109 Tasting Notes
There is something so warm and pleasing about this Yunnan tea. All week, while I was battling migraine headaches and various aches, this was the tea I was craving. It has a great cha-qi (energy) that comes from these big leaves and golden buds. Sweet yet malty with a nice robust flavor and aroma that lingers on and on. This is definitely “comfort in a cup.”
Another interesting combination from Rishi Tea blending organic ginger and pu’erh tea. Not something I would normally look for, even though I enjoy good pu’erh tea and ginger tea as well (especially from fresh ginger). However, it was part of a sampler pack I had purchased and I thought I would give it a try.
Their brewing parameters of 5-6 minutes were a disaster on my first attempt, making a truly undrinkable brew—but when I shortened the time to 3 minutes, at 195 degrees F, it brews up to a really tasty concoction. Dark and earthy, predominantly ginger flavor but with a distinct pu’erh taste supporting. I was amazed to get three nice infusions this way with enough left over to try iced. Mmmm. You have to really like ginger to enjoy this (duh!) and try out the brewing parameters to find a taste that suits you. If the ginger is too prominent, try a second infusion where it tones down a bit.
Such an interesting tea, quite good flavors and a light peppery aroma.
I have been working my way through my sample pack from Obubu, and thought I would make this one today as it is so very warm and humid. I followed their recommended brewing instructions, using my kyusu to hold the entire 5 gram sample. Nice grassy fragrance to the dry leaves, and mix of leaf size as this is aracha (unsorted) tea straight from the farm.
1st steep: 30 seconds at 185F, yields a really nice light emerald green liquid, with slightly peppery aroma to the wet leaves. I can’t resist drinking this hot, saving the second steep for “iced” tea. It has a really nice vegetal taste, with more spinach flavors and grassy undertones. No kelpiness, just a real nice earthy green flavor.
2nd steep: quick 15 second steep at 185F, then poured over ice. This is truly where this tea shines. It tastes amazingly good, refreshing and ‘sparkling’ — but definitely not too sweet. It is beautifully clear, and an appealing gold-green.
I am cold brewing the remaining leaves to see if I can stretch this sample, not only because I am frugal, but because I am really liking this tea! This one is going on my shopping list…
Another very good quality Oolong from China Cha Dao. Nice aroma, slight scent of roasted apples and wood fire. A very mild sweetness to the flavor, and a wonderful feel in the mouth. Beautiful amber color, and you can see nice unfurling of the medium sized leaves.
I fist brewed a sample western style, with about 1 heaping teaspoon for 7 ounces of near boiling water. It lasted for several infusions and really got me hooked. This afternoon I tried brewing gong fu style in a small 150 ml zisha yixing, and the results were equally pleasing.
A very interesting journey in tasting this tea. It is one that I have enjoyed very much and look forward to drinking again.
Back in June, I ordered an Ito En Matcha Gift set from Amazon.com for about $30, that included a chawan (tea bowl), chashaku (bamboo scoop/spoon), chasen (tea whisk) and some matcha tea. I had no idea that the Tea’s Tea ceremonial grade matcha would be so good, and has quickly become my matcha of choice for usucha — or “thin/light tea.” I just checked out Ito En’s website (https://www.itoen.com/matcha-teas-tea-7-oz-can.html) and now they even have it on sale for less than $10 for a tin. A great deal, and now I see they even won an award for this Tea — I am not surprised!
Another very nice tea from Obubu Tea Plantations in Kyoto. I have been drinking this today using the parameters specified by Obubu, and it makes for a very pleasant set of infusions of a very bright and lightly buttery character. Nice vegetal taste with only a slight touch of bitterness in the first steep. It doesn’t take much imagination to taste the “early summer sun shining brightly.”
A really nice healthy green taste; It goes well with food, but I am enjoying it all on it’s own!
This morning I finished up the last of my sample of Mt. Yiwu Sheng Pu’er, and I am truly sorry to see it go. It is one of the top three Sheng Pu’er teas that I have ever tasted, and shares this honor with the two other Sheng Pu’er teas I received in my Verdant Tea sampler. So nice that a company uses it’s sampler to put their best foot forward and tries to gain you as a customer.
Through multiple infusions, this tea takes you on a journey that is both quiet and adventurous. It is a walk through a rain filled forest, with stops along the way for a taste of spicyness, a later nibble at pear or apple, and a sniff of moss, mushrooms and distant campfire. Sorry if my description is a bit too imaginative, and should perhaps be more prosaic, but this Pu’er (along with the Verdant Teas ‘06 Artisan Revival and ’03 Mt Banxhang) gets me excited about Chinese Pu’er like no others.
The aroma of the dry leaves and stems is very pleasant, with a grassy vegetal quality that is reminiscent of fresh cut hay and autumn breezes. The stems in my sample were quite prominent, and sturdier than those in the Yanagi Bancha sample I had tried previously, but the leaves were very fine, and a beautiful dark green.
Using my kyusu I did three extractions of this sample, all using approximately 3.5 ounces of water:
1st steep: 45 seconds at 180 F
2nd steep: a quick steep of only about 10 seconds at 180 F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at 180 F
The wet leaves have an amazing aroma, unlike any sencha I have tried before. An almost peppery quality like mustard greens, but this does not come through in the tea. All three infusions were of similar quality in being a bright yellow green, clear, refreshing and well balanced. There are some nice grassy undertones and a softness that is similar to many spring time pickings.
This would make a nice accompaniment to almost any meal, but is very pleasant to drink all alone. Another very nice tea from Obubu. :)