325 Tasting Notes
This steeping is a bit weaker (duh) and much less dusty/dry. All those images I mentioned before are there, but they have been softened by an emerging dried fruit, I want to say papaya. You know, that kind of chewy, dense fruity sweetness that seems like it
should get totally overwhelming, but never quite does? And it isn’t all wet and sloppy like fresh fruit is.
Wow, I’m turning into a total nut ball trying to talk tea.
This was one of my “go to” teas when we were fortunate enough to live in Chicago and frequently be in the neighborhood of the TeaG retail shop on State St.
Unlike most white teas, this is not a sweet, floral tea. This tea makes me think of very dry, brittle autumn leaves, the inside of a barn that has soaked up an entire summer’s worth of sun (old hay, dust, they way hot, dry boards smell), and the pie judging tent at the 4H fair.
This is actually a tea better suited for an unexpectedly cold, blustery day than for the explosions of spring, but I liked it so much in Chicago I had to include it in my order.
One thing to be aware of, the leaves are not rolled. At all. So this tea takes up a LOT of room, while dry. I bought 100grams and it doesn’t fit in the tin I can usually get 250grams of tea into.
I used only 8oz of water this time, to the same leaves. Still 70c temperature but bumped to 3 minutes instead of 2.
The result is much more what one would expect, so I think I just flooded the first batch. 2 minutes 30 seconds might have been better, though.
The notes I gave before still apply, they are just much more present in the cup this time. There is a creeping bitterness here that is not unexpected in a second steeping.
I received a small sample of this tea with my recent order.
Even though I used a fairly small pot (600ml, roughly 2 and a third cups) I think this sample wasn’t enough leaf for that much water. The steep is a bit weak, and I’m blaming the water to leaf ratio, not the short steep time or water temperature. I can taste that the notes are correct, just not as present as they should be.
This is one of those bright, Chinese greens that hews more towards fresh hay than grassy. I want to use trite words like floral or sweet, but they’re wrong. I just want to use words like that to emphasize how completely unlike a Japanese green this is (which is what I usually drink) and also how much unlike a roasted Chinese green this is, despite being pan fired. It is really more like a peony white tea with a bit of a fresh hay rather than dry hay flavor to it (that greenness vs. whiteness thing).
I learned yesterday that there is such a thing as “yellow” tea, which attempts to catch the health benefits of green tea but with the flavors of white teas. Apparently a vanishing art due to limited market and expensive processing ~ much tea is now sold as “yellow” that is actually green but is very yellow-esque. I think a less reputable seller could sell this Mao Feng as a “yellow” tea. It really is straddling that fence between white and green.
I wish I had more so I could steep it correctly. Maybe I will pick some up in my summer order.
I used the pyrex technique again.
The leaves open up completely. It looks like you could reconstruct a tea bush from all the pieces.
This comes out much softer this way. The resulting cup is not weak or boring, but the tea tastes less like an oolong and more like a white tea; albeit a very forceful white, if it were one.
I really like it this way.
I’ve been reading this crazy serious tea blog, recently, and I noticed that the author doesn’t steep in pots, he steeps in wide, open bowls. Well, I don’t have hand made, local clay, wire fire glazed tea bowls. But I do have huge, wide, Pyrex™ measuring “cups” that are at least very open and heat resistant. So I have been trying to make tea in those and see how that goes. If nothing else, the clean up is much easier than a tea pot ;-) I have, in the past, used my spherical Bodum™, with the plunger arrangement removed, for this purpose, but the glass is so thin I find there’s a lot of heat lost even in just a couple minutes, and if I’m doing a 15 minute pu-erh steeping, the water can be down to drinking temperature by the time the steep is done. The Pyrex™ is much heavier and should hold the heat better.
It could be completely psychosomatic, but this genmaicha seems to have “woken up” substantially from this steeping approach. I can taste a lot more of the deep green of the tea underneath the very strong roast of the rice which I have mentioned in the past that this variety has. Usually the roast completely overpowers the actual tea, but right now I think I can taste both about equally.
I have also done two steepings of the decaf Darjeeling from TG with this method and the results seemed much bolder, as well.