110 Tasting Notes
1/26/14 Tasted at a tea event. A very interesting tea, both in terms of tasting and in history. It is made from a tea plant which is a hybrid of the native Taiwanese C. sinenses v. sinensis and the Indian C. sinensis v. assamica , which was imported to the island early last century to help establish a black tea industry. It was a very nice tea to drink, full of the malty peppery chocolaty notes that Assam teas have, all wrapped up with a vegetal bell peppery kind of greenness that was quite interesting. Unlike the previous more traditional Chinese teas, this black tea didn’t come through the second serving as strongly, and our host told us that is is pretty normal. Apparently the highly oxidized black teas infuse much more readily and thus don’t support multiple infusions as well.
1/26/14 Western tea before driving in the snow to a Chinese tea class. 3g/6oz/190F/3min. First impressions. Floral bitterness. Good mouth feel, present but not heavy. A pleasant drink for a hurried moment, and a good primer for spending an afternoon with similiar teas.
01/25/14 Gongfu in the afternoon. 4g in my small gaiwan. Peaches. In the dry leaf and in the brew aroma, and on the tongue, peaches. If a perfectly ripe peach were carved out of marble and somehow edible it would have this taste. I am loving this tea and it’s progress – I’ve lost track of the steeps at this point, but I’ve been drinking it steadily for about an hour now, and it is fantastic. Light in the mouth, and this peachy stony yumminess that just keeps going on and on.
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.