Despite having purchased a gaiwan months ago, I only used it for the very first time today. I didn’t want to use a tea that was too pricey or short-stocked for my maiden voyage, so I went with this one, which I still have a good 25 grams of after a year in my cupboard.
Using the gaiwan was pretty easy – pretty much the same premise as opening the lid of a pot just enough to drain the cooking water off boiled pasta. I only got a big piece of leaf in my cup once (which is better than my track record with draining pasta). Whittard only has western-style instructions on their site, so I used Teavivre’s gongfu instructions for their Huang Shan Mao Feng as a guide (80 C, 5s rinse, 30/60/90). I started at around 85 C for the rinse.
Rinse (I don’t know if you’re meant to taste this, but I did): butter! Somewhat salty. Mild flavor of some type of cooked greens.
1: Similar to rinse, but more cooked greens & less buttery. Getting some bitterness.
2: I poured this one off after 30s, but it seemed a bit weak, so I poured it back into the gaiwan for another 30s. This made it kind of unpleasantly bitter, like overcooked greens. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go any further after this cup, but…
3: I poured this after 65-70s. Still bitter. Don’t think I’ll go for a fourth.
Obviously my gongfu skills need refining, and this tea is hella old, and I very likely overleafed, but I’m inclined to think my original 91 rating was more of a reflection of my beginner’s enthusiasm than the tea’s quality. It’s probably not a good sign when the rinse is my favorite steep.
And now my head hurts. Dropping the rating like it’s hot.
Flavors: Butter, Kale