207 Tasting Notes

18

As of now, this tea is wretchedly terrible. Sure it was $8, but either the cake or the maocha was stored improperly. I haven’t given up on it yet, as I’m hoping the burnt-tire, rotting vegetable material scent and flavor will dissipate with time. But this cake may be heading for the compost pile in the future.

Spoonvonstup

Oh no!! :-(

teaddict

Yikes. Burnt tire is utterly unappealing.

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71
drank 2010 Hong Shang Dou by Douji
207 tasting notes

I’ve drank this tea a fair amount lately and I have to stop and ask myself why. I think because this tea is kind of a throw away. It’s not bad, it’s not great and it was cheap. The maocha was obviously heavily cleaned and maybe processed a little stiffly. There’s an odd papery sensation to the whole tea and I think for now, I’ll stop drinking it and see what becomes of it in 10 years.

StaLLZee

Their prices keep going up too! Douji probably makes the best “brand name” tea, but the price gets higher and higher. I do think it ages well though!

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63

Finished off my sample of this. All I can say is, boring. I’ve been drinking high quality blends or known gushu for a while now, so this tea comes across as pretty tepid, even if it is “wild arbor” which I’m not sure I believe. Little sweetness, plain grain flavors, and a bit of old orange peel. I’m excited to be moving on from some of the bigger factories, such as Mengku.

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87

Finished off the last of my sample today, since it was raining and I was a bit hungover.

I don’t have a lot of words for the tea. It’s good. Very warming and comforting. I think it’s interesting that the wet leaf aroma has a particularly noticeable basement character, but that that does not translate to the flavor, which I appreciate. Some slight hints of earth in the flavor, but then mostly woody, composted leaves and lots of vanilla, mint, and floral woods. Looking forward to pushing this one some more tomorrow.

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86

2011. Used “Double Brew” method. Last Long Jing for now!

This afternoon, rain comes and brings with it cooler, autumn temperatures. I’ll be drinking pu’er soon enough. Right now, the lightness of this green brings quenching satisfaction on what may be the last hot day of the year.

Funny, I think I can sense that of the four Long Jings I drank, this one is probably regarded as being the best and having the highest quality. I’m not sure it’s my favorite, I think I preferred the Da Fo, but I would need to do a side-by-side of the two to be entirely conclusive. Again, a taste preference for the green, thicker, heartier qualities.

This tea exuded delicate finesse, a bit of finicky resistance, and a balance of bittersweet and tropical fruit. Lots of lychee, pineapple, and pear came through and then was countbalanced with an herbal, almost minty bittersweetness that cleaned the palate nicely. Not a sweet, not as supple, and definitely requiring more attention, as there was a tendency for bitter, even with the gentle double brewing.

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83

Again, this is the 2011 vintage.

Today, I abandoned the side-by-side brewing and stuck with just the “Double Brew,” putting all of 4g sample into my large gaiwan. This choice is based entirely on taste preference. I just enjoy those subtler, sweeter tones that this gentle method yields.

This particular tea has a lot going on for it, but, in my opinion, it isn’t quite as good as the Da Fo I had yesterday. There’s a lot of breadth here, but not as much depth. Some solid sweet corn, a bit of sweetgrass, and some light grain sugars. Nearly spicy notes kick up in the backend. A good tea, but not stunning.

Cold weather is coming, I’ve got to finish my last Long Jing while it’s still warm!

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89

I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense to have an entry for every vintage of teas like this, especially if only one or two people are going to review them.

This is the 2011. This is my first Long Jing with puffballs! So excited!

Again, side-by-side Grandpa-style and Double Brew, as mentioned in my previous Long Jing review. Today, the constrast in flavors revealed by the two methods was very strong. While the warmer, Grandpa-style emitted artichoke and overcooked peas, with some lemon within, the Double Brew gave an intensely sweet brew, with soft, young Spinach and distant pine. What’s surprising to me is that the Grandpa-style method drained these leaves quickly, leaving them much less durable and more or less exhausted by the second steep. The Double Brew went on longer, continuing to yield a delightfully sweet, gentle beverage.

Whatever method is used, this is great Long Jing, in my estimation. I much preferred it to yesterday’s version and rank it as the best I’ve had. Very, very flavorful and nicely rich.

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86

Picked up a set of four Long Jing samples from Gingko recently and will spend the week working through them, before all of summer disappears and the teas get too old.

Having little experience with quality Long Jing, I thought I’d try brewing with Gingko’s tips (http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2010/04/brewing-long-jing-dragonwell.html) and wrongfucha’s “Double Brew” (http://chahai.net/long-jing-double-brew-method/).

The two methods created very different results. The Double Brew was intensely sweet, subtle and airy. Delicate and fluffy. I really like this, it was akin to many Japanese greens and required concentration. The “grandpa” style suggested by Gingko also made a nice brew with this tea, a hearty, chunky thicker brew that released the dry chestnut edges of this tea. I think this leads me to a matter of preference. I generally don’t get that excited about those dryer, toasted, mineral-heavy notes in Chinese greens, so I’m interested in the method that produces a sweeter, softer brew.

Definitely one of the better Long Jing’s I’ve ever had and I’ve got three more great ones to go!

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96
Following my now-regular two session run, this morning I cranked up the leaf ratio to 7g in 80mL from the 5g I use when I try a new tea. What’s interesting about this is that from a potency perspective, there’s absolutely no reason to use more leaf with this tea. I spent yesterday afternoon in a jittery, over-caffeinated tizzy. Somehow, though, the flavors and textures significantly benefit from the extra leaf, amplifying the intense honey, apricot, and hazlenut flavors and deepening the balance between supple sweetness and gripping back-palate bite.

Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of bud-heavy, super-tippy tea, preferring the complexity, roundedness, and vigor of large-leaf pu’er. The Mannuo is incredible bud-heavy and I love it. For me, this tea combines the fleeting, ephemeral lightness of say the ’11 Nannuo with the intense, alkaline power of the ’11 Bulang in a harmony that makes it both eminently drinkable and completely intriguing. And unlike my experience with the other ’11 EoTs, the qi on the Mannuo is upfront, quick, and deep in a way that’s pleasing, enveloping and enjoyable. I believe this tea lives up to both the cost and the early-sell-out hype that it garnered. And, I’m not just trying to suck up in hopes of snagging another cake.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=622

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89

Such an interesting tea. I recently finished up a 12.5g pack, with another 12.5g pack set aside for aging as part of my white tea aging experiment. While this tea is white by process, it’s black by flavor. There’s such an incredible rich sweetness that comes naturally from this tea, like light maple syrup or agave nectar. Cooked stonefruit rounds out. What impresses me the most about this tea is it’s durability. Gong-fu style, I was able to produce rich tea for about 12 infusions!

teaddict

What kind of tea-to-water ratio did you use to get 12 infusions out of it? That’s very impressive for any white tea. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten as many without reaching light sweet water.

CHAroma

Agreed, tell us more!

the_skua

I think it’s this tea in particular, that can do so many infusions. I used about 2.5g in 80mL.

teaddict

That’s a leaf/water ratio I’d use, so I agree, it must be the tea and not just really concentrated brewings.

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Bio

Exploring the world of fine Chinese and Japanese teas, my favorites include: sheng pu’er, moderately roasted oolongs, gyokuro, shincha, and high quality, artisanal whites and greens. I don’t subscribe to any particular style of brewing, but incorporate elements from traditional techniques to brew the best tea possible. I also seek to share the joy that tea brings me with others, but am really rather introverted.

Location

Peace Dale, Rhode Island

Website

http://tea.theskua.com

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