346 Tasting Notes

69

I really like Lochan Tea, and I dig the family behind it. Their Doke garden also puts out some quality stuff. I received this in a swap thanks to Tea Trade HQ. I was psyched to see that Castleton’s new Moonlight was among the teas delivered. Last year’s Moonlight was my favorite Darjeeling of 2011.

How did this measure up?

Well, I hate to be frank…but not at all. Granted, it was fair, but nowhere near the excellence of last year’s. I’m not sure if something went wrong in delivery, or if I stored it wrong…but the entire gongfu affair started off kale-like and ended up with woodiness – at best. It reminded me quite a bit of a Chinese yellow tea rather than an oolong, which is too bad.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec
The Purrfect Cup

Did I send you this one? If so I feel bad.

Geoffrey Norman

Nope, it was Mrs. Tea Trade. And no reason to feel bad about anything. I’m always glad to try new tea.

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90

WHAM! “Hi there.”

That’s the sort of introduction this tea gives you. Seriously.

I received this generous sample from the lovely WifeyWoman. I have a soft spot for Yunnan hong cha…but this is no soft tea. It’s a full-flavored, woody, malty, peppery kick in the face. And, by golly, this morning I needed that. Way more full-bodied than the average Dian Hong, and not as nuanced as a Yunnan Jin Cha, this occupies a Midgard populated only by manly teas.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
The Purrfect Cup

Glad you like it! :)

Geoffrey Norman

Thanks again!

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92

I received this – and two other Korean green tea samples – directly from Hankook several months back. What took me so long to get to them? Um…unicorns? (I have no good reason.)

Hwang Cha instantly held my fascination because it was dubbed a “yellow” tea. However, it was not to be confused with Chinese yellow tea – Huang Ya. I’m not sure how this one is classified. Is it an oolong? Is it a black tea? I have no clue.

Point is, it’s a beast unto itself. It’s nutty, it’s sweet, it’s slightly smoky…it’s hard to classify. As are Korean green teas.

Full [fictional] write-up here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2012/09/06/everybody-hwang-cha-tonight-gamnong-style/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Those dang unicorns at it again! GAD!

Geoffrey Norman

Pesky pointy horses!

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80

It’s been a trying couple of weeks. It was about high time I make time to whittle down some of my tea storage. I had tried this once already as a gongfu prep, and – frankly – it did not hold up well. I don’t know if it was the leaf size (i.e. smaller pieces) or water temp, but it just didn’t work.

Today, I deferred my usual morning pot o’ black for a pot of this – done with boiling water. And – to my surprise – with a western-style prep, it was mighty tasty. Can’t say it was as nuanced as other Formosas out there, like Ali Shan, but it does offer something fruity and robust. That works for me in a pinch.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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97

Laziness in action is having a ton of tea to choose from…and going with one you brewed yesterday. Even further laziness in action is brewing a tea tailored for icing – hot. I brewed a pot of this just as a normal tea. Strong yet smooth, lightly bergamotty, and a bit of a head-rush. Perfect for the lazy sort running on five hours of sleep on his day off.

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97

I’ve had this stuff for quite awhile, but the only time my brother/roommate and I ever brewed it up was in order to make sun tea. While it handled that A-MURR-ican like a champ, I figured it was time to do it like the instructions said – brewed concentrate, topped off with cold water, then poured over ice.

I think I almost got it. Something tells me I brewed it a little light. However, even with my flub-up, it was still just as “exceptional” as the presumptuous name suggests.

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100

Today, I bid adieu to the last of my 2011 Castleton Moonlight 2nd Flush. It was a good run. (sniffles) But how I part ways with it the only way I can in the summer…as a pint of iced tea. And to that end, it held up spectacularly. You were the best of the best of last year’s Darjeelings, dear Moonlight. Cue bagpipes!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

aweeee Sad to see a friend go.

Geoffrey Norman

I know. We had such good times. (sob!)

Azzrian

(((huggs)))

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92

ICED PU-ERH EXPERMENT: This was my second visit with this sheng (apparently?). Completely forgot I’d tried this already. However, this time – given that it was 90F outside – I decided to ice it. Yep, still works…even with an unsophisticated “A-MURR-ican” approach.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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94

It’s not everyday that you find a Dan Cong by accident. In this case, I was trying to catalog (a travailing feat, I assure you) my canisters. I found this amidst a pu-erh canister for some reason. Naturally, I gave it a go…well…a day or two later.

It’s a very green oolong with a buttery profile, similar to Taiwanese oolongs in delivery. That and it gets even more so with each successive steep. Cream and flowers also make their mandatory appearance on the palate.

I have yet to come up with a requisite flavor profile for the Dan Congs I’ve tried. They all differ significantly. Guess I’m just going to have to stick to drooling noises.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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90

When I pulled this out, I thought it was going to be an oolong. I mean, “Bai Chai” just sounds like an oolong-y sorta name. Surprised me that I was looking at a needle-thin green tea. I should read more.

Anyway…the liquor was clear and the taste alternated between grass and grape. Very close to Long Jing, methought.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I moonlight as a procrastinating writer and daylight as a trader of jack. I appreciate good tea, good beer, and food that is bad for me. Someday I’ll write the great American novel. And it’ll probably have something to do with tea or beer…or both. In the meantime, I subsist.

Tea Blog: http://www.steepstories.com

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/

Location

Oregon

Website

http://www.lazyliteratus.com

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