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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea: some 2011 Dayi shu puer that was sent to me, unlabeled
Prep: 60cc gaiwan, 4gish? boiling water, quick steeps
Sessions with this tea: 1
Taste: Very mild fermentation notes. Light leather and vanilla. Doesn’t evolve much across steepings. Later steepings bring in a kind of “pulpwood/paper” taste, which yes I am familiar with from chewing paper in grade school. Don’t ask.
Body: A lot less thick than what I expected. Fairly moderate thickness, the earthy feeling lingers a bit, and I feel strength in my jaw and upper neck. Get a bit of heaviness in the stomach also, not pleasant.
Not usually a huge shu fan, and this was sent to me by a friend to try something different. Is definitely on the lightweight side. Would have to ask to find out what this is, but I don’t care much to ask.
2011 Xing Ren Xiang Almond Aroma dancong, from Tea Habitat
Summary: I dunno if almond aroma or almond flower aroma, but I certainly convinced myself of the nuts
Prep: 100cc gaiwan, full of leaves, boiling flash infusions at first. After infusion 5, dropped temp to 190 and increased steeps out to chase flavor
Sessions with this tea: just the 1 so far
Taste: Ok I convinced myself I got the almond flavor as soon as it gets in the mouth. Closed my nose, no almond. Opened my nose, almond. Maybe I’m crazy? Is very fleeting flavor though. I didn’t get a lot else from this tea, mildly floral, mildly nutty.
Body: light and smooth together, not as “bright” as I tend to think of dancongs
Not a beginner tea? I felt like I was tinkering a lot to draw out the essence. Maybe I need more sessions with it.
kuding cha from LP’s mystery buy.
having this a second time; i still like it. probably going to have to order more. i’ve been using 2 “nails” : 80ml, gongfu style. last time i did it more bowl style. both are good. definitely bitter, with a sweetness. idk, i like it, but i can see how it would be polarizing. :P definitely something to be in the mood for.
I’m trying out this tuo that matu sent me—“I didn’t like it, so now it’s your problem!” It’s a “2013 Menghai (region, not factory) raw I randomly bought on eBay.”
Dry leaf has no strong smell—I’m picking up a bit of menthol or mint lifesavers or something but that might be my nose playing tricks on me. Nice and easy to pick apart, not too dense. My crappy oyster knife did just fine.
Rinse: lid smell is pretty much neutral green tea. Soup is more amber than yellow. 1st steep (5s): lid smell is underspiced pot roast. Taste is astringent and chalky, I can barely taste through the bitterness. Dumped this steep after a few sips. 2nd steep (5s): lid smell is composting dried autumn leaves. Even though the water temp fell to ~203 for this steep it is far too astringent. The aftertaste isn’t very pleasant but it is going deep which is nice. I’m getting little teases of fruit but I can’t pin it down. Also dumped most of this steep. 3rd steep (7-8s, 195F): lid smell is a children’s playground wood chip bedding after rain and a couple kids peed their pants. I’m really smelling urine deep in the background. A little bit less bitter, not sure if it’s the water temp or it’s just chilling out. Tasting orange pith. Astringency is still there and not feeling great. 4th steep (12s, reboiled): Still getting a little bit of urine smell but mostly just wet earth/wood/grass. God, why am I still drinking this? My mouth is so dry. Bitterness is manageable at this point but it is still so astringent. Getting some cigarette ash notes.
I might do as Matu suggested and use this as pick practice.
Had the ball from the pubertea group buy today. I can’t remember if that was a “surprise” from LP or if I just can’t remember what the mterial there was. Either way, I enjoyed this one a lot. This was probably my favorite tea from that buy so far. No idea what the material here was or quality, but i thought this was great. The ball took a good three steps before it really opened up at all, but steeps 4-7 were fantastic. This had a sweater than the YQH and EOT stuff and was very easy to chug cup after cup. It didn’t last horribly long, and got to pretty mellow steeps a bit earlier than I would have liked for how good the mid stages were, but I also hit the first couple rinses/steeps fairly hard to get the ball opened up.
Also, this ball had enormous in tact leaves in it for being a rolled ball. Yeah there was chopped up stuff here and there, but several huge stems with two leaves and a bud each. That alone tells me this was much nicer than your average chopped up factory scraps used for many pu balls.
Enjoyed some lazers today from a friend. Unfortunately I should have taken better notes on the flavor, but a few things stand out. There were some seriously huge intact leaves in this sample. No dust, no fragments, all enormous full leaves. This was also a pretty powerful tea that kept going for many, many steeps. I didn’t count, but it had to have been at least 18-20.
First Pubertea tasting!
I debated not putting up any thoughts on this session as it was very lackluster, and only decided to describe it here after the last couple steeps. Anyways, here’s my first crack at the aged group buy teas: the 2006 YQH QiXiang.
I steeped roughly 5 g’s in an English tea cup using a mesh basket so this was very dilute compared to normal puer preparation. For this reason the first five or six steeps were basically warm water with zero flavor even after the leaves opened up a bit. Becoming frustrated with wasting part of my sample of such a nice tea I started pushing the steeps hotter and longer trying to get notes of something. I got a few generic aged notes from steeps 6/7-11 or so before finally getting what I wanted. By this point I was to fairly long boiling steeps and finally got to know what the tea was about. Even being so dilute and well steeped this tea became a pleasant surprise. The quality material showed itself in these long, hot steeps. A pleasant mouthfeel and thickness was present coating my teeth and leaving a smooth sweetness. I could see this tea giving a good tea drunk feeling with more leaf in less water as I felt a little of this effect late into the day after 16 or so cups. This could also make the tea more interesting hopefully as from what I tasted this tea had a good texture and lingering feeling in the mouth but a very one dimensional taste.
So, my health-seeking/improving journey continues. Saw a naturopath for the first time the other day who suggested, among other things, that I include coconut oil in my nutrition plan. Yeah, I am continuing the One Night in Rio and Brazilian Fruit, as in previous post, now with the addition of a bit of coconut oil. A bit odd, but it works.
I continue to play with the combination of One Night in Rio by Camellia Sinensis, Pineapple Marshmallow by 52teas, and Brazilian Fruit by Mighty Leaf Tea: two out of three, and today three out of three. The possible combinations fascinate me.Today, it’s half Brazilian Fruit and a quarter each of One Night in Rio and Pineapple Marshmallow. I wanted the ka-pow of the Chinese black base in BF, the pineapple and coconut fruit of ONIR, and the marshmallow softness in the PM. Mission accomplished. I added a spoon of honey to bring the fruit out even more.
Today’s tea was a bit of a mystery. Ok, I assume it is a Ceylon, but the mystery was how to drink it.
At first, I just found that it brewed a super weak cup of tea. Forget about a second steep from these leaves!
However, I tried to up the amount of tea used to three small tea spoons. The flavour was now a good ceylon. Although I still couldn’t get resteeps out of it. The tea was a real orange colour in a clear cup or a rose colour in a darker cup.
I think the lesson here is that you need to experiment with your teas to bring the best out of them. Price is definitely a factor in teas you need to use more of. $10 / 100g is a good price, $20 is not!
Today’s random steeping is an Earl Grey from Singell Estate in Darjeeling. The bergamot flavour is light enough to be enjoyable. The scent is milder. Bergamot is a type of orange, but is a little different. It is neither like the lemon or lime that I have freshly squeezed in my tea. The tea itsslf is a black darjerling. I believe the use of this tea as opposed to a more full bodied tea lets the bergamot shine through. The colour is closer to a lighter ceylon.
This is the green tea that I picked up for $10 for 100 grams. I decided to try strong brewing it, so I weighed out 10 g of the tea. 200 mL of water was used at a cooler temperature, around 150 to 160 F.
The tea had a shimmery golden appearance. The taste was vegetal. With sugar, it brightened up, but still was on the oceanic vegetal side.
The second brewing was also vegetal. Although this time there was a strong vegetal / mineral smell. Quite unusual.
By the third steeping the tea had mellowed in flavour.
After reading about Russian Caravan Tea, I decided to try making a blend. This is probably not caravan tea though.
I chose these three to blend:
Darjerling Black (Unknown)
Oolong Supreme (Davids Tea)
Lapsang Souching (Unknown)
I used 1 teaspoon of each tea for my cup. I mixed in 1 table spoon of honey and 3 teaspoons of sugar (roughly). I also added milk.
I was surprised at how incredibly smoky this tea was. It is like the other teas are enhancing the smokiness and enabling me to appreciate the flavours of the wood.
The body of the tea is a bit lighter. The honey rounds it out.
I can’t really pick out any strong flavours. Though the front of my tongue is tingling with unami.
I think traditionally you want to go heavier when mixing with a smokey tea. However, I think this experiment showed that blending with lighter teas can enhance the smokiness.
Now if I had only made some toast and jam to go with this. Ok, second steeping too light and smokey. Tried the toast and jam too.
Today’s random steepin is a food pairing of Humpty Dumpty Cheese Sticks (Puffs really) with Japanese House matcha.
The matcha was prepared with 120 mL of water and one teaspoon of powder.
I choose the cheese puffs based on how long the cheese flavour lasted. You get a real salty flavour.
Reading the ingredient list there is real cheese and also msg which should be interesting with matcha. The idea is to alternate tea and snack as opposed to drinking them together. This makes the matcha super refreshing, but also shortens how long it lasts in taste. You will also feel like you want two bowls instead of one. It goes quickly.
I also like to add sugar to my matcha. I got the acidity of the green tea for sure. The lovely greeness contrasts the orange colour of a cheese puff. There was definitely some good flavour in the matcha, and I do believe the contrast brought it out.
This matcha has been sitting for about a month since it was opened, and I think it may be moving towards a vegetable flavour.
Next time I might try a spicy Dorito. :)
Today’s random steeping is rather unique. Firstly because it uses well aged Bai Mu Dan. And secondly, because of the advanced brewing technique. The idea is to use ice to super cold brew over a long period of time. Simply place the ice in a large bowl along with the tea and cover the bowl. Come back 6 to 8 hours later. The tea is done when the ice is melted.
10 g of aged Bai Mu Dan tea was used to produce only 200 mL of tea.
The resulting liquid had an orange colour to it. There was a definite floral / tea aroma from the bowl. Evrn though the colour waa orange, the tea was smoother than from hot brewing.
You may want to prepare some simple syrup for sweetener. I decided to use honey that I warmed up in the microwave.
Afterwards, I tried to see if I could still make tea. Using 200 mL boiling water on the ice cold leaves extracted maximum flavour. I got the most wonderful hay / grass like tea. It was like a farmers field right after harvest. The tea was orange coloured as well.
The final brewing with hot water gave a more traditional tea taste.
The advantage of this method is that it supposedly brings out the natural sweetness of the tea I think somewhat like icewine brings out the flavour of the grape. I look forward to trying it with green teas in the future.
This morning I decided that I would start the day with two bowls of matcha and a plate of watermelon. I then followed this with a couple of cups of Long Jing and some toaster waffles with syrup.
I really like the combination of matcha with sugar, prepared traditionally, and watermelon. You take a sip of one and then later a bite of the other. I have yet to try it with many other fruits, I am sure it would work well, though. This mornings matcha was dark green and the froth was lighter colour. It contrasts so well with the red of the watermelon. You can also reverse the order with supersweet fruits and leave the matcha unsweetened.
My taste buds were primed by the time I had my first sip of Long Jing. I was in a sort of sudden matcha enduced calm, as well. It was sweet and brothlike with plenty of umami. Really delicious.
I look forward to many years of drinking tea. It has opened up quite a world to me.
Today’s random steeping isn’t so random. In fact, for once, I know exactly what I am drinking.
I actually went out to buy chinese bud tea. Looking at the $15 price made me think twice though. Instead, I picked up 1 KG of raw Ontario Grade 1 honey.
I figured that this would go a lot further than 40g of buds.
For the third steeping of David’s Long Jing, I cranked up the heat to full, and dumped the hot water in 4g of tea.
The brew came out yellow, and I mixed in a tablespoon of honey. If you put in too much honey, it will sour your tea. So what I do is add a couple teaspoons of sugar. You get sweetness plus the florals of honey. Unfortunately this particular honey didn’t overwhelm me with floweriness. Tasting the honey, I get a caramel like flavour with delicious sweetness, it moves to hurting the throat. On the other hand, it does provide quite a bit of taste in the cup.
It was a dark and rainy day.
My cat had positioned himself next to the window,
because he wanted to be as close to the outside
as possible without getting wet.
I took a sip from cup.
A strange grin appeared on my lips
and an insane look of joy
showed in my eyes as I shouted: It’s ALIVE!
I have finally brought my evil creation to life!
There was a smokey smell emanating from my cup,
It reminded me of the day the Quebec forrest burned.
But there was something else in my cup,
A certain darkness that came from the strength
Of ceylon combined with
The fruitiness of assam.
Alone, this wouldn’t have been tasty,
What brought it to life was this:
LOTS OF MILK AND SUGAR!
I know what you are thinking. Who wouldn’t want to cover up the disguting rotted fish odour of puehr tuo cha with chocolate? After all, there us nothing unusual about that.
Well, this one turned out suprisingly delish.
I rinsed the tuo cha for about 3o seconds and threw it in.
Next I broke off 1/4 of a chocholate bar with rice crisps. Tossed it in a bag and smashed
It with a bottle of olive oil.
3 minutes later I had something dark and delicious.
Puehr is filled with funky notes that go well with milk chocolate.
The search continues for an inexpensive, yet tasty green tea to fill my cup.
This time I picked up an unnamed Chinese Wulu for $10 / 100g.
While that is more expensive than the last tin at $6 / 110g,
I think that the tea is tastier.
I used 4 grams and 400 mL of water and got two good steeps out of it.
This might actually be my new everyday green.
I might even be able to eat the leaves from this.
That’s the one thing I love about Long Jing.
Those wok fired leaves are so easy to eat.
The first steeping waa about 200 mL with 4 grams of tea. I had to add a bit of water to make it more drinkable after steeping. Just a plain black tea. Not too exciting.
Second steeping I went for closer to 400 mL. This time the tea really opened up and became delicious, on the tea and citrus side plus something extra. It took quite a bit of sugar to get there, as you would expect with a tea as strong as Assam.
I didn’t get a lot of aroma from this tea.
You should be able to hold a good tea in your mouth and continue to get flavour from it. This assam delivers that.
The colour was orange / red.
Update: This was made for milk and sugar. It’s an Assam all right!
Today was 34 C. So I picked a tea that would remind me of a summer bonfire. It’s odd that we celebrate the heat with even more heat, but in another way it’s accepting of summer.
What I love about this tea is that you can breath the flavour in after drinking it.
The tea base itself was mild and unobtrusive. How can I describe the smoke demons that dance on my tongue. There are so many types of wood to use. Previous teas have tasted like burning green pine needles. Acrid. There was a little of that, but overall it was smooth. Perhaps this was from Wuyi, as there were greens beside this. This is a lot milder than what I have had before. The liquor was a lighter orange red.
The only experience I get like this is real bbq. Smoking ribs, brisket, and pork.
Well, maybe smoked salmon too. And of course maple syrup.I will have to wait for the return of winter and enjoy this while standing on a huge snow bank.
Lapsang Souchong unknown.
Flavors: Smoke, Wood
Second Flush Darjerling
Brewed Lighter Ceylon Orange Colour
BOP I suppose
It’s a nice clean black tea. It’a so easy to drink. The aroma just reminds me of what tea should smell like. So yummy.
Iced it is great too. There was a bit of a dry spot on my tongue because of this tea. Umami?
I was reading someone say they didn’t enjoy darleeling. This tea makes that easy.
Price about $12 / 100 g