344 Tasting Notes
On this, my day of birth, I bid a fond farewell to the last of my Canton Tea Bai Lin Gong Fu. It’s last vestiges lasted two exquisitely sweet and malty pints, and put added vigor into my morning step. This newly-turned 36-year-old bids this exquisite black tea…adieu. SALUTE!
Aged. Yunnan. Gold.
If there were three more rapturous words in the English dictionary…I can’t think of them right now. It’s no secret that Yunnan Golds are probably my favorite types of black teas. What I hadn’t had, though, was an aged version. When I ordered this last week at a Chinese Garden tearoom, I was expecting a pu-erh version, but – nay – the host informed me that it was a normal hong cha, simply aged.
And it was everything it was supposed to be – honey, peppery, slightly malty, sweet, and – most importantly – winy. Dare I say, I was even tea-drunk after scores of steeps of the stuff.
The full story can be found here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2012/09/28/tea-flutes-and-yellow-hatted-hoffmans/
Doomur Dullong (or Dullung?)…the name sounds Klingon. And, you know what? This tastes like something Klingons would drink. I mean that in the best possible way. It’s manly, malty, and bitterly rawhide-like on the aftertaste. You can steep the hell out of it, and it can last a good Round #2. Fitting for a tea that I found in Wyoming of all places.
My full account of that adventure can be found here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2012/09/20/tea-wiles-in-the-wilds-of-wyoming/
I did not expect to run into this tea on a chance outing to a tea lounge – killing time. I came back the next day to fetch it, and promptly brewed it up that night. My gaaaaaaaaah! What a splendid white tea! It had some of the strengths imparted by regular Kenyan purple tea, but in its raw form it was more akin to Ceylon whites in character. That and it lasted a whopping six infusions non gongfu style. So glad my tea karma is this good.
A full write-up on how I came across this tea can be found here: http://lazyliteratus.teatra.de/2012/09/10/solomons-purple-white-seal-of-approval/
I did a whole pot of this tea this morning. It’s a mid-bodied yet burly low-altitude Ceylon – meaning a “flowers-with-chest-hair” feel. I can’t say I paid attention to the brewing specifics, but it held up rather nicely to my abuse and neglect. More-than-passable morning cup.
Going shopping for this actually wasn’t my idea. A fellow writer/editor I know wanted to visit a Korean superstore I’d mentioned in passing. I didn’t think we’d locate this mysterious tisane she mentioned, but – lo and behold – there it was. I brewed it up that night. (It was a teabag, so no special instructions were needed.)
What to say…
The liquor smelled like Frosted Mini-Wheats and tasted like a cross between barley and buckwheat. I mean that in the best way possible. It’s not the great herbal I’ve ever tried, but in a pinch it certainly works. And I got a good story out of the deal. Can’t argue with that.
Filing this under “stuff-I-forgot-I-had-in-my-possession”. This looked very much like a Golden Bi Luo Chun – smelled like it, too. The leaves were darker, though. However, they were rolled in the same, adorable, snail-like way. Brew-wise, this actually had a lot more in common with heavier Dian Hongs, which I didn’t mind. It was woody, sweet, slightly malty, and imparting a bit of cocoa nib-like loveliness. A happy accident.
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.
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.