3074 Tasting Notes
I declare today to be Hei Cha Day
Yep, little Terri yelled that inside my head this morning while I was languishing in bed, savoring a dark rainy morning & my comfy cozy sleeping space. Reluctantly I finally got up & headed down the stairs.
So the idea is that we’re going to finally sample & attempt to describe all the different Hei Cha in my cupboard. I have a sort of fascination with them as of late, an irresistible urge to buy them, just to find out what they are really all about.
The leaf is dark & the aroma of it is of a sourdough pumpernickel rye bread. I know that might sound like a turn off to some, but for me it brings to mind a kitchen in winter, with loaves of dense chewy bread, a big pot of substantial stew, with homemade cultured kraut on the side…sigh…now I want that meal…
The taste of this tea is familiar, & yet not easy to describe. There is an underlying pumpernickel kind of sourness & there is a creamy sweetness that reminds me of that canned condensed milk that is thick & sweet (& would probably be really good in this tea). There’s a hint of orange peel, a pinch of salt, & a kind of ceylon after taste.
I steeped it a couple of different ways:
4G + 8oz X 30/60/etc 0- I tried it this way when it first came. It was nice, but I felt maybe I needed a little more tea. There’s instructions on the package that suggest a 1-40 ration, so today I tried
5G + 8oz X 30/60/2min/etc
It was a little stronger, & in the 2 min steep I added a little sweetener, & that was actually pretty nice! I feel like I might try this with less water next time, because I think I’d still like it a little stronger, maybe. This is one of those teas that you can use for Tibetan yak butter tea, & I can actually see how it would be complimented by some for of milk, butter, & either salt or sugar. I’d love to try it that way, but with my milk allergy its pretty unlikely.
I actually love little cakes like this, enough tea for me to enjoy several times, & if its spectacular, I can get more. If it’s average, that’s ok too, & Im not stuck with 357G, or whatever.
This one is nice enough. A solid little shu that I enjoyed through the middle of the day. Dry the aroma isn’t much, but once you get going it really changes. My community has trucks that come around in the fall, & they gather up all the leaves & make huge piles of compost. They also make shredded tree compost piles. In the spring you can take as much as you like, & I always love the way it smells: sweet & almost syrupy, & also kind of like tobacco,… & stewed dried fruit.
Yup, that’s this tea.
A dark & beautiful dense cake whose appearance reminds me of those dense & dark fruit cakes my mom used to make during the HoliDaze. Sweet & mellow, the flavor is very balanced & makes me smile. Dark fruits, a touch of blackstrap molasses, & a whole wheat kind of breadiness, making me think of the Boston Brown Bread I used to bake.
Another tea I picked up yesterday at Traveling tea.
This is a nicely roasty organic Houjicha, with the addition of cacao. It has a pleasant underlying bitter element, nothing like coffee really, but I can see the connection. It’s hearty & satisfying & a pinch of sweet makes it even nicer. I bet you could brew it kind of strong & add cream & sugar, although that’s not my thing.
I’m enjoying a nice quiet vibe this morning. Slept in until my body was ready to wake, about 8am. I knew I wanted a slow gongfu session to start my day, with something exotic, & this tea from Teavivre fits the bill. When I open the bag, it’s immediately spiced sweet stone fruits, & warming the leaf in a small pot, it becomes a rich fruity desert of some kind. I use to cook steel cut oats in the crock pot over night with peach or apple juice, sliced dry apricots & a few cardamom pods. I can’t say it smells like that, but it reminds me of how the house smelled in the morning, & what a wonderful breakfast that was to wake up to.
Sometimes I miss being a vegan…
5G x 100 ml tiny porcelain pot (rinse) 15/30/45sec/1/2/3/4min
Anyway, this is cup after cup of sweet spicy fruitiness, a very juicy mouth, nice tongue tingle, some pastry, instant clear headed buzz, & really its like drinking the sweetest sheng you ever had. It becomes more herbaceous, like maybe eucalyptus, as I go forward, but still sweet. A wonderfully uplifting start to my morning! Here’s some tea porn for ya :)
This is the August offering from Jalam Teas, & this is my first session with it.
It started out very clean, with instant clarity of mind. It was a quality that reminds me of sage, not so much in the flavor as in the sense of clarity it imparts, & there was also a slight bitter edge, but it was the kind of bitterness that I tend to enjoy.
After a few rounds I had the image of a pine forest after rain…or some kind of evergreen, or maybe eucalyptus…yeah maybe that. Just a real nice aromatic sinus opening feeling.
I was really enjoying this one, when I got sidetracked, & accidentally left it steep for way too long. Drats! That cup was way too bitter. It took a couple steeps to get back on track, I got one that remind me vaguely of an orchid oolong I used to have in my collection, mildly sweet & floral, but otherwise the magic was kind of gone. Luckily, I have plenty of this to enjoy, & hopefully next time I won’t screw it up!