321 Tasting Notes
The last of this for a while. We’re leaving for the holidays in less than a week and aside from the truly dear things like the pu-erh cake, I want to use up as much leaf as is reasonable so nothing’s getting stale while it sits. I won’t buy anything new, I don’t think, until after New Year’s day.
Wuyi oolongs really are ideal for cloudy, blustery, gloomy days. Toasty but with that hint of sweetness that anything just a tiny bit burnt always has. The kind of tea that makes you wrap both hands around the mug and just… unclench. I did two short steepings with three cups of water and strained them into one of my larger ceramic (Western style) tea pots.
I have to keep reminding myself that here in Houston, this weather is only going to last at most 8 weeks, not 8 months. I do wish the grass had more time to recover from the severe Summer drought before it is forced to go dormant, but it doesn’t look like the weather will cooperate.
I have been sleeping with a headband with earphones built into it this past week, listening to Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports vol 1” and it is kind of shaping my entire mood throughout each day — it reminds me a bit of the videophile kid in American Beauty — although hopefully a bit more healthy than that. People who think electronic music, especially ambient music, is something that a 4 year old with a laptop could make should read about the process that went into producing that album.
I think this must be another Central Market exclusive, because it isn’t on the RoTea website, either.
I seem to have picked up a djinn that attracts The Crazy to all my social networks. I am hoping that the phoenix can dispel the djinn.
If nothing else, it tastes good. A bit like a darjeeling, but with the floral scent over the top.
The leaves for this tea are enormous.
Houston is having an atypically long stint of gloom.
I decided to try to brighten it with some of this bright green tea.
The cup has a very thick mouth feel today. Maybe I did a better job preparing it than I did the last time. But the problem with truly fantastic shaded green teas which are steeped correctly is that they’re mild by definition. They’re subtle. There shouldn’t be anything in the cup that leaps out and grabs you by the nose.
Which, while it makes for a very soothing cup of tea, does make it very difficult to get all that excited about any one particular cup.
We have another Japanese green in the house that Liz got while she was in Tokyo, much less high end, and yes, I can taste the difference between the two. But unless I was having a very special meal that required the pairing or I was hosting a very formal gathering, I’m hard pressed to come up with a justification for spending the money on this kind of tea when the “pay back” is so much less obvious than it is in other categories of tea (where the pay off can be enormous in some cases).
Info from RoTea received! Wow, that was fast. Their customer service is kind of awesome.
Second steeping reminds me a great deal of the Pu Er 2002 Naka (Lahu) which I got from CS a few years ago. That taste of hot cabin wood, combined with a deep loam and wet stone.
Again, not for the novice, this. But then, sheng isn’t for the novice in general, come to think of it.
I may have to commit heresy on a later occasion and subject this stuff to a marathon steeping with fresh leaf just to see how the two differ.
I am a bit sad I can’t provide more information on this tea. RoTea seems to be unaware that they sell it. Once I get info from them, I’ll update.
The dry leaf (still in big chunks of the original cake) has very little odor. Surprisingly little, in fact.
But the wet leaf is potent, sharp, dank and smokey. There are strong notes of mesquite as well as that classic hot-cabin-wood-in-the-summer-sun smell I associate with raw pu-erh.
That smokey bite is just in the leaf odor, however, the cup itself retains none of it, leaving behind a dank, musty, tingling bog of mouth drying complexity.
This is one of those teas you don’t want to make for friends who are novice tea people. They will think you are utterly bonkers for wanting to drink this. Me? I’m spell bound. Just a few sips and I can feel the grand heavenly cycle beginning to churn.
I wish I’d made this at 7:30AM I might have been in better shape to face the day.
Oh, silly, silly, pyramid tea prison.
Your mesh is too fine to take on water rapidly. Your mesh is too fine to allow a good agitation of the water past the leaves.
Oddly, the leaf in there must be pretty good, because in spite of all these obstacles, the resultant cup is actually neither 2D nor weak.
This didn’t work nearly as well as I remembered it working. I think it needs some mint in it as an addition to the licorice &c.
I happen to like proper licorice, so the flavor doesn’t bother me and it did loosen up some chest congestion for an hour or two which was nice when trying to fall asleep.
Combined with a metholyptus cough drop this would probably work wonders.
Now this is how you floral scent a tea.
There is no presence of the flower on the dry leaf at all.
The wet leaf does not hit you with a bomb of flowers the way so many do.
There is just the tiniest hint of a floral sweetness behind a gentle, but firm toasted finish in the liqueur.
So, after complaining about the pong of this tea yesterday, given that my cold keeps getting worse, I decided “maybe if I can’t smell it, I won’t care” and opted to try to use some up.
Generous portion of leaf into a small pot, rinsed, and then very short (less than 10 seconds) steepings. I’m up to #6 and so far, no pong.
Maybe this is a tea that just really, really, really shouldn’t be steeped for any real length of time — unlike every other wuyi oolong out there?
I recently got a quantity of Rishi brand wuyi because I was at Whole Foods not Central Market. It has accomplished nothing but to help me more deeply appreciate this one from RoTea. The Rishi has this utterly overwhelming… pong. I swear, that tea has body odor. And no matter how short or how long the steep, no matter how many steeps you do, you can’t get rid of it.
But this wuyi from RoTea is almost like a Darjeeling on steroids. Light, crisp, toasty and bold.
My pepper flake incident has exploded into a full blown head cold and so today is all about tea.