Second review of the day!
I actually prepared this astounding Tieguanyin in my new Finum brew basket, whic greatly simplified the process of making tea. This first infusion was steeped for 15 seconds in near-boiling water, which resulted in a rather weak infusion, since I didn’t wash the leaves first. This is pretty typical of Tieguanyins that I’ve tried before, so wasn’t discouraged. The flavor was very sweet, a bit like caramel, but since the leaves haven’t really started to open up the flavor is pretty muted. The texture of the tea is very smooth and creamy, which lingers on the tongue for a good three whole minutes, which is also amazing. My other aged Tieguanyin is similar, but this tea just takes everything to a whole new level.
Second cup, 10 second steep. The thing of note here is that the leaves have started to open up, so there falvors are much more intense, with caramel and something akin to chocolate dominating the palate. The texture of the tea is decidedly creamy now, and it lingers for at least three minutes now. I actually can’t resist taking another sip after three minutes, so that experiment is pretty much a bust now. Also, it should be noted that the caramel is actually stronger than the chocolate, resulting in a very sweet cup of tea.
Third cup, I actually lost track of time, so I don’t know how long this one steeped. Even though it’s provbably oversteeped, it’s still sweet and creamy, which is a pleasant surprise. The chocolate flavor is a bit stronger now, which is expected, so there’s no reason to mourn the loss of the caramel flavor, since I’m pretty sure it will be back. All in all, this cup wasn’t the best, but it’s still far better than my other one.
Fourth infusion, 30 seconds. This, this cup is pretty much perfection. Warm, sweet caramel flows through my mouth, leaving behind interesting flavors that are starting to emerge from beneath the chocolate. The delightful flavors dance across the tongue, then move up to the hard palate where they linger for three minutes, after which I can’t tkae it any longer and I have another sip. This, this is like the Platonic ideal of an aged tieguanyin.
Fifth infusion, 1 minute. This is where the flavor is really starting to get complex. There are a bunch of things muddled together, and it’s really hard to make out what everything is. The creaminess is fading, only peaking through at the very beginning of the aftertaste before it wades away into a pleasant tingly sensation on the hard palate. I think there is something a bit citusy present, but I can’t quite put my figer on it…
Sixth and seventh infusions were let to steep until I felt like they were done. They were both very complex, with subtle flavors that never really asserted themselves. There was a hint of citrus, a touch of spice, but other than that, I can’t really say. Regardless, this was an amazing tea, and I’m really glad that David actually sold it to us instead of keeping it to himself. I don’t know if I could have done that…
Music of the Day #2 – Mare Nostrum directed by Jordi Savall
I’m a sucker for good historically-informed perfromances, and this is by the same people as the previous album. This album actually focuses on the Mediteranean Sea, after which the album is titled (Mare Nostrum is the Latin name). The pieces on this album come from as early as Classical Antiquity and as late as 1690, and follow the themse of Mediteranean culture.