I think I might love this tea.
Every time I make this I discover something new about it. It’s almost as if I were drinking a different tea every time. I will definitely be exploring the world of dark oolongs more because of this tea, in fact I have now dedicated my first yixing to dark oolongs and have a second dark oolong on it’s way.
But anyway, on to this tea.
I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what the water temperature was. It was warm enough to be steaming but certainly not boiling or even simmering. To be quite honest I had intended the water to be warmer but…um…ran out of propane to run the stove. Heh. Oops.
Knowing I’d only manage one steeping, since there was no propane left to heat the water again, I did a 15-20 second rinse to open the leaves a bit and warm the pot. Oh yes, did I mention I was using the yixing for this? Anyway, after a 10 minute steep I poured the liquor out into my cup, this one was a bit deeper than the cup I had been using before, and what do you know…the color was a deep red-brown. I could definitely see how someone could call that purple. The flavor was lighter than my previous experience with this tea, likely because of the lower water temp. It was sweet, mellow, a bit malty, earthy, and a tiny bit nutty.
I have saved the leaves so once get some way to heat water again I’ll update this with subsequent infusions.
I tried having this yesterday and completely miss-read my previous notes on it. Complete disaster. The only thing more guaranteed to ruin my day than not having tea at all is ruining good tea, especially one of my favorites. Determined to have a better day today I decided to take another shot at this. So glad I did. I’m on my fourth infusion and looking forward to even more.
You know, this makes me think of a certain spot I used to visit when I was a kid. Hidden away in an area of pine woods, granite outcroppings lifting out of the hillside, a little area with tumbled granite boulders and a comfortable dry granite cave tucked into the hillside. It had obviously once housed human occupants because someone had hollwed out a shelf large enough to sleep on and there were large rocks wedged together over the doorway to fill in a natural gap.
I think I might have to try finding that place again so I can bring my kids. I’ll have to bring a thermos with this tea along as well.
I have no idea what the water temp was but it was definitely cooler. I poured boiling water into a glass measuring cup, then into my (cold) tetsubin, and then into the cup with the strainer and tea leaves. I also used twice the amount of leaves as last time.
Steeped for 9 minutes. The liquor still wasn’t purple, I’m very disappointed with this fact, it was more of a dark brown and slightly murky. The taste however absolutely wowed me with how much it had improved. It was rather malty and earthy with a slight metallic aftertaste. Holding a bit in my mouth there seemed to be a clearness on the center of my tongue compared to the rest…like a gemstone surrounded by mud.
Steeped for 10 minutes, the liquor was a brown-tinted amber. The metallic aftertaste was gone and the flavor clearer and smooth, still earthy but not as malty. There was also a slight taste of honey.
Steeped for 10 minutes the liquor was the same brown-amber color as the last infusion. the taste was the same but a bit lighter in body.
Definitely a better experience with this tea this time around. Sill disappointed by the lack of purple but I’ll get over it.
Steeped for 10 minutes again for the same brown-amber color. This infusion seemed a bit sweeter and lighter. Not quite as earthy. A faint tartness to the aftertaste.
10.5 minutes steep and the color is more amber, less brown. The flavor is lighter too.
The color definitely looks weaker. And after one sip I can tell this tea has hit it’s limit.