice sweetness.

As the infusions go on the beans fade, and I started to notice what I could only describe as Bok Choi and lettuce.

Quite a nice tea, and though sadly I'm going to have to be putting away the green teas soon as the weather is starting to get a lot cooler.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dao Tea Balhyochas

For reading on Balhyocha and what exactly it is / may be I highly suggest checking out the two part series created by Matt over at Mattcha's Blog, part 1 part 2.

These teas were part of the sampler arranged by Matt and the owner of Dao tea, and it has been rather amazing getting to try all of these, though I still have several more to try.

2009 Kim Jong Yeol Balhyocha.

2009 KJY Balhyocha
This tea was loaded with lots of malt aroma, with a good bit of honey. It honestly has been awhile since I've had a any hong cha, which is really what this reminds me of. As its got that characteristic aroma which I want to describe as a malt and fruits sort of mixed together.

That being said I enjoyed this tea, but somehow I felt like it was highly restrained. so I guess I am going to agree with Brett at the Tea Goober on his view on this tea. Especially in regards to the fact that it seemed to have lost the kick it probably had when fresher.

2009 KJY Balhyocha Color

2009(2010?) Kim Shin Ho Balhyocha
2009 KSH Balhycha
I am unsure of the year, as the packet it came in had the year 2009 on it, but on the letter that came with the samples it lists the year for this one as 2010.

Aroma after rinse: Hints of oak, malt and raspberries.

This tea was full of malt, and raspberries, all throughout, with a nice earthy sweetness in the finish.

2009 KSH Balhyocha Color
This tea was much like the other one, and again it was enjoyable.

I am not sure how I can give a completely unbiased opinion of these two teas. As while they were enjoyable, they seemed to be enjoyable in the sense that they are unlike anything I have regularly. But that being said there is a reason I do not drink much hong cha, simply because the combination of flavors that occur do not really wow me, personally.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Mandarins Tea Room 2006 Yiwu

2006 Mandrin Tea Room Yiwu

I have only tried one Yiwu tea prior to this, and after trying this one, I have decided I am rather fond of Yiwu teas, though I still have no clue what a young one tastes like as the only two I have tried are at least 4 years old.

This tea has been a major lesson in the effects even a few degrees in water temperature can make. This tea was acquired as a sample through a Teachat Tasting Initiative on Young Puerh. It included enough to give me two tries at this tea. The first was with water in my Lins kettle boiled on the stove, and reboiled every 10-15 minutes until the session was over. But Tim insisted when I had postive remarks but not spectacular ones that this tea really needs really hot water, just off boil for each infusion. Something I find no longer feasible with my Lins kettle solely because I am now operating without an Electric hot plate as in the past 2-3 months I have had two of them break on me, and my current set up is more friendly to the option of boiling on the stove.

But for this I took out my old trust electric kettle, reboiling just prior to each infusion. I also amped up a little bit the Leaf to water ratio doing 4.9 grams to 60 ml of water.

2006 Mandrin Tea Room Yiwu color

The first infusion was full of wonderful aromas such as camphor and wood, mixed with a plethora of herbs. It had a slightly bitter but incredibly potent blend of herbs with a nice touch of camphor.

The second infusion was lighter almost borderline floral, and reminded me of an early fall in the woods, with the taste becoming slightly more spicy and the sweetness starts to come out.

Sadly I stopped taking notes after that, as I was fully immersed in the tea.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hou De 2009 Spring Zhen-Yen Handcrafted Da Hong Pao

Spring 2009 Hou De DHP

This tea is a real treat as its not often you can order Wuyi claiming to be from the Scenic Area of Wuyi-shan and believe it. It says the cultivar is Bei Dou #1 which according to Toki over at the Mandarins Tea Room is a very old cultivar.

This has the best dry leaf smell of any Wuyi I have smelled in quite some time. Raisins, cinnamon and prunes assault my nose in the nicest way possible.

Spring 2009 Hou De DHP Color

The color is rather amazing, its a weird mix of orange, and brown and red, making it not quite the color of a moderately aged puerh, but it is so incredibly dark compared to the Wuyi's I have been having lately.

The aroma is so incredibly sweet, like all sorts of roasted vegetable goodness, (think Cauliflower, parsnip, and the likes roasted in the oven perfectly). I had been forgeting why I liked Wuyi so much in the past, and with this I am remembering quite vividly and fondly as to what a good Yancha can be like. Its got a good sweetness with lots of baking spices and hints of baked apples, and all sorts of wonderful fall goodness.

The wind rushes past,
While countless leaves colors turn.
Wuyi is now King.

--Adam Yusko.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Trekker Jungjak

TeaTrekker JungJak

So the real excitement of today was new Korean teaware, from the truly unique and wonderful artist Seong-il. I was so excited I decided to open up a bag of Korean tea, that being the Tea Trekkers Jungjak. I must say these teas are quite a treat. I am writing this review from memory because I really wished to be taken into the tea experience today, especially with my new teaware.

I have been told by Toki at The Mandarins Tea that if you quickly rinse the green tea with near boiling water it will improve the tea experience by better allowing the tea oils to be released. I must say upon pouring off that "rinse" while waiting for the water to cool to proper temp for the first steep, the aroma pouring out of the little teapot from these leaves was absolutely unbelievable. It was rather pine like and incredibly potent. It served to both relax me and make me uneasy, uneasy due to a combination of wanting to drink the tea and an empty stomach.

Seong-il Wood Fired Teapot (2)

So here is the wood fired teapot, that I got today. Cut off in the bottom right corner is a little bit of a lid rest, something that I'm already unsure how I got by without as it is so enjoyable just to have there and add a bit of distinction to the set up.

Teatrekker JungJak color

These are Shino cups and are rather smaller than I thought they would be, but I am starting to become a bit of a Shino fan, or perhaps I am a fan of nearly all teaware!

Somehow I found the aroma of the actual infusion lacking, sure it was incredibly clean and fresh, but no major forthright and robust aroma. But the flavor comes across with a decent bit of pine and if I hadn't been reading so many reviews by Matt, I do not think I would have noticed this, but there is a decent bean type of flavor in there also. In the later infusions it becomes almost minty and quite cooling.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dao Tea 2009 Kim Shin Ho Sejak

09 Kim Shin Ho Sejak
This was receieved as a sample as part of a wonderful tea tasting opportunity hosted by Matt over at Mattcha's Blog. I had been very curious to Try Dao Tea's offerings as they seem to offer the largest selection of Korean teas sold by a Western vendor outside of Hankook (really stretching the definition of Western vendor, but they have an Office/warehouse/distribution center in California). I must say that this tea was a surprise, as I was not sure how well a Green tea could store for over a year, and I must say if this was the 2009 Version I eagerly await the 2010 version which I believe was included in the generous number of samples.

The Dry leaf appearance is small twisted leaves with a good amount of what I believe to be buds, with its aroma fresh and pine like with hints of grass and unidentifiable flowers.

09 Kim Shin ho Sejak Color

Quick rinse with boiling water (don't even bother to fill the pot up all the way just cover the leaves) and immediately pour off. The rinse had wonderful aromas of Pine, corn and an unidentifiable berry (goose berry, red current,...).

The infusions in general have a rather light but incredibly pleasant aroma which just teases the senses. The first infusions taste was rather potent, though in no way over powering or overbearing, though I had a really hard time identifying the taste, I might have to go with a bean like taste (now that Matt has me looking for it in teas, I am noticing it more and more and more). But possibly slight hints of a chocolate and hazelnuts?

The second infusion was significantly lighter on the taste profile, and reminded me of nice fresh leafy vegetables. In the third infusion somehow I was getting a citrus profile.

09 Kim Shin Ho Sejak Spent Leaves

This tea had a powerful Mellowing/ Depressing Qi that struck me after the 3rd infusion, and in general was incredibly cooling and refreshing. I went for 8 infusions with this tea before I had to give up, it probably could have went a bit more, but after 8 infusions I had a stomach about to burst with tea.

Korean Set 2

Admire the teaware,
sniff the venerable leaf,
drink up its goodness.

--Adam Yusko

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yuuki-cha OkuYutaka

Okuyutaka leaf

So classes start today, and I hope now that I develop a routine. As I am writing this Thursday before I think the fact that I am moved in with no real routine, has been somewhat detrimental to my tea drinking habits. It does not really make much sense but it seems with so much time available to me to have tea, I find myself always putting it off for later. So my tea drinking habits have been pushed further and further into the evening.

The dry leaf has an amazingly pine like aroma, which when infused somehow comes across as incredibly cereal like. Alright I have been known to give some wacky tasting notes in the past, but somehow the aroma of this tea reminds me of the aroma of Lucky Charms. But basically breaking it down, its a sweet aroma with a nice grainy cereal undertone.

The taste is remarkably clean and only slightly vegetal.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1997 Menghai Shui Lan Yin 7542 Chi Tsi Beeng

97Menghai Shui Lin Yin 7542 leaves

So I ordered a sample of this from Hou de, simply because I am always willing to try and educate myself on Aged Puerh. Its quite stormy here today which is nice as its been awhile without rain.

I've been drinking so many green teas lately, I forgot how beautiful a nice steaming cup of a darkish colored tea could look. And this is quite clear with a nice reddish hue to it. Smelling the cup full of tea really brings me back into what amazing aged puerh can be like, even though this is only about 13 years old its got the nice minty camphor aroma, with a lot of hints of lighter fruits mostly berries.

The taste though is remarkably clean, its got everything I'm looking for but not too much of anything. And surprisingly as aged puerh runs a real risk of producing a cup that is so incredibly earthy that to me it can be off putting.

97 Menghai Shui Lin Yin 7542 Color

Brewing it a little stronger and certain flavors do rise to the front, mostly the slightly minty and earthy camphor, but for the most part the taste comes across as incredibly clean.

I must say that I do not typically order from Hou de, but while their prices are high they typically offer some incredibly solid tea. Though I really do not know why as shipping from Texas to here is rather inexpensive compared to from Asia.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Outdoor Tea

This post is for the Association of Tea Bloggers September Blog Carnival, hosted by Brett at Black Dragon Tea Bar. The focus of Septembers post is, about Tea Outside I guess a sort of reminiscent of the summer past, and a reminder that there will hopefully be a few good days this fall to have tea outside.

I love to have tea outside whenever I can. While we were really supposed to write about a memorable experience drinking tea outside, I am already a bit tapped out on that as I wrote an article for Tching about how Scenery can make the Cup which is about a truly horrible cup of tea that is one of my most memorable and remembered quite fondly, simply because I was enjoying it on a Patio in Venice, Italy.

So I decided to reflect a little bit about enjoying tea outside, and my dream outdoor tea experience.

Sayamakaori Color

This picture taken while I was enjoying tea outside, and something about the natural sounds and feel of the breeze of being outside is so much more enjoyable.

Though I have aspirations to hopefully in my life undertake what I consider the "ultimate" outdoor tea experience, it involves hiking with teaware up a mountain to a fresh mountain spring, and enjoying tea right there on the mountain side, hopefully off the beaten path, so it is just me and my company enjoying a truly unique experience.

Bottom Banner