95 Tasting Notes
1/21/14 Pot for the morning. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. Brews a dark red/mahogany, with a rich heavy scent. I drink this with milk, lightly sweetened. The taste is a brisk comforting tea-ish taste, with smoky tones. If a Red Rose teabag could reincarnate 500 times, become a bodhisattva, and achieve nirvana, this it what it would taste like when you finally brewed it. One of my favorite teas.
1/20/14 Evening pot. 3g/6oz/190F/3min. This finishes off my sample of this. The tea brews a pellucid pale gold green, with a heady aroma of clover honey and spice. It is light in the mouth, smooth and with an astringency that fades as the tea cools. The changes in the taste as the temperature changed were lovely, from a bright ping in the first sips to a sweet dryness in the last.
1/20/14 Afternoon cuppa. 3g/6oz/212F/5min after a wash. The aroma is nice, earthy and stabley. Very dark in the cup. The taste is strong, a little bitter. It has the enjoyable woody taste I expect from this tea. I’m relieved – I hadn’t drunk this in a few years, and after the unpleasant brew I got from the yixing I was worried the tea had gone off.
Caveats – I’m not experienced with pu-erh teas at all and have very little context for these tastes and qualities.
1/20/14 Midday tea. 3g/6oz/175F First steep – 2 minutes. Very much the same tea as the pot tasting. 2nd steep – 2 minutes. The aroma and color in cup are lighter, but the flavor is still bright. A touch more astringent. The tastes don’t hang on the palate as long. 3rd steep – 3 minutes. This infusion is less golden in the cup, more a ‘summers first green is gold’ shade. The aroma is more vegetal and astringent. The taste has smoothed out and lightened a lot. This might be the last steep the leaves can support. 4th steep – 3min30sec. Both the tea aroma and color are very light now. The brew feels much lighter on the tongue, and the primary taste is a light astringent tone. I’m not going to try for a 5th steep.
A nice progression all in all.
1/19/14 First morning tea for stuffy nose. 3 tsp tea, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbs sugar, 1 quarter of fresh ginger, 8 oz boiling water. Sugar, milk and ginger in the mug first, boiling water poured over, steeped until I get around to drinking it, but never fewer then five minutes.
Caveats – my single cup is never as good as when Uncle Lakhi makes the big pot of it on the stove whenever we get together.
1/18/14 Late evening yixing practice. 3g/6oz/212F/5min after a 200F wash.
Disappointing, but I’m not surprised. The tea itself is pretty old – from 2005, and the teapot is very new. It’s my first yixing style pot, and this is the first real brew I’ve done in it, so I’ve got no clue how it brews. For this brew I followed the brewing directions on the tin, which last time I drank this tea (sometime last spring) made a decent cuppa brewed English style. This brewing made a bitterish tea that tasted primarily of stale hay and dirt. Tomorrow I’ll brew a cup with my usual technique so I can evaluate the tea itself, and decide if I want to keep using it with the pot.
1/17/14 Before bed cuppa. 2tsp/12oz/212F/15min. Brewed before bed to help me sleep. Nothing special – light minty aroma, light minty/chamomile taste. More a medicinal tea then a drinking tea. It was a gift, and I am enjoying it, but nothing I’ll seek out for the future.