103 Tasting Notes
2/19/2015 Evening gaiwan
I’m using a new tea set up, so decided to drink an old favorite tonight. I have a glass gaiwan I’m using for the first time, and I recently picked up a small cast iron tea pot and warmer stand. So….. light candle, preheat cast iron with tap water, fill with fresh boiled water from my kettle. Proceed to make and drink tea until water runs out or seems too cold. Refill from fresh boil in the kettle as desired.
A tea light isn’t quite enough heat though – it holds the water in the cast iron at only about 130F. I think I’ll pull out my alcohol stove here in the next day or two, and see how that works.
The tea, of course, is yummy. There’s less upfront tang and bitter then I noted when I first tasted this last year. More smoke and leathery honey notes.
2/10/2015 tea of the day while daying some tea/12oz mug/ boilingish water.
For my 100th tasting note, I have gone ultra informal. I threw about two decent pinches of this tea into the bottom of my favorite mug, and poured boiling or just boiled or about to boil water on it throughout the day while I did all my various things. Two nice strong brews, the third more mellow, not bitter but a nice astringency showing up in later steeps.
It was delicious. A very filling mouth feel and rich malty minerally toasted flavours were the perfect drink for a long cold winter day, and strong enough to stand up to salt cod cakes for dinner. I put most of my teas through this treatment, and very few stand up to it and show off their good side – this is one of them. Such teas almost invariable show beautifully in more careful brews.
2/6/2015 mid day cuppa 3 teabags/12oz/190F/too long.
I always like the aroma of this tea – it’s nice and ‘strong tea’ish with a nice rosehip/hibiscus thing. Sorrowfully, I way over steeped this cup, and it’s hella bitter. The tea is also showing it’s age (I’m sipping it down cause it’s over a year old, bad for teabags) and has a note of cardboard.
I’m not rating it because I know that the flaws in my cup today are flaws in my storage and brewing, not in this tea.
2/5/2014 mid day cuppa 12oz/180F/2 teabags.
Really would have been better with three teabags, but these were the last two, so, two. Pleasant light floral from the heather blends nicely with the brisk base black tea. Not a tea I’ll buy again, but definitely one I would pick over others if I saw it on a breakfast buffet. A nice, if weak, cup of tea.
2/3/2014 gaiwan all day tea 5g/small gaiwan/boiling or near water.
Lovely generous sample size – 25g! That gives me plenty of leeway to play with this tea in my wee gaiwan. Today was a straightforward ‘brew occasionally on and off through the day after rinsing once’. I’m on the sixth infusion, and I think I’ll still be drinking this tea tomorrow. I’m enjoying it tremendously.
The aroma of the dry leaf is non descript – the wet leaf is full of peach and dried fruit deepening to a peach schnapps and citrus aroma as the day goes on.
The liquor is a pellucid pale gold – a ‘summers first green is gold’ kind of color. In the mouth the first thing I taste is a kind of searing slightly smoky clear bitter, which captures the mouths full attention hard and fast and then does a neat kind of transformation into a dried peach leather tingly sweetness.
2/2/2015 2bags/10oz/212F/2min Pretty standard english breakfast tea, given to me for Xmas by my brother-in-law. Brewed weak, so for the next mug I’ll use three tea bags. With a bit of milk and sugar, an acceptable builders tea. If I bought this for myself (and I might) it would be for the darling wee little tins it came in, not the tea.
The secret to getting a good cuppa out of bagged tea is more tea, shorter steep time.
1/24/2015 10g/12oz/212F/15sec This is a lovely tea, generously shared with me by gschuschke. I’m still figuring out the best brewing params for it, because the tea I am getting in the cup just doesn’t feel like the best tea that is in this leaf. It’s a Dan Cong and me thing – I just can’t seem to coax out their best features.
Happily with this gift, I have enough leaf to experiment with a variety of brewing techniques.
This cup is a lovely light gold, with a creamy vegetal/honey aroma and taste. Like fresh picked spring peas pureed with a bit of cream and drop of honey.
1/23/2015 The last 3g in my tiny water chestnut “yixing”. A year later, this is still one of the best teas I have ever had the pleasure to drink. Peaches and marble and a delicate toastiness. I drink the last of it today with joy and a little sadness.