So I had this one before in my usual western style brewing. This time I am gong-fu-ing to the best of my abilities. I do own a gaiwan, which is standing behind me on a shelf looking nice, but I can’t for the life of me use it. I’ve tried, it doesn’t work. Using it hurts. Because I spill. I have looked up techniques, and I have practised with cold water, but I can’t not spill, and I can’t not burn myself. If I have to injure myself in order to drink tea, it’s not worth it. Not even my Tan Yang is worth that.
So I’m using my regular pot and using a cup to measure out how much water to pour on the leaves so as not to accidentally western-ify it out of sheer habit. It works okay. At least I haven’t had to MacGyver any additional equipment for it.
The first time I had this, I thought it was okay. Functional for a cup of oolong and quite pleasant to taste, but nothing particularly special or memorable. There was talk from TeaSpring about notes of the bark of cassia trees, also known as Chinese cinnamon, and I could so not find any cinnamon-y notes in it whatsoever then.
This time, first cup, the aroma is full of cinnamon! Lots of cinnamon and also something that reminds me vaguely of black currant. It’s a bit like… a mulled cordial. Yeah, that’s the closest thing that springs to mind.
The flavour is also loads of cinnamon. If I didn’t know any better, I would think this actually had actual real cinnamon in it. This is a very primary note and it occurs constantly. At first when you sip, during the middle of the sip and on the swallow, and it’s strongest towards the end there. Along with this, there is a toasted, almost charcoal-y note which rather suprised me because my nose had already made the mulled cordial conclusion. And then I was surprised that I was surprised because I should have known that it would be there. I still think it has a black currant note as well. It comes out as the cup cools and towards the bottom of the cup. Sort of thick and slightly syrup-y sweet, but not tasting as if there’s any actual sweetener in here. It’s fruit-y sweet, not sugar sweet.
Second cup, the aroma is still mulled black currant cordial, but it’s sort of darker now, and deeper. The cinnamon is not quite as out there in front and the black currant-y notes feel more sure of themselves. Like they’re really the ones revealed to be running the show, where the cinnamon notes in the first steep were led to believe they were. I think this experience is caused by the fact that the toasty note from the flavour is now also coming through in the aroma. I didn’t notice that before.
The flavour is still very heavy on the cinnamon and the charcoal, and I’m not really tasting any difference from the first go. Perhaps it is a tiny bit smoother, but not by very much. It seems to have lost the black currant-y notes, mostly, which is a bit of a shame because I was rather enjoying that one. There’s a bit left in the very last few sips, but that’s it. At least it was still strong in the aroma.
Third cup, the aroma is exactly the same as the second. Maybe a little brighter, but the same elements are there and in the same balance, so I shan’t bother too much with it. The boyfriend, by the way, when asked to take a smell, didn’t identify it as cinnamon as much as he did geraniums, but he could see where I was coming from with the cinnamon.
Geraniums. Not a good thing. Geraniums are banned in this household on account of how utterly stinky we both think they are.
Oh well, he’s not the one drinking this. And hello Luna! It’s a little hard to gong-fu stuff when there’s a cat insisting on sitting on me. She doesn’t really seem to get the whole going into the kitchen all the time concept.
Oh yeah, and the flavour is the same as the second cup too, only thinner. I think the increase in time for the fourth cup should be larger than it was between the second and third.
Fourth cup, BORED NOW! I made the increase in steeping time larger this time, but the result is the same as before. The same aroma and flavour profile only a wee bit thinner.
At this point I don’t expect it will change much going forward except gradually getting thinner, so I’ll stop writing here.
I will let my points from the first time around stand where they are, because although I had a different experience with it this time, I feel I would land on the same score anyway. It was more interesting this way, but still not really something I thought was really mind-blowing. My mind was decidedly not blown by the heavy cinnamon notes which is not something I’m super-fond of in tea, but I did like the funny black currant association I got at the beginning of the session. At least I’ve found something about it that is memorable and identifiable, namely the cinnamon note.
Not surprisingly, given the fact that the tea is named after that, really.