323 Tasting Notes
Old school, lazy Western style, today.
Enough leaf for 4 cups of water, three minute steep. I’ll probably only get two, maybe three steeps this way, but that’s still anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of a gallon from two tablespoons.
This tea is the precise opposite of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
Another fine tea sent from Tokyo by Liz. We had a bit of an adventure getting details to log this one.
I’m always amazed at how different gyokuro is from other sencha. A bad metaphor I always think of is the difference (and similarity) of lard to bacon grease.
Perhaps more apt in this case is a plate of steamed spinach leaves versus a plate of steamed spinach leaves drenched in melted butter and salt.
The key word here of course is umami.
This tea produces a downright frothy, brothy cup. Bright, pale green, deeply vegetal and coating the mouth throughout. The texture lingers in the mouth long after one has swallowed.
I believe I will save the rest of this leaf for when I have guests to whom I can serve an informal senchadō.
Shortened the steep time and all that powerful bitterness is gone.
I quaffed the gaiwan in two great swallows after an initial tentative sip and the flavor is just rolling around my mouth, tingling and sliding from here to there.
I’m so grateful for what I have learned through Steepster that has allowed me to treat each tea so much more precisely to the needs it has and to look past flavor profile to all the other ways that a leaf proves its value.
Harmony is a good name for this tea.
First fruits of a wife living overseas.
The dry leaf and wet leaf are exactly what you would expect from a respectable sencha offering. Deep, emerald green color, pungent, riotous undergrowth aromas.
The cup is soothly pale in color, but quickly fades to yellow tones.
The liqueur is intensely flavorful, attacking the palate. Thick, coating vegetal bitterness and fresh pea sweetness.
I may have steeped this 5 or 10 seconds too long, but the flavor is still very pleasant.
I have my tea tins in a line in the cabinet and the same variety is in the same spot in “the line up” all the time. This allows me to find tea when not yet awake. :-)
The problem is that if I make a substitution, it is easy to forget.
In the wake of my purchase of Golden Fleece I have been a bit tapped out on Yunnan golden. I need to forget before I can order another dian hong and enjoy it.
Meanwhile, this order of pre-chingming da hong pao is in the tea tin that usually has Yunnan gold in it, and I’ve been avoiding it because I forgot what was in it (the label is on top instead of on the front, which I now know to fix next time I fill it). So, this tea has languished.
I started an argument the last time I said this, but I’m going to say it again anyway. :-)
I really want to enjoy this tea with high quality dim sum. People forget, I think, that “dim sum” is the food, but when you invite people to eat that food, you don’t invite them to “dim sum” you invite them to yum cha — drink tea. The food is an excuse to linger over pots of tea without having to get fussy with gongfu.
There is something about these “in between” oolongs that makes me turn to food thinking that the pairings will help differentiate the various aspects of the tea. Pork fat to bring out the sweetness. Red bean bun to bring out the toasted notes. Shu mai bring out the brothy mouthfeel. Steamed bean curd skin wrapped around savory vegetables brings out the floral notes.
OK… now I have to make plans to yum cha…
I am at the end of an emotionally taxing week and I needed an uncomplicated hug.
For me, that’s what shou is all about.
I love that it is good for me, I love that there is so much pedantry and history to learn about pu-erh, but at the end of it all, what I really love about shou is that it is strong, mellow, welcoming and quiet.
Was at Field of Greens yesterday and opted to eat next door at the Path of Tea. My companion was excited they had lapsang, and so we got a pot.
Every time I have some other lapsang, I get a craving for my black dragon. I’m on my third steep and every deep sip just envelopes me like a huge from an old friend.
I had this yesterday, or was it the day before?
It was fast becoming my go-to tea of choice when at the Path of Tea shop and ordering a pot, so the last time I was in I opted to buy some loose to bring home.
I am slowly but surely falling in love with all these Chinese black teas that have more or less no astringency. It makes me wonder why anyone drinks Assam. I mean, sure, it’s good with ice and lemon, but it certainly isn’t premium tea most of the time.
Something about this tea and others like it always makes me think of premium black strap rum.
As is the way in Houston, two weeks of daily rain have given way to crushing humidity and Summer heat. This afternoon I’ll need to go water the garden for the first time since my birthday, and if I can get the back yard mowed today, I’ll officially have the lawn “under control” and out ahead of rain growth for the first time since June.
Liz has been gone for six weeks and I still don’t quite have my life into any kind of new rhythm or routines, yet. Uncertainty about work and the chaos around the house have made it nearly impossible to settle down.
I need pu-erh to soothe the soul.
This leaf still amazes me. Neither the gnarled little nubs of a shou, nor the flat, hard sheng one picks off a brick, this tea looks like a high mountain oolong.
Nor orchids here, though. As Charles says: just SHENG.