325 Tasting Notes
I discovered we had a big stash of this from our original sample that never got consumed before the holiday break, so I have been contentedly “sipping it down” each day from my new gaiwan.
This tea fits the gaiwan perfectly. The leaves open up huge and full in the cup, the liqueur is nearly the same color as the cup itself.
I feel like a decadent ex-pat during the 1930’s with this cup and this tea.
Aaaaand we’re back.
I am brewing this up in my brand spanking new gaiwan. Actually I’m brewing it up in my brand spanking new 1 and 2/3’s gaiwan. My sister-in-law got me a gorgeous little number and the first one shipped with a broken saucer, so I have two cups, two lids and one saucer. I’m using the saucerless one to do the steep and strain and I’m drinking from the complete set. (no cups)
So far, this pu-erh doesn’t completely wow me. I want there to be something soft, round and mellow to balance out the sharp notes. Maybe I should wrap it up and age it for a few months or a year.
Today I chose poorly. This tea is all wrong for today. The cheery, light floral back notes are completely at odds not only with the blustery gray day but also the semi-negative anticipation which is building about holiday travel in just a few days time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love visiting them and spending time. In fact, only seeing them once a year for a few days is one of the few genuine disappointments about the current state of my “grown up” life.
But the four hour flight to and from Philadelphia, coupled with the time wasted in both IAH and PHL — dealing with park’n’ride, the complete lack of automated baggage check for people who are already checked into their flight and have already paid for baggage, dealing with the TSA, dealing with the complete lack of anything that actually resembles food in either airport… that I am not looking forward to at all. Thank God we don’t have to deal with connecting flights.
I like the actual act of flying. I find it completely magical. But for the practical task of getting from A to B, I am much more of a road warrior at heart than a jet setter.
I know, I know. First world problems. I’ll shut up and drink my floral tea now.
So we finally brewed our second one of these sample flowering teas from TeaVivre.
This time I filled our globe pot entirely with hot water and then gently lowered the item into it. I used chopsticks to try to hold it submerged while the air leaked out and it began to hydrate. It took a LONG time to do this.
But we did eventually end up with a completely intact
flying spaghetti monster flowering tea display which was very pretty.
I think our globe pot is too big and so the ratio of item to water is all wrong.
But the spectacle of these things is pretty interesting.
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.