There was supposed to be almost a blizzard today…but it whistled on by, preferring to thump tumbleweeds on the Plains with howling wind and pelting snow.
I bundled up in layers, called Schey to meet me at Happy Lucky’s at 2PM for tea, and selected several new tea’s for my green tea pouch. Without that pouch and a “What did you bring us today Bonnie?” the visit wouldn’t be complete.
Five people were in and out behind the tea-bar when I arrived (including the owner, George).
Joe picked a group favorite (this Tieguanyin) and brought out complete aroma sets, a gaiwan and small fairness pitcher.
The Oolong Symphony Began. 170 degrees and short steeps.
At first the tea was delicate, a blend of linen…squash blossom and cucumber flesh. I commented that the taste was subtle in the beginning, then stalled like a wave gathering more water before unfurling on the sand.
The second steep was very floral without being old and tired, thickening on the finish. There was a feel of unsalted butter (so said Joe and I). The aroma was so heavy with orchids and honey, it pulled me deep down into the cup and I was lost.
One steep was vanilla cream scented and another orchids and jasmine.
The color, floral aroma and flavor were the same as we approached the 6th steeping.
One of the things that Eric mentioned was the size of the leaves and the amount of flavor. “Someone has taken very good care of these leaves to get them to give this kind of flavor for this long. This is very good Tieguanyin.” (Eric is the scientist, one of the people I’ve dissected tea’s and ingredients with. He’s also a West Coast Bay Area person like me).
We’ve had Tieguanyin (Oolongs in general) discussions about how the climate on the Frontrange is PERFECT for aging. It’s DRY and Oolongs like DRY storage.
George drifted over to the gaiwan and made a round for everyone. As the owner, he’s tasted LOTS of tea, and his eyebrows tweeked up like the Rocky Mountains. He was impressed at the look of the leaves after many steeps.
What sets this apart and makes this different that any other?
The aroma is complex and lingering.
It’s a warm day in May, and just before the morning becomes humid…I’ve gone into the garden to pick flowers for my table.
There’s a fence with honeysuckle. Sweet jasmine, lily of the valley and orchids in the garden. White cotton sheets are drying on the clothesline, flapping in the wind.
The aroma lingers. That was the first thing I noticed.
The flavor grabs attention in a subtle way.
Buttered squash blossom, diced peeled and seeded cucumber, clover honey with the scent of all the garden flowers and linen.
The flavor moves so slowly through the mouth, informing the brain with a ‘seven-second delay’ that “An event has taken place, tastebuds wake up”!
This is the point, that the tea is sneeky! It doesn’t behave the way you are expecting a Tieguanyin to behave.
This is NOT a Boring OOLONG!
And, the flavor goes on forever!