46 Tasting Notes
Satisfactory pseudo-scientific session with this tea tonight. Used a yixing teapot and set up four aroma-tasting cup pairs, into which I poured portions of the tea at different time intervals, noting the batch which tasted just about right to me. Ended up with: 1st round: 50 sec. 2nd round: 45 sec. 3rd round: 55 sec. Could probably have gone for a 4th infusion but was already feeling full.
As always, when I have a victim— uh, family member around, I try to get them to taste with me. Teenage brother’s comment was that it was good, “like iced tea, but hot”. I think it must be the fruity taste, which doesn’t register as ‘peach!’ to me, but just a hint of some fruit. I like it that way. Using aroma cups was also a treat, because the smell hits you, like when you open a can of powdered tea mix and some of the powder gets into your nose… Ahaha. Sorry for the pedestrian references. I grew up in a household of cola and chips, not tea and biscuits. :P
Usually I try to do the ‘observe spent leaves’ step, just out of obedience to routine, but my reaction is often “Ookay, wet leaves. Moving on.” But this was one of the few times I oooh-ed a bit at what I saw. Before steeping, the dry leaves look like a confused mix of brown, green and white. But after steeping the leaves were a beautiful glossy dark red, with some dark green. Looked very much like autumn.
Last side note is that after sipping quite a bit, I felt a fuzzy, powdery layer on my tongue. Maybe tea dust? because I didn’t use a strainer, nor did I rinse. Guess I’ll try that next time.
Quite a yummy afternoon cup. Brewed 3g in 8 oz water, in a small glass teapot because the two separate layers of green leaves gently swaying below, then the light brown rice bits and the occasional white puff floating on the top look so… cute? Idyllic? I don’t know what I’m saying. But it was a joy to make this cup. Will go for another tomorrow.
I must be doing something wrong, or I’m having a bad tea week (but only with this tea?) because my sample tin is almost gone and I still have yet to produce a cup that has all that supposed honeyed peach ginger lychee goodness that other Steepsterites are raving about. I tried brewing in two different porcelain gaiwan, a glass gaiwan, two different yixing pots… using different water temps (from 190 to 200+), diff quantities, diff times… Gah. I even tried leaving the container open for a minute to let the leaves ‘acclimatize’. The best result I had was when cold brewing, but there was a rubbery taste I got like when I brew the Adagio peach oolong. Maybe my taste buds are off, maybe they’re wired wrongly and instead of “mmmm peach” they like to send me “ech, rubber”. Just for fun.
But, I will persevere! At the very least, I’ll have an empty tin to use to store other more cooperative teas.
Cold brewed by plopping a heaping teaspoon into a large water bottle (around 20oz), filled with cold water and left in the fridge for a couple of hours. I have one of those I bottles with a removable strainer at the bottom, so when the tea looked nicely tinged just inverted the bottle, screwed off the bottom lid, took out the strainer with the spent tea leaves, then screwed the lid back on. Very easy! And what I got was a sweet, refreshing drink that was good to sip on even when it turned lukewarm. (Some teas taste bad/blah to me when not taken hot.) Great for summer. Definitely trying this style of preparing Four Seasons again.
Prepared in a huge glass gaiwan so I could see the leaves swirl. So pretty. At first I was getting blah washwater brews because I was so afraid of scorching the leaves that I used lower temperatures. But using water near 190F actually tastes a lot better. Yum.
Leaving the ‘root’, I was able to get two more infusions.
Must try it chilled some time. I’m quite happy with this. Of course, I can’t compare it to the more expensive Nonpareil grade, but to my untrained palate this mid-level Superfine tastes pretty good. (and quite a lot better than my sampler from Adagio. Good thing I didn’t give up on Dragonwell so soon.)