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Recent Tasting Notes
The great Pai Mu Tan Experiment.
I found myself with a coffee machine, 7 teas and a migraine.
Eliminated English Breakfast as too boring, Gunpowder a little bitter for today, Earl Gray, Wild Cherruy Rooibos and Fresh Breeze too fruity(for my migraine causing allergies), and I’d already had a chai.
Then I remember the PMT in my desk drawer. But no teapot. Will an infuser work for this majestic tea?
So, here’s my experiment:
The same amount of tea into an infuser and just naked into a takeaway cup. Infused them both. Then removed the infuser and decanted the other one by affixing a lid and pouring thru the spout.
So, first steep, and it must be said, both excellent. Great fresh taste.
However, on the second steep, there was a marked difference. The un-infusered one was considerably better, with that woodsy tate I’m always rabbitting on about.
So, after bravely drinking 4 cups of tea, I think I’ve proven that PMT prefers to run free!
Yes, another cup of this. It’s great, as you’d expect. 2nd steeping from last night’s nightcap.
But the tea has been tinged with tragedy! I have dropped the lid of my purple teapot (“Jasime”) and it shattered.
Now, I know there are vastly bigger tragedies in the world (please don’t send me a list) , but it’s not a grteat start to a week to have smashed a favourite teapot lid by 6:30 on a Monday morning.
I am specifically reviewing a cup that is a long way down the chain.
Yesterday, I made a Pai Mu Tan for myself and my better half at about 3pm. Nice
I did a second small steep on the spot.
Just before dinner at about 7pm I had another. Thean around 8:15 had another.
So, now we come to this one. It’s the next wmorning, just before seven. This tea has produced 5 cups from 4 steepings prior to this; and we come to number 6 or 5 depending on your point of view.
It’s a little insipid.
I was asking too much of it. To be fair, it has no bitterness, no staleness, nothing wrong at all – just a little underflavoured.
It would be unfair for me to change the rating. This tea has done very well.
So, this is my favourite tea? And it’s a white? And it’s not Indian? Hard to believe. two months ago I would have laughed at the idea!
I think that the fact that I start the day with this tea means it is the most likely to get logged – I had about 7 cups of various teas yesterday that weren’t. I just don’t get the time.
But still I love it.
I’ve had a bad night, woke up with a migraine aboround 5:30, took some Disprin Forté and awoke at 7am with the taste of salicylates and opiates in my mouth.
Restore me please, oh wonderful tea!
This is a perfectly balanced cup, even though it’s about 450ml.
The liquor firstly cleaned my tongue, before the second sip started stripping the furry feeling from the back of the roof of my mouth.
Third sip and there’s the tea in all its glory. Its slight dry mouthfeel is not quite what I need, but I’ll just have some more.
Now a third of the way down, and I am truly refreshed.
It’s Australia Day, so I have the day off, a wonderful sunny Adelaide Day, it’s 7:20, time to head to the deck, enjoy the early morning breeze, contemplate the leg of lamb that has been marinating for two days, and think about how truly rich my life is.
OK, I decided to experiment. How far can I go?
First steep – it’s 2pm. We are preparing to go grocery shopping, just a little tea before we go. It’s a warm day.
The Pai Mu Dan helps us get into a calm place before the shopping storm. This first infusion is velvety and sparkly – I’m drinking mine unsweetened. It has some mossy, foresty undertones and a solid white/green tea taste with no bitterness whatsoever.
It’s now 10:10 at night, and my better half has a headache, whereas I’m thirsty. Time for that second infusion.
The tea is doing the trick for both of us. This time, it’s woodier. The small amount of sugar I’ve added gives it almost a honey finish.
It’s now 6am, and I’m up an about, and in severe need of some refreshment. I steep the leaves in almost half a litre of water. Again a small amount of sugar.
A great start to the day. really cleans the palate.
While drinking it, I’m editing a video about it. So I know fancy another cup.
LITTLE BIT OF TIME TRAVEL→
It’s 7am, and the Pai Mu Tan has run out of legs. I’ve used 2 grams, infused more than 1600ml of water through it over two days, and it’s very pale.
The taste is like a supermarket green teas bag, though without the bitterness.
It’s time for these leaves to be returned to the earth. They have given much.
Farewell, sweet tea!
Bless me Cyril, for I have sinned. It is eight hours since my last cup of tea.
OK, so I’ve been asleep for six of those, but that’s hardly an excuse.
I’ve decided intellectually that I do not need to sweeten this tea, even the first infusion. So Let’s see if my tastebuds agree.\… they do !
The first sip or two filled the night-dried cracks inside my mouth but soon the sweet, juicy taste and delicate fragrance filled my senses.
I love the way the flavour of this tea fills your whole mouth.
I’ll start steeping the second before I finish the first. All is as it should be.
Didn’t have this yesterday. It’s been a while since I went a day without.
Nice long steep in a one person pot, then decant all of the liquor into a mug.
The aroma is so delicate that the anticipation of this tea is not in the smell, it’s in the memory. i know how good it’s going to be.
Even though it’s summer, this tea always tastes like spring. It’s like the smell of fresh pine needles after a rain; it’s a mood elevator.
Currently my laptop is playing up, and my tea is behaving. I think the answer is to enjoy the tea and worry about the work later.
At this point, according to my tea log, which probably gets half my tea activity, this is my favourite. I doubt that at any time in the past my top tea would be a white or green.
This morning, it’s 6:30 and it is my first cup of the day. I haven’t eaten for two days, apart from the mildly controversial jelly regular readers have commented on.
So, it’s a pai mu tan.
I haven’t used some delicate 120ml teacup, here I have a mug the size of a handbasin. I’ve made up one Cyril’s worth – about 500ml – and I’m not afraid to re-steep.
The first sip of this, while it’s still a little hot, cools itself by burning my tongue and then slips across a very dry throat. It’s like bringing life back to the Sahara.
Never mind letting it cool, it’s into sip 2.
It’s warm and woody today. There’s a real melon taste to this brew. (In fact. I think I’ll nip out and get some rockmelon for breakfast)
After about 50ml, vitality is flowing again.
My mother is on EPO – you know the stuff athletes cheat with. In her case, she’s in her 60’s and has kidney disease. She describes the feeling immediately after she has her fortnightly injection as ‘making her want to go and jump over a house".
This feels the same. I wonder if they’ll ban it for runners?
Pure Morning Bliss. 2 infusions.
I was about to shoot more on Assam but have gone off on a tangent with this.
I suffered a massive gall bladder attack last night, and rose several hours late, some what aspirin and codeine addled.
The was my saviour.
The whiteness is not exactly sweet, but yet not savoury. Like it exists outside of the normal rules.
3rd infusion highly likely!
OK, so this tea is my current obsession – I’m on my way to drop some change off to my son who is minding a small store today.
I’ve packed two japanese tea cups and a cute purple pot, plus my ever-dwindling Pai Mu Tan
We’ll be taking the water at 97% from the espresso machine, but I think the tea is unsuited to an infuser.
I’ll be commented as this Odyssey unfolds!
As foreshadowed in my last post, it’s now 6:31 and I’ve just added 250ml of boiling water to the 2grams of Pai Mu Tan that I brewed at 9 last night, and then re-steeped around 6:10.
6:33 – Leaves are sooo unfurled, just floating around. Swish the pot and they look like sea creatures drifting.
6:35 – Wisps of ginger coloured liquor are spiralling from the buds
6:37 – just went out to my veggie garden and inhaled the scent of growing tomatoes, capsicum and zucchini. Comparing the scent to the tea, but it’s not really the same.
6:49 – Has the scent of a rainforest. And it’s time.
It sparkled like a mountain stream as I poured it. And taste is delicate – like teak and oak and blueberries.
Might be my tea experience of the day!
I had a lovely cup of this exquisite white at 9pm. Drained the leaves, left them overnight and added boiling water at 6am when I arose.
Delightful. Smooth and soft, still has that characteristic gentle woody, fruity palate.
As soon as I finish, I’ll have another go. Think of the antioxidants!
Had six cups of this over the last two days. Rapidly becoming a favourite!
Nice slow steep brings out a mellow flavour. No bitterness.
Frangrant from about 5min steeping. Absolutely recommended to drain the pot as you drink and then resteep about 4 times over the day.
Aftertaste is a gentle lingering sweetness
Never have been able to source this one, but the price is still right at the Fox Farm bulk bin at a whopping 31 cents an ounce. It’s my husband’s favorite summer iced tea. Some oolongs get bitter when you sun-tea or cold steep them; this one has a roasted, nutty personality that takes abuse nicely.
It’s been my favorite kind of “get-to” day…been busy puttering (manufacturing a “fingerprint recognition sensor” for 9-year-olds with a ziplock bag of aloe vera gel) and shopping (buy 2, get 1 free used books at Vintage Stock). Believe I’ll pour me a big glass of this, put my feet up and rest from my exertions.
I may be able to source this one later; a work friend brought it to me and said she’d snap a phone picture of the box. She was disappointed because, and I quote, “I paid $15 for it and it smells like fish and paint thinner.”
(No, it doesn’t.)
Steeped, it has that characteristic, upper-end, fruity oolong fragrance. Nice yellow-orange color. Silky texture. Flavor is on the toasty end of the spectrum. Lick-lippy astringency.
This anonymous family favorite is launching my first excursion into cooking with tea. We found a lookalike recipe for P.F. Chang’s oolong marinated sea bass online and it’s soaking in the fridge right now. Well, cod instead of sea bass…availability and frugality caused that substitution. (The beauty is the fact we haven’t tasted the original yet, so we won’t know if it’s way off the mark!)
I’m thinking the store may have switched up—or mixed—the leaves in my favorite cheapie bulk bin oolong. This batch wasn’t as large and stemmy as I usually expect, but still a nice green-and-brown blend. Yard mulch. Steeped up light and nutty for a morning-long writing session yesterday; the rest wasn’t bad chilled. And still 31 cents an ounce, bless the store. Can’t beat that.
This still continues to be my favorite cheap-keep-the-canister-filled-at-all-times tea; someday I shall ask to see the bag so I can actually see the brand. (Yeah, I’m sure the store clerk will enjoy toting a 50-pound feed sack off the top shelf just to entertain the customer…)
In the meantime, I played a bit this morning and did 2 parts shaved unsweetened coconut chips to 1 part of these oolong leaves. I believe I’ve found a new favorite blend-in. Coconut and …. any suggestions?
Still haven’t unearthed the brand of this nice (and wonderfully inexpensive!) bulk tea from favorite local store, though I see big ol’ 25-pound bags on their shelves with characters I can’t deciper. It looks a little leafy and woody and stemmy dry, but is still a good pantry staple, especially on days when you want to be tugged awake instead of booted out the door.