The Fragrant Cup
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is another sample given to me by Eric Glass, the owner of The Fragrant Cup, a Tea Importer here in St. Louis. www.fragrantcup.com
It’s a ridiculously amazing day outside, clear skies, 75 degrees. I should be riding my Harley, but I’ve had students all day & have been sipping this tea, gongfu style, for most of the afternoon. Right now I have a bit of a break, & have been contemplating the re-arranging of my Studio & watering my abundant house plant. I was pleased to see that a few of the fruits on my Kumquat tree are starting to turn orange. It will still be at least a few weeks before they are ready to eat, and I just get to eat one here & there, but that’s nice because I don’t take them for granted, each one is a special treat.
This is a really nice bold brew. The flavor & aroma are both lightly floral, with a roasty kind of taste. There was initially a unusual sensation in the center of my tongue, and after several steepings I got that buttery feeling around the edges & under my tongue, kind of a sparkling sensation. I’m not always good at describing flavors: There’s a little chocolate, a little orange peel, maybe some cinnamon, and there is a deep fruitiness, & I keep thinking I should try adding some Elderberries to my cup. I love elderberry tea, for the taste, and for the medicinal value, & I think I may go ahead and mix some into my Gaiwan, just for the heck of it. Or not…
Oh Joy! The mail came & I just got packages from TeaVivre and Verdant!
This is my oolong of the day, another tasty tea from The Fragrant Cup, and it’s a good counterpoint to my multiple steepings of Xingyang 98.
The texture is both crisp and buttery, very very buttery! Its a sweet, carmelized green bean kind of flavor, with a bright floral finish. Actually, it’s not green beans I’m tasting. I just realized it’s long beans. I grow them sometimes in the summer, and they are really long (I guess you assumed that), and although you can use them just like green beans, they have a savory and floral flavor, quite different from your usual green beans (which I also grow). The vines produce beautiful flowers, from which the beans grow, and they are very prolific. This tea reminds me of them.
This is my green tea selection for the day.
The Fragrant Cup is a St. Louis purveyor of fine teas & related products. The owner, Eric Glass believes great tea improves everyone’s day and special occasions. He loves tea, travels to Asia to study and purchase teas, and the first time I talked to Eric, he invited me to his home (where he runs his tea importing & selling business from) and served tea to me as if we were sitting in one of those tea houses in China that David Duckler talks about, sharing his knowledge & tea with me, and it was a real treat. He sent me home with several tea samples, which have all been excellent, and this is one of them.
I’ve enjoyed several 4 oz cups today, brewed gongfu style, and it is delightfully vegetative and buttery. If you’d like to check out Eric’s tea selections and web page, he’s at http://www.fragrantcup.com/aboutus.asp
Thank you to Eric, proprietor of The Fragrant Cup, for this sample!
An afternoon of private students is the perfect opportunity for me to brew tea in my Gaiwan, & I’m happy to say I’ve got my technique down!
I opened the sample package to find lovely buds, looking like large oat groats, with a light scent of fresh linens drying in the sun. Per Eric’s instructions, there were 4 steepings:
1) 1.5 minutes: The scent & taste is of a creamy breakfast cereal, like cream of wheat. Very soothing!
2) 2 min: In my minds eye, I see a bowl of that creamy hot breakfast cereal, topped with butter, cream & a spoonful of honey.
3) 3 min: hint of vanilla, linen, paper?
4) 4 mins: right before I did this steeping, I smelled the buds & they had taken on a bitter petro-like smell. That taste & smell didn’t carry through to the tea itself, but this last cup was more astringent, but not unbearably so.
All in all, this was a really pleasant break from all the black tea that I’ve been drinking (& loving!). Sometimes you just need a different perspective.
SIPDOWN! and thanks to terri for this one, as is usually lately heh. Had this earlier in the afternoon as well. The aroma of this one was much like loashan black. It sort of tripped me out a little. The tea did not have the same depth that loashan black does, but this was almost like it’s milder more golden second cousin. heh. I quite enjoyed this one even if there is a bit of a floral note at the end of the sip. No oonlongy taste here for me though so that makes me a happy camper!
It’s been awhile since I drank this tea. I had forgotten just how wonderful it is, how unique the flavor is. It is the taste of honey, a beautiful honey gold liquor, with a nice warming sensation to it. There is an underlying roasted chestnut flavor, & a hint of cinnamon as well.
I went with 5G in my 4oz Gaiwan, a 10 sec rinse & 15 second steepings for the first 4 rounds, all combined in a little glass pitcher, so that I could sip at my desk for awhile. The next 4 rounds were for 30 seconds each, & they are still tasty, although in all honestly, the 1st pitcher was the best!
I just got home from playing my 2nd gig of the day, I’m tired & hungry, & I want tea! My package from Eric, at The Fragrant Cup, has arrived! I started the water, opened the package, & …roasted chestnut is what I am thinking. The leaves are chocolate colored, with tinges of yellow, green, & beige.
I’m going for the lazy woman’s brewing method, as I don’t feel like fussing with the Gaiwan. I want a quick tea to carry around the house with me & sip while I grab a few things to take to Tony’s & get changed out of my black dress & into some pajama-like clothes, which is what I’ll wear for the rest of the weekend. So 2 minutes brew, in a cup with the Finum. (I promise another day I’ll give this the proper treatment).
This pale gold infusion has a very mild sweet flavor, very delicate. In my mind I see a field of clover blossoms, & I’d like to lay down in that field & rest. It’s a really pleasant tea with a mild honey taste, a little drying in the back of my throat (of course, that could be my allergies, now that I think of it). Definitely a tea I’ll drink again. (gongfu style next time)