107 Tasting Notes
This is my collection of English and Chinese tea wares. The two large white china pots are my basic brew set – I brew in the middle pot and pour off the tea into the second pot to serve. 24oz brews, 12g of tea per brew.The small pot with the painting on it and mis-matched lid is Chinese and my personal treasure – a gift to me from my mother which was a gift to her from a Chinese student who lived with us when I was a child in the ’70s. Hidden behind it is my ingenuiTea from Adagio – usually I will brew in the ingenuiTea and serve from my Chinese. 12oz brews, 6g tea.
In front are my new toys – the gaiwan which just arrived today, and two yixing style pots I picked up in the past month. The one is for pu-erhs, and the water chestnut is for oolongs.
1/25/14 Tea with dasHusband on a snowy day. 5g in 6oz yixing. Gongfu brewing. I’m pausing after the sixth steep to note this. I may do some more infusions or not – I just want lunch now instead of more tea at the moment. The leaves could definitely support it – still very crisp bodied and not fully unfurled. I’m fighting with the pot a bit on that count – it is a 6oz, but it’s tall and pours slowly, so I think in the future I may use less tea in it and a scanter pour of water.
Very nice progression, but drinking tea with dH is a little distracting, so I haven’t got good tasting notes today. I was really struck by the sweetness of the first infusions. Also really interesting was noting how the boiledness of the water affected the taste — we noticed a flatness creeping into the 5th infusion, and I added fresh cold water to the pot for the next boil, and the 6th infusion was much perkier. Having my little electric boiler at the table with us is awesome for this brewing style.
1/25/14 Morning pot to fend of a chilly busy day. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. Fantastic aroma of roses both from the dry leaf and only slightly subdued in the brew. Drinking this first thing in the morning is giving it short shrift. Slightly sweetened with sugar, the rose flavors are present, but faded. More ‘old sachet’ then ‘blooming in June’. This would be largely the fault of the age of the tea – this was packed for me in ‘10. It’s been stored well sealed in my dark cool cupboard. The age detectable, but in a pleasant way. A summer afternoon in the attic above the rose garden kind of way.
1/24/14 Afternoon cuppa. 3g/6oz/212F/4min. First impressions. Lovely pepper scented leaf in the bag, brewed a nice gold/dark amber. Not really a fair tasting for this tea though – I’m in a lousy mood, feeling physically whomped, and just can’t give this the attention and thought it deserves.
Even with all that — it’s a very nice cuppa, is helping lift my mood, and I definitely look forward to tasting it again in a few days, and trying out the different brew styles with it.
1/23/14 Evening pot. 3g/6oz/180F/3min. First impressions. A soft vegetal aroma , and pale translucent brew. Bitterness. Almost a hoppy character. Heavy in the mouth. Good. I like it a lot. A lasting finish. The opened leaves are velvety looking. I want to try brewing this gongfu style when my gaiwan arrives.
1/23/14 Afternoon pot. 3g/6oz/212F/5min. Revisiting an old favorite after a few years. The aroma of the tea in the bag is as lovely as I remember – bright and winey, currant and raisin scents. The scent of the brew is similiar, with a note of creaminess I don’t remember. This brew is stronger then I recall, more upfrontly bitter and astringent, and darker in the cup. The recommended measure of the tea – 1 heaping tsp – weighed 2.15g, so perhaps it’s overleafed at 3g/6oz. I’ll experiment with that another day. Right now, I’ll just enjoy getting back together with this tea.
1/21/14 PM Decaf. This is a mixed brew – the Tea Forte bag for the flavour, and a bag of Bigelow decaf green tea to add body and let me brew a large mug. The predominant aroma is of cinnamon with dried apple undertones. The cinnamon and apple carry well into the tea, and the rooibos works well them. As I suspected, the Harvest Apple tea is more then a match for the green tea, making the mixed brew a great way to extend this tea. I sweetened this with honey.
Caveats: the Tea Forte tea bag is so utterly kawaii that I doubt my judgment of this tea can be trusted. I am crushed by the cute.
1/21/14 Afternoon tea while cleaning my kitchen. 3g/6oz/190F/4min. First impressions. This tea is befuddling me. It brewed dark, and had an aroma, and trying to find the words for the tastes or scents is just… befuddling me. I"m glad that I still have a few more grams of it for some more cups. I like it, I think.When I was 15, I got a job in a Chinese restaurant, and there were three different teas in the kitchen – the big urn that I brewed every morning to serve to any random person who ordered “hot tea”, the box tea bags that I brewed to order for VIP customers, and the good tea. The good tea was teabags that came in bundles wrapped in paper and closed with orange paper bands covered in Chinese writing, and the good tea was for the owners and their family, and anyone who ordered in Chinese directly from them instead of off the menu.
This tea reminds me of that good tea – I worked at that place for years, earned my up from kitchen/dishwasher drudge to second wok, and got promoted to good tea as well as cook. What is befuddling me is that the good tea was a fairly light jasmine oolong, and yet when I drink this dark utterly non-floral brew, that good tea is what rings in my tastebuds in my head.
So many words to try and explain how my reaction “this tastes like restaurant tea” isn’t insulting to this tea.