84 Tasting Notes
2/8/14 Sipdown. 3g/60z/212F/3min. This is the first CTC tea I can remember having loose, though I’ve seen plenty in tea bag dissections. It’s made a good pot of tea, properly brisk, pleasantly colored, good scent. But the physical tea is a little disturbing to me. It looks like very fine mulch, and when I picked out a bit of the steeped leaf to examine, it sort of smeared away into just a kind of smudge of mud on my finger tip.
Pros — 3 minute steep time made an wicked strong liquor. This tea would be great for iced tea, for cooking, for anytime an intense traditional English style black tea flavour is wanted. It’s a good cup of tea.
Cons – mulch.
Side note – 15g is the perfect sample amount for me. It’s exactly the right amount for one pots worth western brewed, and one gaiwan session.
2/7/14 I’m experimenting with several different things with this tisane, so this tasting note is just the beginning. My sample arrived basically powdered, which made figuring out how to use it difficult, because all the references I’ve found tell me to use a number of flowers. I picked out the six largest remaining fragments, and put those into my rice cooker to make blue rice with – that’s still cooking.
I weighed the remaining powder – it came to five grams on my little scale, which I am guess is about 10-20 flowers. I put it all into a paper filter bag, and put it in my four cup measuring cup, and brewed it with boiling water for 3 minutes. It is a rich opaque dark blue liquid, with a light beany aroma and taste. I’m sipping a cup hot now, and have put the rest in the fridge to try iced. I’ll also experiment with adding some mandarin juice to it — it’s supposed to turn purple when an acid is added! Lime would be traditional, but I only have mandarins in the house.
I’ll also try a second steeping of my bag, and see how that brews.
So far, a fun and pleasant drink.
2/6/14 Evening gaiwan. 3g/100ml gaiwan/212F Washed. This is a heavy tea – 3g barely covered the bottom of the gaiwan, but after three steeps has exploded to fill it almost completely, and is still pretty tightly curled up on itself. I’ll be able to drink this all night.
The tea itself is confusing. It’s labeled gunpowder pearl green, but it is drinking like a tieguanyin. Same tight little knots of leaves, same toasty florals. This was a gift from someone from a small local tea place out in Washington state, and I really wonder if it’s correctly labeled. I like it. I’m just not sure what it is.
2/6/14 Evening gaiwan. 3g/100ml gaiwan/212F This tea didn’t show well brewed gongfu style. The leaf is inconsistently sized, so I kept getting little tea particles in my cup. Happily, it’s a seven gram sample, so I have the perfect amount to brew to my western standard another time! Despite the flaws imposed by the brewing technique I chose, this had a pleasant smooth aroma and taste, and was full of of wisps of flavor that I think will show better with a different brewing technique.
2/6/14 Evening cup. 2 teabags/12oz/180F/3min. Some days, all you want to do is throw a bag on a string into a cup of water and microwave it. This is a peach flavored tea for those days. I get the peach, but not the cobbler. It probably has hibiscus in it. At this moment on this day, it’s a good cup of tea.
caveats: other people on other days in other moments may not show this tea well.
2/6/14 Morning pot. 3g/6oz/212F/3min. Pretty sure the descriptor ‘brassy’ was invented for this tea. It is bright and brassy, the way I imagine a brass bedknob would taste if it tasted like tea instead of brass. Don’t ask how I know what brass bedknobs taste like. This tea is good brisk breakfast blend, nice taken straight, and maudlin-makingly good with milk for those of us with deep “English Breakfast Blend” yearnings. If your gran ever served you milk toast made with tea/milk, she’d have used this tea to make it.
caveats: again, a tea in which I may taste more sentiment than Camellia.
2/5/14 Evening pot. 3g/6oz/200F/5min. Oh Yunnan Gold, how I love thee. Your beautiful tippy golden leaves, your aromatic raisin wineyness. Your ruby /mahagony liquor. How you settle in with a sugar cube. I dialed back the temperature slightly for this brewing, and upped the steeping time. I got a great straightforward black tea, tannic and astringent enough to be a good mouthful without being unpleasant. Excellent with a sugar cube.
caveats: Yunnan Gold was the first tea I loved and my emotions may be a bit involved in this tasting note.
2/3/14 An evening tea. 3g/100ml gaiwan/212F Washed. Raisinets. The scent of this tea in the dry leaf and the wet is a delicious chocolatey raisiny goodness that reminds me of raisinets. The cup is rich and a touch bitter – with a sugar cube in the bottom of the cup this tea is delicious. A drop of milk would send it into dessert territory. An excellent example of the sweet side of Yunnan blacks. The leaf held well through five steeps, and could probably support more.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins
2/3/14 A tasting of the pu-erhs in my house. I’ve been drinking some very nice pu-erhs at tea club on Wednesdays, and decided that today I’d compare the pu-erhs in my cupboard. I’m still very in-experienced with this style of tea, and thought it would fun to practice using my gaiwan and brewing gongfu style. The standard was straight forward – 3g of tea in my 100ml gaiwan, washed, and then steeped twice. Water at or just off the boil from my hot pot.
In order of tasting I had,
Adagio’s Pu-erh Poe. http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/221527#comments This tea made me sad that I had to steep and taste a second cup of it.
Teavana’s Yunnan Golden Pu-erh, a blend of pu-erh and Yunnan black. http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/221531#comments I found this heavily weighted to the Yunnan.
Adagio’s Pu-erh Dante http://steepster.com/AnnaEA/posts/221535#comments
Dante showed well in the tasting, though it may have an unfair advantage due to being a bit aged.
2/3/14 3rd and last of a pu-erh flight. 3g/100ml gaiwan/212F Washed. This tea showed well in the gaiwan, and was easily my favorite tea in this tasting. The dry leaf had a pleasant earthy / barny aroma, the wet leaf had the same nice scent but stronger, and the brewed tea carried the same flavors in an enjoyable very earthen tasting way. IT was very nice to taste this tea in context with other pu-erhs. I’m coming to think that Dante is a good classic beginner’s pu-erh. I sort of think I might order a sample of it, to see how the (presumably) younger Dante fresh from the shop would compare to my current several years old tin, which is (presumably) better for having some age on it.