3001 Tasting Notes
I haven’t really drank very much tea today. I feel like crap. Mom took me to the health food store (the throbbing of my head increased in the short time we were out, damn allergies) to get some nettles & elderberry. I immediately started brewing strong concoctions of both. My final cup of the day is yet another cup of Bengal Spice (celestial seasonings). Now I’m going to bed.
Tomorrow will be a better day. :)
I don’t travel well. It’s just a fact. It’s not that I don’t like traveling, it’s more that my body is ridiculous. Any movement in any direction results in new allergies, issues with drinking water, etc.
I arrived yesterday & within no time was sneezing, eyes watering,lungs burning, all the classic symptoms. I forgot how crappy bottled water makes me feel. No matter how much I drink, it doesn’t slake my thirst. Luckily my parents got a new water filtration system, & so far, so good. There are 2 cats who know I’m allergic & will do anything to torment me. The air in this house is hot & stale & I feel claustrophobic. Also, due to the time change, overall irritation, & a very late night planning & executing an awesome tea order (YEAH), I stayed up lake, tossed & turned, etc. Enough bitching, thank you for letting me rant!
Otherwise, it is awesome to be here with my folks. Dad & I spent a couple of hours talking about esoteric things (Reiki, crystals, spirit guides…stuff like that). Mom & I are gonna do something today, I’m not sure what yet.
I’ve been sitting here slurping this Assam, from my awesome trade with NofarS, & even though I over-tea-ed it a bit, it is deliciously rich, bold, malty & sweet. All the things I want this morning. Well…all the things I want in a tea, anyway!
After I claimed a sipdown on this tea, I realized I had a secret stash at Tony’s. so this was the first tea of the morning, which I drank on the way to the airport. My mistake was forgetting there is green tea in here, which makes me sick to my stomach if I haven’t eaten. That queasiness started, but luckily I brought my own food: a frittata & paleo banana muffins, so I am saved.
For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to ‘guru’ types. So, having said that, when I hear people referred to as ‘Master’ this, or whatever, I’m always a little suspicious. Also, when companies give all these amazing descriptions & make things sound so unbelievably good, I secretly roll my eyes with doubt. Even Verdant. Sometimes it just seems a little over the top.
Having said that, where Verdant is concerned, I am almost always impressed, & today is no exception. I don’t know why I should still be skeptical, except that it is just my nature, I guess.
So…I’ve been enjoying this Shu all afternoon, steeped in a Gaiwan, steep after steep. Everything about this tea speaks of quality & craftmanship. From the awesome banana-leaf wrapper, (or whatever it’s made of, your damn right I’ll be buying a brick!), & the dark beauty of the leaf itself, to the bright clean flavor that is fruity, creamy, & slightly tart, this is a lovely Shu! I’m not done with it yet, & next time I’ll use the Xingyang workshop parameters.
Master Han is the Jedi Master of Tea. Thank you David & Lily, for all that you do for us crazy tea drinkers! I love you guys!
Tomorrow morning I’m flying to Orlando, FL to visit my folks, who live in Apopka. It will be a week of no real responsibilities. At least once a day Dad will ask me to show him something on the piano, as I’ve been teaching him theory & improvisation for a few years now. Mom will find reasons to go to the health food store, the book store, or other locations to get some time alone with me. We’ll hang out relaxing. I’m smuggling some Egyptian Walking Onions for their garden. (Last time I smuggled 2 of their amazing aloe plants home, they are very different from the ones I have here). I don’t care much for FL, but I like to go visit my folks each year for their anniversary. Last year we had a family reunion in Springfield, MO to celebrate 60 years. It was the first time all 5 siblings had been in the same place in about 30 years! This year it is back to a nice quiet week of goofing off, watching movies, gardening, & eating. And drinking tea. The hardest decision I have to make today is which teas to bring:
A) My favorites…but there are so many!
B) A sipdown sampler collection
I still haven’t decided, LOL.
Meanwhile, the TOMC bundle came on Saturday, & today I’m working my way through some of the selections.
Don’t think I’m any kind of authority on Sheng, because I’m not, but for a year old Sheng, this seems amazingly smooth, sweet, & even kind of creamy. Most of the other young Shengs I’ve tried have been kind of harsh, especially if I use more than 3G. The chaqi hit me after the first cup, & I’ve been sipping cup after cup, in between doing various things that need to be done before I leave town: a few loads of laundry, water all houseplants, etc. The flavor is rich with a full maltiness, a bright citrus sensation, steam sauteed cabbage, & a lingering herbaceousness & thick tongue. I like it!
I’ve officially designated Monday as “White Tea” day. This started at the beginning of July. I don’t have a huge selection of white teas, as I’m not crazy about them, & tend to find them a little lame, to be honest, but I do enjoy trying them out & am gradually developing an appreciation for them. So every Monday I will drink a white tea, either plain or flavored (I currently have a total of 5 in my collection).
Today, it is this one. Steeped according to Verdant’s suggested gongfu parameters, more or less:
4G + my glass test tube steeper X 5 sec (adding 5 per steep)
This is a pleasant cup that starts out creamy & sweet, with the flavor & texture building with each steep. Gradually an blanched almond flavor emerged, & that was really nice. I am also thinking of a really creamy oatmeal, the kind you make from steel cut oats. The later steepings are more savory, with a bit more vegetal taste, & an almost citrus like sensation. As far as white teas go, this one is really nice!