107 Tasting Notes
A green tea for a gray sky.
The brilliant color and aroma of a wet summer forest prepare the mind for the nutty, crisp, and mouth-filling flavor of the first cup. The mind is soothed, the body is warmed. This season’s tea (2011) is really representative of a classic Long Jing with no astringency and just the slightest hint of dryness in the aftertaste.
Greatly comforting. Soothes the digestion on a hot and humid day just as well as it warms the body in the winter. Roasted to a sweetness that lingers on the tongue until dissolving into a hundred patches of dry warmth. Dark red in the cup (true to its name). The musty aroma of the wet leaves has a high note of a damp autumn day. Just the thing to prepare for a coming adventure.
Golden rose liquor, a rich aroma, but the flavor is surprisingly neutral. On the third infusion I allowed for a 3 minute brew, and a slight malty taste appeared at the front of the mouth. I think next time a longer brew sooner would be best. Brewed in my aged Oolong Yixing pot.
Dark and soothing. Earthy without being overpowering. An excellent tea after a large evening meal. I also find that Shou puerhs do not keep me up at night like a pot of green tea. I received four infusions now, and I’m sure there’s another 10 in these leaves.
Ruddy and golden in the cup.
The first two infusions yield a dry mouthfeel with a somewhat chalky coating on the tongue that lingers long after sipping. Sweet in the back of the mouth, and surprisingly light. There is no overt charcoal flavor that I often find in Lao Cha. Instead, it’s as if the Tung Ting is trying to return to its original floral fragrance, hindered only by the immense weight of its years. The playful energy of youth is still there, gently covered by the wisdom of decades.
In line with tradition, the third infusion is the most pleasant. The dryness sensed in the first infusions is still around, but it takes a back seat to the mouth-filling flavors of caramel and heavily toasted rice. The tongue-coating nature now serves to maintain the warm rice cake-like sweetness for many minutes after it has passed from the mouth. I could really still taste and feel this cup for over 10 minutes!
The wet leaves smell of charred hazelnuts: very musty but with surprising high notes that hint at its underlying sweetness.
A good cup for deep contemplation of the past and the future.
Brewed in my aged Oolong Yixing pot.
Dry leaf aroma is of sweet amazake or dry roasted peanuts. Wet leaves smell of the last wisps of a campfire on a damp forest morning. First infusion: 98 degrees, 1.5 minutes. The flavor and aroma are savory, somewhat meaty and malty like a rich belgian beer; they fill the mouth and nose slowly, but inexorably. Second infusion: 95 degrees, 2 minutes. The liquor is a rich holly berry red. The second brew retains its body and flavor, although the aroma is slightly less bold. The maltiness is sloping into a raisin quality, making this reminiscent of a Qi Hong but with a lightness that betrays its high-mountain leaf. Third infusion: 98 degrees, 2.5 minutes. This one was a little light for my taste, only hinting at what came before. Fourth infusion: 95 degrees, 7 minutes. I decided to go all out here and was rewarded with another fantastic infusion, full of malty raisin-like aroma and a delicate body.
Brewed in a large gaibei.
Well, this tea is certainly past its normal time frame, so I was pleasantly surprised by its bold sea-green flavor. The tea was vacuum-sealed until recently and is still sealed with a desiccant package, so I’m certain that helped. A gentle taste of salt water and nori seaweed mixed with the taste of fresh cut grass after a rain. There’s no aroma to speak of, wet or dry, and its prior rich body is long gone, but still a pleasant cup for a spring afternoon.
This time I allowed a full 2 minutes for the first infusion and the flavor was remarkable. Delicate sweetness following as a surprise after a warm enfolding mouthfeel of what tasted to me like a Bai Mu Dan. Unfortunately I believe that such a long steeping took most of what the tea had to offer and the remaining infusions were lackluster and only sparse echoes of the first flavor. Perhaps a hotter temperature for shorter?