First Tasting Note
Yesterday I seasoned the Yixing Purple Clay Pot seen in the picture with tea (I took the photo and listed the tea). It was interesting to heat a lot of Pu’er, put the Yixing pot in the Pu’er and soak for many hours, rinse and repeat. There are several methods of seasoning pots but I liked this one. The Pu’er I used was a little 1 inch square that I picked up at a tea shop in Boulder for $1.29. When I began to brew it in my Gaiwan I almost went into shock! It was one of the finest Pu’er’s I’ve ever tasted! Vanilla cake…oh my…sweet and juicy…wah…I had to continue (but I did cheat and poured me a cup). This had better be a great cured Yixing pot!
Between the beautiful wood tray (shown) and Yixing I bought from Happy Lucky’s I spent about $50 for my 64th birthday coming up this month, and I think that I got a great deal!
This morning the rain was coming down steadily. What a glorious time to use my Yixing Pu’er-only-pot for the first time. I listened to Jim Marks comment on rinsing my leaves for less time so I only rinsed a few seconds. I let the leaves rest… (I think mine are not resting, they are bored with me). My Yixing looks like a little bird with a beak don’t you think?
I heated the pot, a little cup, and had boiling water in another glass pot under a cozy for multiple pourings. All set! (In the photo you can see how bark-like the tea looks.)
I used 1/2 tsp Pu’er for my steepings. The Yixing holds 4oz. water. I did 6 steepings before sloshing away with a smile on my face.
I’m used to Western Style brewing with longer steep times so, I could tell this new method would take some getting used to.
1. I like my Pu’er on the strong side. Beginning with 3 minutes…Huh?!…(a bit longer than the instructions say to do)…the wet leaves smelled sweet and fresh, like new fresh- picked tea and coffee beans. When I took my first sip of the dark liquor, I tasted almonds and salted pecans, then a dry peppery tannin at the front my mouth. This Pu’er was altogether sweet, rich and robust with a vanilla bean finish. A chewy first cup.
2. I cut back the steep time to 2 minutes and still had a juicy, sweet, oat bread cup. There was a hint of leather flavor which sent me to the leaves for a whiff. Yes, the wet leaves smelled like a new Coach handbag. Finishing my small cup, I thought there was a sneeky bit of cinnamon hidden in the tannin at the end. Could be?
3. Shortening the steep time to 1 minute the flavor was weakening but still good. The wet leaves were leathery scented, and the tea was getting juicier and spicy. Here was where I added a tiny, tiny bit of sugar. Not enough to really tell it was a sweet tea. This boost brought out a molasses, pecan nutty flavor that was like drinking a Southern Pecan Pie Pu’er with brown sugar molasses and pecans.
4.-6. As steepings progressed, more cinnamon and vanilla came to play which was enhanced more if a bit of sugar was added. I ended up with combinations ranging from steep times of 30 seconds to 3 minutes which all produced fine tastings. I do love my big, strong and burly Pu’er at the longer steep times the best. (That’s as far as I’m goin with that thought!)
Finally. There was no detection of fishy, musty, earthy Pu’er flavors. I only tell this because some people hate the musty or earthy Pu’er’s that I think are grand. This one is nuttier and would appeal to new drinkers I would imagine, but it is very hardy and rich none the less. Not expensive which is always a plus!