325 Tasting Notes
After a weekend of excessively rich meals (Teala’s seafood enchiladas, Backstreet Cafe’s lamb chops, Hugo’s Mexican brunch…) with the in-laws I feel in desperate need to get back to basics. This calls for many cups of pu-erh.
As much as I know about, appreciate in, and enjoy partaking of fine foods, I have to say that as I age, I find myself more interested in knowing about them and talking about them and less interested in actually eating them. Indulging leaves me feeling at the same time soft and stiff.
Many cups of shu will get me back to feeling firm and limber in a day or two.
I am steeping this in the gaiwan today, in contrast to the first tasting which was pyrex heresy style. There was some bitter astringency in the 3rd and 4th steeps that may have been strictly a result of my mood infecting the cup. I have so many first world problems right now I feel like a state senator.
But I’m up to something like 7 or 8 steeps now and the cups are soft, almost sweet.
My only complaint is that because there are so many broken leaf bits present, it isn’t at all realistic to get a clean pour without a screen — which seems a bit fussy when using a gaiwan.
It has been too long since I’ve had a fresh off the shipment first flush Darjeeling.
Much. Too. Long.
The dry leaf here smells like fruit and flowers. Like a springtime picnic with fruit salad and warm sun out in the garden.
The wet leaf on the other hand is like a Summertime garden in full riot. Overwhelming aromas of fully ripe fruits and vegetables and the deep greens of the plants themselves competing with ornamental flowers as well as the flowers of fruit not yet formed. You know you are on the brink of a heady cup, here.
The steeped liqueur is the color of light amber, like honey in a sunbeam.
On the tongue the riot is somewhat calmed, but this is still bold stuff. There is a rapid onset of astringency which dries the tongue and mouth and prevents any long lingering unpleasantness — which can be a problem with some sweet teas.
This is what first flush madness is all about. I fully expect this leaf to be completely different after a month in the tin. I fully expect the second flush from the same garden to be completely different. In fact, I need to be sure to order it when it comes out just to compare them.
As Upton teas go, this isn’t a cheap one. But if you have an affinity for “the champagne of teas”, be sure to get in on this year’s first flush. They are fantastic.
(random aside, I’m starting a blog about non-tea related serious things. you can find the URL in my profile if you’re interested in reading it.)
Mostly I am posting that I am drinking this tea to give everyone a head’s up that Upton Teas has announced their first flush Darjeeling offerings this morning, so you may want to jump on that if you want in on that action.
I still love my own blend of tea. Go figure.
Cold steeped over night in the French press (to keep the buds in the water) in the fridge.
The result is much more profound than the hot steepings have been. There is a long, mouth sticking sweetness here that lingers long past swallow.
I’m not necessarily convinced that this isn’t an awfully long way to go for a cup of tea, especially one that isn’t hot. But the result is very tasty.
I’m on something like my 16th steep of this batch of leaves.
I really have to wonder what was going on with this (and other sheng) tea back over the winter when I keep getting such sharp, wooly, camphorous steeps.
Cup after cup this tea has been kind and sweet and I’m still on <30 second steeps.