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Recent Tasting Notes
I recently picked this up in the grab cupboard of the communal kitchen. That’s an awesome cupboard! As close to a condiment Narnia as you can come.
I thought the tea would be green, but it’s black.
I also thought it would be vile, but, strangely, it’s not. It’s a very basic, not particularly artificial peach tea. The peach flavour is subtle and devoid of any frills.
I’m definitely quite pleased with it, in all its simplicity, and I’m going to keep the rest of the bags for traveling.
[Communal kitchen loot, Rome, winter 2013.]
Sipdown, 140. Saying bye to my supermarket tea from China, still better than a lot of jasmine greens that you find in the States!
This one has been in the same paper bag that I bought it in over a year ago, but it aged fine. Jasminey, satisfying. Piles of loose tea in the Carrefour supermarket is probably the ting I miss most about China. :)
The day has come… my last day in Beijing! I guess that’s not totally true since I will have an afternoon here after I return from Mongolia and before I leave for the States, but tomorrow morning, very early, I am leaving for Ulaanbaatar for about a week. I kind of doubt my hostel room will have a hot water pot like my hotel here did, so I don’t know how much tea I will be drinking in the next week. So I may be very scarce around here for a little while! After my last bottle of milk tea at lunch, that is. :D
Oh, it’s morning again. It always seems to come too early no matter how early I go to bed. :P This morning I used the gaiwan and made like the people in the tea malls for tastings… that is, I did a number of short steeps but dumped all of them into one vessel. The result is definitely very tasty, and fairly similar to basically drinking each successive gaiwan steep. As such, even though I end up with a cup of tea that looks the same as “western” style steeping, the taste is definitely different. An interesting experiment, and one I am excited to try with other teas at home!
Today I am brewing this basically gong-fu style in a gaiwan. I’m not sure if people usually do that with jasmine teas, but that’s what I’m doing. My first use of a gaiwan, and hey I’m actually pretty good at it! I don’t even need an easy gaiwan like I thought I would.
Brewing this gongfu (high leaf:water ratio, short time) is really interesting, and it brings out other flavors that I haven’t tasted before. The jasmine is floral but… different in some ineffable way. I don’t know, but it is tasty. It’s also a little sweeter, a little fresher tasting. The first two steeps seemed pretty similar, but I also concentrating very much on the tasting, I just wanted some tea this afternoon. It is amazing how good this loose tea from the grocery store is… it makes me want to go pick up 50g of their high grade tieguanyin just to try it out!
Today I tried to room-temp steep this by throwing some leaves into the bottle of water that I usually take with me to work. Let’s just say, it didn’t turn out well. Who knew a cold steep could be so bitter! I definitely need to go for far less leaves, I guess. I’ll try again next week.
But now I’m having this one hot again with dinner. It really is lovely, and oh so smooth. It’s just such a pleasant tea to drink, though I can’t see myself craving it and I think I would get bored of it, too, if it was the only thing I had. I guess I just crave more variety!
Yesterday I finally bought some other tea. I had been resisting until I make it to the tea market, but I don’t know exactly when that will be and I am tired of drinking the same tea day in and day out. So I bought some loose tea at the Carrefour (mega grocery store). I don’t know what brand this is, if it’s even listed, and I don’t have the energy right now to try and figure it out. I am so stressed about things at work back home right now, but being 12 hours off means that right now it is the end of the day there even though it’s the beginning of my day… which means I get to stew about my problems for at least 12 hours before anything happens with them. Guh.
At least the tea is tasty. This is a jasmine tea that translates to something like “Dragon Strip” or something. The leaves are nice and long with a few bits of flowers here and there. I let the just-boiled water cool for 4 minutes in my kettle before I steeped it. The resulting tea is sweet and jasminey, with a kind of robust green tea backdrop. Definitely tasty, and I’m glad I have it around. Now if only it would relax me enough that I will actually be able to get work done today instead of worrying all day… :P