311 Tasting Notes
A lovely tea put through a tea torture test today: Fill kettle with water. Pour some (cold) over chunk of tea in kamjove. Let sit a few seconds, pour off rinse water. Add more water, now slightly warm. Let sit while doing things in another room for 45 minutes. Return, pour off first cold infusion into thermos, add boiling water, leave for a 1 hour meeting. Return, pour off the long steep into the thermos, and pour hot water through the leaves several times while tossing papers together for afternoon clinic on another floor. Thermos filled with water, all of which has touched the leaves, at least. How can it possibly be good? And it is!
Gotta love this stuff.
Took longer than I expected to get back to this tea, and I went in a completely different direction: I was determined to get a mellow brewing, so used a small quantity of leaf and brewed up a whole thermos of tea with relatively cool water—185°F/85°C. This came out toasty, a little earthy, mellow and pleasant. I’ll work up from here now, to try to get more of those plummy fruity notes without reactivating the astringency that was off-putting the first time through.
In the middle of a rare gongfu session with this lovely tea this evening—I usually do it by the thermos full, to share with a group of colleagues during an afternoon clinic. Gongfu brings out the variations in flavor well, and this is one shu that stands up to this. I’m into about the 8th or so infusion, and there are notes of honey, apricot, caramel, delicious.
A first trial of this one this evening was interesting. The catalog description noted chocolate and roasted notes, and those were certainly present in the finely broken up bits of dark toasted leaf and stem.
I used 3 grams of leaf to about 3 ounces of water, in a preheated kyusu, with water about 195 degrees. The first infusion at 30 seconds was lightly fruity but also toasty, and reminded me mostly of the Hwang Cha Korean ‘oolong’ from Hankook—in that mellow combination of earthy/toasty sweetness with fruity plummy highlights. The second infusion, also 30 seconds, was more reminiscent of a black tea, with stronger astringency coming to the fore. I had to dilute this infusion to enjoy it, with about 50% more water than originally infused, to drop the astringency to a tolerable level, but because I was eyeballing the water level in a measuring cup to try to get the right tea/water ratio, I might have simply added too little water.
I decided at that point to stop for the night, and to try again tomorrow with a little larger quantity of leaf, so that the infusions will fill my 5 oz kyusu, and I won’t have to guess on the water quantities.
Overall, my first impression is that this one might be of great interest to those who mostly drink black teas, as something less radically different than matcha or sencha, but still a quite unique japanese tea. I’m not sure whether a little tweaking will make this as much a favorite as the Hwang Cha, a tea that took a little while to grow on me, or not.
This is a wonderful tart, delicious fruit & herbal tea a friend brought back from Germany. Tart, sweet, delicious. I don’t know where the description ends and name of the tea begins, but this one clearly has bits of apple, ‘sea buckthorn fruit’, orange rind, lemongrass, and more. It’s terrific stuff, with a nice purple-red liquor, and tolerates full boiling water and long infusions. I did a couple of infusions, but I think it would be ok with one longer infusion.
Warm toasty friendly bedtime tea
Finally broke into this tea this afternoon, wanting something mellow. And it is warm, toasty, mellow, cozy, a little sweet. It smells very darkly toasted, much like a genmaicha, but the brew, while clearly toasty, has none of the bitter scorched notes that have put me off of that tea. I love it.
Just another love note to this interesting tea, which has such an interesting combo of sweet fruity (plum/peach/cherry) floral notes, and spicy herby backup (cinnamon, cloves, thyme). It is a bright light green deeply rolled tea that looks like it should be a new-style TGY, but when the water hits the leaves it’s much more Dan Cong-like. And the flavor varies and unfolds infusion by infusion, just delightful stuff. Today’s infusions deserve a higher rating—this is 95+ stuff.
This is a lovely, floral, spicy-sweet TGY, entirely as expected from Jing Tea Shop. Reliable tea happiness, brewed up a little today in a small gaiwan, enough leaf to just cover the bottom when rolled tightly, which fills the cup entirely and is trying to sneak out the top as it has unfurled completely. When I get impatient to get the water back to 205 degrees, the leaves forgive and at 185 still give a tasty brewn. Many steeps of sweet spicy floral delight!