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Recent Tasting Notes
Yours truly has been doing so much writing/typing lately that my poor wrists have been in constant pain. Instead of my usual excitement to write my blog, I have been feeling a bit of dread because ouch. No worries though, probably this week I will be investing in some wrist braces meaning I can go back to being excited at the prospects of writing.
Today’s tea is the other sample sent to me from Turkish (really, I cannot get over how cool it was to have a package arrive at my door from Istanbul, but I always get giddy when something from far away arrives) company Kedocay. Wuyi Yancha Da Hong Pao (or Big Red Robe) is an oolong tea from Wuyi, China. I find I am becoming more enamored of Yancha (or rock teas) the more I have them, there is a reason I devoted a Yixing teapot to them. The aroma of these long, curly leaves is an interesting blend of smoke and sweet. There are notes of coal, honey, orchids, a tiny touch of cocoa, and a finish of yeasty bread. I absolutely love teas that have a smokey or empyreumatic (if you want to impress your friends) aroma, to me they are one of the most comforting aromas you can get.
Into the Yixing it goes for a nice brief steeping. I belong to the school of ‘stuffing the pot or gaiwan with a lot of leaves and do hot, quick, steeps’ it gets my favorite results from this type of tea. The aroma of the now wet leaves is very rich, it has a blend of charcoal and smoke that is there from the beginning to the end of the sniff. Underneath this aroma is faint notes of orchids, almost like someone tossed an orchid on a dying coals, it is a neat effect. The liquid once it has been set free from the teapot is the exact opposite of the leaves, it is creamy with rich notes of orchid (almost like perfume) honey and cocoa. There is a tiny hint of coal at the finish, but it is more of a ghost than a complete scent.
The first steep puts me in a happy place, it is one of the big differences between curly leaf and rolled leaf oolongs, their first steep usually has a much stronger presence, even if you do not always get as many steeps. The mouth feel is very smooth, it starts off with an intense coal taste and that turns into a faint coal taste that will last through until the end. After the initial coal-splosion (totally a word now) there is a creamy honey taste and a strong, almost perfume like orchid taste. The finish has a hint of cocoa that mixes with coal into the aftertaste.
Onto steep two! The aroma this time is more of a balance of coal and honey, one does not overpower the other. There is also a finish of cocoa giving a bit of smoothness to it. The taste, like the previous steep, starts out with a strong presence of coal that lingers for the entire sipping experience. The initial coal fades to a cooling slight bitterness that almost immediately switches to caramel sweet. At the end is a touch of cocoa, the aftertaste is mineral and coal.
The aroma of the third steep is mostly sweet with undertones of coal and smoke. The taste is much lighter, having more of a smoke taste then coal. It fades to a gentle orchid and honey that lasts up until the end where it switches back to coal and mineral. The aftertaste is mineral and is refreshing, like spring water.
Flavors: Char, Cocoa, Honey, Orchid, Smoke
Get hype, yo, it is Evo2014! It is the event I have been waiting all year for, what is essentially the World Cup of the Fighting Game Community. Since I am unable to travel to Las Vegas to watch the tournaments, Ben and I will essentially be glued to various Livestreams over the weekend. This is a big deal, for the first time in our almost five years together, we will actually be in the same place to watch Evo together, it is going to be awesome.
Today’s tea came all the way from Turkey, compliments of Kedocay. Dragon Well Green Tea, from Zhejiang, China, is one of the ‘Ten Famous Teas of China’ and I can believe it, even back in my youth when I knew nothing about tea, I had heard of Dragon Well and thought it sounded magical. Opening the bag, I was hit with a delicious aroma, I love when I open a bag of tea and I do not need to stick my nose in it, the aroma comes to me! The aroma is a mix of vegetal and toasted, with notes of toasted sesame seeds, green beans, and a touch of actual toasted bread. There is a slightly sweet honey finish, it vaguely reminds me of halva, a delicious honey and sesame seed dessert.
Into the gaiwan the leaves go, fun fact, I always brew my greens with the gaiwan lid off, I find that if I leave the lid on it tends to burn the tea. The aroma of the now steeped leaves is very richly vegetal, there is a combo of green beans and spinach with a strong finish of asparagus and a sesame seed finish. The liquid away from its leafy friends (or is it more leafy creator?) is the exact opposite of the leaves, delicately sweet with notes of honey and a touch of toast.
The first steep is delicate and soft, I say soft because the mouthfeel is smooth, almost to the point of velvety. The taste starts off vegetal with a gentle notes of green beans and asparagus , this transitions to toasted sesame seeds. The finish is honey sweet leaving a lingering sweetness as the aftertaste. This steep was a nice, mild beginning, I look forward to seeing if it build in intensity and will it be sweet or vegetal?
Second steeping time! The aroma is much more vegetal this time with stronger notes of asparagus and lesser notes of green beans. There is a slightly sweet honey note at the finish. The taste certainly took a note from the aroma, it is richly vegetal, almost broth like. There are notes of asparagus, green beans, and spinach, it has a buttery smoothness and a touch of a buttery taste at the finish. Sneaking in at the aftertaste is a bit of toasted sesame.
Time for round three, the aroma this time is faintly vegetal, faintly floral, and faintly sweet. Yep, third steep and this tea seems to have given up the ghost, but after the previous steep I do not feel cheated. The taste starts out with a gentle vegetal tone, with notes of asparagus and buttery green beans. This fades to sesame and lastly woth honey. A gentle finish to a pleasantly delicate and very smooth green tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Green Beans, Honey, Spinach, Toast