The Mandarin's Tea RoomEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Tried this tea for the 2nd time tonight, and it was wonderful. 2.5 grams of tea, 60-75 mL of water in the gaiwans, temps near boiling, and 30" first infusion. Somewhere around the 3rd and 4th infusion there was something a bit bitter, but it started sweet, smoky, spicy, earthy, had that slightly bitter interlude, and carried on for another half dozen plus infusions with the sweetness and bit of earthy and spicy. It is a wonderful tea, one I’d be happy to have more of in my cupboard, but the cupboard is already overflowing with puerh.
The wet leaves opened with hot cotton, warm dryers and some bursts of intense ashy smoke. The first flavors rocked between cantaloupe and cooked strawberry and freshly smoked whitefish.
Middle steeps produced a light tartness in the vein of white cranberry flesh – but never intensely sour.
This yiwu proved dazzling in the finish, with a lovely, terse, complex bitterness holding long and giving herbal satisfaction. I enjoyed this tea’s understated, complex, and composed beauty. Wrapping up with fermented cocoa nib dryness in the throat, it was hard not to be impressed. This is my kind of sheng.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=275
Surprisingly, the dry leaf composition may have been at least a quarter small bits and near-dust. This may just be the way the cake crumbles. Despite many tiny pieces, the steeped leaves revealed a unique blend of very large leaves, small buds, and bits. The wet leaf aromas were swirling, complex, and shapeshifting. Rinsing brought a bevy of damp moss, wet bark, agarwood, decaying leaves and trillium blossom. Lots of dew. The first full steep ignited a resin-inspired forest fire. Further leaf aromas came with damp, wet rocks and further forest floor detritus. Flavors were seemingly light. Initially, I got a lot of cooked tomato out of it, but the flavors eventually developed into an enjoyable array of fresh mushroom characters, stemmy, woody, and with distant umami.
Unfortunately noticeable was a suffering texture. Slick, soapy, and with a soup nose of slight pool, the effect of chlorine came through, despite a hard boil of the water. It dampened the experience of the first steeps and clouded the liquor aromas. Redeeming the unfortunate damage I did to the tea, was the fact that it brought on a quick, warming, and rising qi. Soft, but direct, my core warmed and my head floated as the tea coursed through me. I sit now, pleasantly relaxed, and centered in a warm, autumn sun. *Look for an update on this tea soon, when I can enjoy it with filtered water.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=257
Smells like Medjool dates, freshly cut wood and molasses. Tastes savory-sweet like ginseng and licorice root, but the best part is the unmistakably brisk, malty taste of . . . red (aka black) tea. A very clean tea taste constitutes the base of the flavor profile and remains in the aftertaste along with notes of marinated steak and dried roses. Yup.
Actually, this is called Jin Jun Mei not Mai.
This kind of tea was developed in 2005. The tea leaves are collected by professional tea pickers from less than a hundred wild tea tree near the top of Wu Yi mountain. And the baking method is based on traditional Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. Because of its low producing, it is amazingly expensive. In China, one kilo gram of authentic Jin jun Mei costs at least 3,000 dollars. Many of the Jin Jun Mei sold on the market are mixed with other kind of black tea, such as Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong
At the first three steep, you can taste subtle smell of fruit. That is the unique feature of this kind of tea.
I absolutely adore the appearance of this tea as dry leaf. The balled leaves look like small rough emeralds, with dazzling bright green edges and veins and dark black green leaves, all neatly curled and tucked into compact forms, true tea gems. It’s a vivid example and while I know that my brewing of the tea was not on par with Tim’s, I still found it delectable, full of warm floral-scented breath and a creamy, rich custard-like texture. In my own brewing, I found a delicious foible for morning brain fog and a light, airy blossom scent in the gaiwan and from the top of the cup.
Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=197
The dry leaf aroma alone is enough to tell that this will be a quality experience, although I was admittedly caught a bit off guard by the initial sternness of the brewed cup. However, my palette quickly grew accustomed to the sophisticated and slightly sheng-like bitterness that transforms into a long, layered, and thoroughly pleasing aftertaste. The apricot nectar apparent in the dry and wet aromas is overtaken by the structured and “big” body of the tea yet blossoms at the finish taking with it much of the dry, stately florals from earlier on.
I am once again taken to school and instructed as to what tea should taste like. My goodness.
I implore all of you to purchase some samples from this guy. Please! Seriously, your minds will be blown. It’s that good!
edit: now that i’m a little more versed in the world of puerh, i can honestly say that this one is a cut above, like pretty much all tea from this shop. if hindsight serves me there was a distinct cleanliness and clarity to the flavors which, at this point, i won’t be able to extract from memory. they were good ones though.
Oh. OH. oh.
I understand now. . . THIS is puerh. (Oh.) There is a balance of dank earth and cooling menthol overtone that delivers a full, very palatable complexity. Not every tea has to be mystifying to be very, very good.
And I know this is weird but I actually left the wet leaves out overnight (I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away) and had something like the fifth steepage the next day. Weird, yes, I know, but still so good. One of my absolute favorites.
A perfectly balanced intrigue; bold and roasty, juicy and sweet, delightfully complex, poised, calming. The list goes on. Seriously, spend some money and try this guy’s tea. (He also has a private tea room in SoHo I’ve yet to visit.)