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Recent Tasting Notes
So yesterday I was at a cafe and ordered some rose green tea, thinking that it would be the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. There were tea leaves scooped into some sort of disposable t-sac-like pouch and dumped into some hot water. It smelled deliciously rosy, but tasted like rose-flavored soap. Oh, well, at least it kept my hands warm for a bit. I have yet to find a convenient cafe to go to that actually cares about their tea a little more than just offering it on the menu as an alternative to coffee.
So my mom got me this gift set for my birthday, right, and it included a cute little glass tea pot, a glass infuser, two double wall teacups, and a bag of blooming teas. This was an incredibly sweet gesture. We live in different states and don’t communicate very often. The fact that she not only picked up on and remembered that I have a liking *cough obsession *cough with tea, but that she also went out of her way to do a whole gift set says a lot.
It’s been a couple months, and while I’ve wanted to try out the set I really didn’t want to test that tea O.o
She asked me today if I had tried it yet (and incidentally I was actually thinking about testing it out) and to send her a pic of the bloomed tea. The “tea making experience” is a lot of fun with this, and I would love to do this for a few friends- HOWEVER- not with this tea. Unless of course, you like tea that tastes like you accidentally steeped your paper napkin instead of your tea. blargh.
Bottom line? I love my little tea pot and will use it for other blooming teas once I muster up the courage to try some.
When you’re a professional writer… sometimes you just don’t feel like writing just for pleasure. I’ve had a lot of tea musings in my head that I would love to get on paper… But, physically, I have not been able to in a long time.
This tea is great. Utterly comforting. There’s not much more I can say about it other than what I said in my previous note. It’s woody and earthy and campfire like. It’s a hearty but light tea. It just reminds me of experiencing the woods at night, with a roaring fire blazing through a pile of wild trees in the distance.
Sometimes, you really need to step back and realize just how much work does into everything you appreciate. Just imagine how much was done to create one little pu cake… or one ounce of a dancong… Imagine how many people have had to work tirelessly in the heat and at all hours to create this thing for you to enjoy. When I think about that… tea seems even more powerful to me. I wish that I was in the position to give back to those who have done so much for this world.. Maybe one day…
I’m sorry for the lack of notes lately… I want to write them… I just.. I need to be in the place to.
There are a handful of teas that truly haunt me in the most beautiful way – this tea is one of them. Thinking of the tea calls to mind a giant forest, wolves weaving in and out of tall trees, almost hidden from the eye, a small man-made fire in the far off distance assaulting their senses. Smoke, fresh upturned soil, thick, ancient trees, winter, leaves – the notes in this tea are absolutely everything I love about tea. What an amazing thing. Truly, everyone, think about how amazing tea is. One plant has given us so very much.
The highly amusing IM conversation between a friend and I who bought the same tea:
me: WOW. this is slightly smoky. seems like sweet roasted bark
friend: I KNOWWWW
me: so mellow and sweet
friend: IT’S AMAZINGGGG, ISN’T IT?
friend: honestly..it’s one of my favorite teas ever
me: I’m amazed by this. it’s a taste that I have never had before. wow. this strange sweetness. like… the sweetness of pure nature. it evokes such a clear image of a forest with crackling sounds
friend: the way i was describing it to my friends is that it tastes like it’s roasted or kettle-cooked. it’s like they found a way to make “puer kettle chips” and then turned that into a tea. OMG YES. I CAN’T STOP TYPING IN CAPS
me: YEAH. YEAHHHHH. kettle cooked
At Christmas I usually get a mug from someone. Usually it has some tea in it. Usually it is bad unless it is Twinings. This is not Twinings. A little silver bag with 4 tagless, stringless, teabags inside. The dust did plump kinda well. The cup is cloudy but green. This may contain lemongrass. It is not the fake candy lemon typically in these bags but it just is sub par. I really can’t taste tea. My mom would like it. So another Cheapster Steepster Sunday Sip Down for me and special delivery to mom who thinks Lipton green tea is just fine.
Pure. Light. Vegetal. Creamy mouth-feel. It reminds me so much of Long Jing.. I think this is a perfect green tea for those who want to relax. It’s not as powerful as a good Long Jing, it’s just soothing, mellow, and flavorful. It has a nice length to it, not very long, but still long enough. :)
Had a very nice po lei at Dim Sum this afternoon. Nice, standard loose shu. It was perfect for drinking and chatting.
The tail end of the third pot:
Best Jin Jun Mei that I have ever had. I have been lucky enough to have this tea twice and was just gifted a serving of it by two wonderful people! It’s a shame that this tea is not sold anywhere inside or outside of China. It’s a rare gem. Hopefully, I will be able to taste it again in my lifetime after I finish the sample I was given.
1st infusion: bold, malty, only very very faintly smoky, full, complex, ending with smooth, coats the tongue with almost creaminess
2nd infusion: more red in color, getting smoother
3rd onward: more and more smooth, color increases in red and then decreases after 5th infusion
We drank this gong-fu style in a zisha clay pot. We did several infusions. The first we used to rinse the leaves and cups, and then tossed. The second we drank. Whoa. This is like the smoked whiskey of teas. Very heady woodsy scent with lots of shiitake mushroom. A bit bitter on the back of your tongue. The mouthfeel was pretty dry and flat. I didn’t like that very much.
Four more infusions in, the color and taste started to lighten up. It began to have an almost creamy texture and super subtle sweetness. The mushroom funkiness was still there but much lighter and more pleasant. The scent became more like aged rice paper.
So pu-erh is still not my favorite tea, much like how I don’t like whiskey infused with smokey wood chips. So manly. But I can definitely appreciate its complexity now. Like other fermented things (aged cheese, beer, etc) it has a definite funk. Some like that, some don’t. I like my teas refreshing and bright. This tea is more like a comforting old library with leather chairs and dust motes dancing in the air.