Some note in the far far back of this tea reminds me of…Christmas. It kind of fades in and out and I keep losing and trying to find it again. But I think I’ve nailed it… worcestershire sauce. That must sound really strange, but the only time we ever made worcestershire-laden chex mix was during Christmas in my household; that’s what I’m reminded of.
I’m starting to understand why people might spend huge amounts of money on fancy yixing pots. Aside from the whole seasoning and making tea better over time thing, I hear they retain heat wonderfully, and with this tea, as well as the last pu’er I tried, I realized that my favorite flavors are best teased out on the first steeping immediately after the water is reboiled.
It’s funny, because I generally prefer to brew most teas at a lower than suggested temp. A lot of this is probably because I spent an extensive amount of my tea-life drinking Japanese greens, which are so easily destroyed by too-hot water. That, and I have an higher-than-normal aversion to astringency/dryness, which hotter water tends to bring out in most teas. But as I’m trying more sorts of pu’er, I’m learning how wonderful higher temps can be in pulling out those shy, complex flavors.
Right now my water setup isn’t exactly ideal— my water is boiled in my fancy electric water heater in the bathroom, then goes from that into a preheated thermos which I take to the desk for my tea session. Meaning the first pour is maybe just under 200 degrees (the best steeping in the case of this tea), and as the thermos sits there losing heat, the water gets progressively cooler until it’s empty and I have to go refill it with freshly boiled water again. I can’t exactly haul my water heater out to my desk… and I’d just rather not have tea sessions in my bathroom. I look forward to the day that I have a kitchen to cook (and make tea) in.
I have a confession to make though, I specifically brewed up a sheng today because I’ve noticed that the last several shengs I’ve tried have been very effective in eliciting a tea-high euphoria, and I have been under so much stress that I guess I wanted something a little more than a standard relaxing session. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t floored either— the euphoria is pretty manageable. I think it’s more effective on an empty stomach.
I may be a bit of an addict. Over the past several days my gaiwan and little fish cup haven’t left my desk; I only dump out old leaves to replace them with new ones. Meh. I need to clean out my tea inventory anyway; that way I’ll feel less guilty when I go to order new tea!