197 Tasting Notes
I really cannot decide about this one. The first cup always seems to have a little too much astringency, while the rest are easy-drinking enough, but I am not getting a huge wodge of character from it. I have tried it in my small glass teapot and in my yixing pot. Interestingly, my yixing pot seems to really like it and the flavour is improved, but I am still undecided. On the plus side, I absolutely loved the way the leaves unrolled in the glass pot. The visual aesthetic was perfect, but the rest of it … well, I need to work on that.
Further experimentation tells me that a lower brewing temperature and a slightly shorter steeping time may help. Somewhere down around 80-85 degrees and only brew it for two minutes. When I tried that, hints of apple and cinnamon came through, the astringency was not as pronounced and the whole experience was much more pleasant. As a result, I have increased my rating for this tea.
My next experiment will take the temperature in the opposite direction and the steeping time right down. I have noticed that one of the other tasting notes mentions a high temperature and a 30 second steeping time. It will be interesting to see what that does to the tea.
I tried high temperature, short steeping time and it turned this one into a totally different tea. Not awful, but different. I liked it. Then I finally tried it by heating the water to just before the boil and steeping for a 1m30s. This works really well to make it a very drinkable tea. It’s not stunning, but it makes for a good everyday drink. There, I’m done experimenting. I wonder if the taste is significantly affected by my new celadon tea bowls? Maybe I am not done experimenting after all …
I got this tea a few days ago. The first thing I did was stick my nose right into it and the smell knocked my socks off; it was a gorgeous stableyard smell comprising warm, sweet comforting hay and mellow horse manure smells. The aroma was just perfect and had me so excited that I wanted to just dive straight into it then and there. Yes, ok, I’m weird. The horsey smell reminds me of good times and is one I love, and that is what this reminded me of. So, excited as I was, I still took time to carve up the beeng and store it for a few days so that it could sort itself out. When I picked it apart, I found that the leaves came away fairly easily and were quite large. They ranged from dark chocolatey brown to a very pale beige colour, giving the whole beeng a most pleasing visual aesthetic.
I have a cold at the moment so I needed some comfort today. Time to try my new tea. Unfortunately, the state of my nose will probably have affected how I view this tea, and you will need to allow for this in reading the following. I sat down with my trusty 140ml gaiwan, a cup and measured out 4g of tea. The Canton Tea Co website suggests 3-4g in a small teapot, brewed at 95 degrees for 20 seconds. I did what they suggested to get a feel for the tea. The liquor was yellow with a hint of green to it on the first infusion. It became darker with the third and fourth infusions and then became a little paler from infusions eight onwards. I kept the brewing time to 20 seconds for the first half dozen brews and then increased it to 30 seconds for the next few, and so on, increasing it a little every so often.
The brew was sweet with every infusion, ending with a note of astringency and a bittersweet aftertaste. It exuded an aroma of flower meadows in every cup and has turned out to be a fantastic comfort brew. This is one of the few teas where the tasting notes have largely conformed to my own experience of the tea. I shall certainly buy more of this with a view to aging some and drinking the rest.
I first had this at my brother’s in Copenhagen, when we visited him last year. We enjoyed it so he sent us some for Christmas and now it is in the regular line-up of teas in our house. The best bit is being able to experiment with how I brew it, instead of relying on my brother’s Philistine ways with tea! ;-) So, I started the pot with two teaspoons of the tea in my 250ml glass pot and brewed it initially for two minutes at 80 degrees. Not enough flavour came through. It was pleasant and a bit bubblegum, but not as nice as I remembered it. After a bit of experimentation, I finally got it right for me. Between 75 and 80 degrees was the right temperature and a 3-4 minute steep brought out the flavours nicely. All the fruit came through, but delicately enough not to be overpowering. I did not notice much of the white tea, except as a background to the rest. Still, it was very nice and perfect for when I want something sweeter to drink. I wonder if it will be sufficient to counter my addiction to jelly snakes and jelly dinosaurs?
Ok, back to the Emerald again. This time I have started afresh with a brew of 1 heaped tsp in a 250ml glass pot at 60 degrees and steep time of 1m 30s. I have kept the steep times and quantity the same so that I can compare the flavour at different temperatures. The cooler temperature gives stronger fruity flavours and a longer aftertaste. There is a slight hint of a pleasant astringency to the aftertaste, which goes on much longer. I think this tea definitely merits brewing at a cooler temperature than the recommended 70 degrees and that the result is worth it. For me the 60 to 65 degree range seems to be about right. For this reason I have increased my rating of the tea. I am now running low on it, but shall probably restock it when I have used up enough of the other teas in my cupboard to merit ordering more. Yes, I am trying to be controlled about my tea buying! :-)
I like this tea. It does not blow me away, but the taste is pleasant and light, perhaps slightly fruity. I’m not sure I get the grape and pear that the website suggests is present but that could be my palate rather than the tea itself. Note to self: drink more tea more carefully and develop my palate!
Steep number three and there it is. Definite hint of grape and pear. I steeped this one at 65 degrees instead of the 70 degrees I was using before. It has significantly improved the definition of the flavour and the aftertaste as well as increasing the latter’s duration.