88

I have never had a tea give me such a strong sense of deja vu. I don’t mean “oh wait, I think I’ve had this before” deja vu. I mean, “What is that smell? What is that incredibly floral smell? I’ve smelled it before…in the evening…in happier times…” After one cup I’ve got it narrowed down to either summer camp, or sometime in college. But I’m not pushing my brain to really remember. I’m happy to just smell this tea, and linger on the verge of remembering something happy.

This is my first gongfu brewing and I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I’m using the instructions Dave from Verdant Tea sent with the shipment (wow, this is the first tea I’ve ordered that comes with full documentation!) but my gaiwan, which JUST came in the mail today from China, doesn’t have a little pouring spot on the edge, so I’m still very amateurish in my handling of the pouring process. I’m steeping for the correct number of seconds—and then I’m taking a minute and a half to pour! So I’m sure I’m oversteeping.

But this tea shows no signs of bitterness. It is relentlessly floral thus far (rinse, 1 brew which I’m finishing drinking, four brews that went into a pitcher for tomorrow’s iced tea), a light yellowy-green color, with a lovely, almost minty undertone. I’m still learning what people mean when they call a tea “sweet” (besides actual sugar); I think this is a type of sweetness, one I could get used to! Not the slightly cloying sweetness of teas with actual flower flavors added, but the sweetness of really good mineral or spring water, light and cool on the tongue. So tasty and refreshing.

This is becoming hard to describe…I’m going to go get another infusion and add that note later.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Spoonvonstup

I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say you’ve smelled this before, in the evening.

Earlier this year, towards the end of spring, I stepped out the back of my apartment. It’s was cool but the air was thick. Down the street, there are some huge lilac bushes, and they were blooming. The grass had just been cut, and it had rained a few hours earlier (water still on the ground).
I inhaled, and the smell was this Tieguanyin. It didn’t remind me of the tea; it actually was the smell of the tea.
This experience probably happened to me four more times. Were there lilac bushes near summer camp or college?

As for the gaiwan: I have really small hands (seriously.. my pinky nail looks like it belongs to a toddler with thin fingers), so I also often have trouble pouring. I practiced with just plain cool water until I was confident with tilting the lid in just the right way and mastering the pouring motion without dropping the gaiwan. I also used a much thicker one to start off with than I use now.
Then I burned my fingers a few times… which helps, actually. Generally, I’ve found that the faster I pour, the easier it is. If I let the water sit in the gaiwan too long, it’s actually heating the ceramic of the gaiwan towards 201degrees! Definitely not fun to handle.

Hope you keep having fun with your gaiwan!

Gillyflower

Thanks Spoonvonstup, I just found your comment. It’s entirely possible there were lilacs at college (it was a small campus in a residential neighborhood, and I was still there in early June every year) but not at camp, as I was only there after the lilacs had bloomed and gone!

Thanks also for your ideas of how to get more used to the gaiwan. I haven’t done any substantial gaiwan activity since the first time I tried this tea. Sounds to me like if you can do it, I can too! I will take your advice and practice with cool water until I’m more confident with pouring. My gaiwan is glass, which may even heat up quicker than your ceramic one, so I don’t know if the fast pour will help, but it’s worth a try.

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Spoonvonstup

I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say you’ve smelled this before, in the evening.

Earlier this year, towards the end of spring, I stepped out the back of my apartment. It’s was cool but the air was thick. Down the street, there are some huge lilac bushes, and they were blooming. The grass had just been cut, and it had rained a few hours earlier (water still on the ground).
I inhaled, and the smell was this Tieguanyin. It didn’t remind me of the tea; it actually was the smell of the tea.
This experience probably happened to me four more times. Were there lilac bushes near summer camp or college?

As for the gaiwan: I have really small hands (seriously.. my pinky nail looks like it belongs to a toddler with thin fingers), so I also often have trouble pouring. I practiced with just plain cool water until I was confident with tilting the lid in just the right way and mastering the pouring motion without dropping the gaiwan. I also used a much thicker one to start off with than I use now.
Then I burned my fingers a few times… which helps, actually. Generally, I’ve found that the faster I pour, the easier it is. If I let the water sit in the gaiwan too long, it’s actually heating the ceramic of the gaiwan towards 201degrees! Definitely not fun to handle.

Hope you keep having fun with your gaiwan!

Gillyflower

Thanks Spoonvonstup, I just found your comment. It’s entirely possible there were lilacs at college (it was a small campus in a residential neighborhood, and I was still there in early June every year) but not at camp, as I was only there after the lilacs had bloomed and gone!

Thanks also for your ideas of how to get more used to the gaiwan. I haven’t done any substantial gaiwan activity since the first time I tried this tea. Sounds to me like if you can do it, I can too! I will take your advice and practice with cool water until I’m more confident with pouring. My gaiwan is glass, which may even heat up quicker than your ceramic one, so I don’t know if the fast pour will help, but it’s worth a try.

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Hi, I’m a librarian, SCA member, and tea lover from Madison, WI. I’ve been drinking tea all my life, but have recently become more of a fanatic about it. Single, straight, and looking. Would love to take a date to one of the great tea places here in Madison!

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