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Recent Tasting Notes
120ml shi piao
Spectrum of acorn browns. Look compressed rather than rolled. Dried prunes (酸梅) and a single unmistakeable flower end note.
Olive green, edged and veined with brown. Sweet, perfume rather than flowers, hot sawdust, wet woody stems. Interesting, there are indeed what look like bug bites.
15s rinse 205°F
More mouthfeel (smooth & substantial, tenderest meat) than aroma or taste, although the orchids & eastern medicine are already there. Massive dull pins and needles all over inside the body chaqi.
Odd dried roots, like in a Chinatown pharmacy. The dried or cured fruits in Aji Ichiban bins.
A woman’s dressing table littered with concoctions. The large white framed window next to the table is wide open to the garden. The sun is shining but the ground, stone path and rhododendron are still damp from the earlier morning shower. Mild honey coughdrop. The scent at the bottom of the cup is sweet, very sweet nectar.
A watermelon’s unripe white seeds. Syrup. Heirloom cedar trunk. Not much of a taste, maybe citrus if the peel in christmas cake could still be considered citrus. Maple syrup at the bottom of the cup. Chaqi is like a tube of wind from the center of the chest right through the back.
Under the lid is somewhere outdoors a young girl can’t explore alone yet. The leaves are also feminine, old Europe when a 35 year old unmarried woman wasn’t really acceptable & her independence thought stubborn. Wet tobacco? The taste is all sweetness, something that leaves the fingers sticky with juice. Maple sugar candy at the bottom of the cup.
Now I am almost outdoors. But still not in nature, just not trapped by some woman in a corner. Tobacco at the bottom of the cup.
I drink tea because my favorite teas take me somewhere. This tea takes me somewhere I’ve never been, exotic. It seems, however, that I have an inner sense of where I want to go. This place is beautiful, and I don’t mean in a superficial way. There is an allure, and here for a layover, I’m definitely curious, but there’s nothing irresistible.
Under the lid is cigar ash. In the tea as well, as comforting as Father’s.
In tieguanyin’s, tea experts look for yin yun (音韻), where yin is both the character in Guan Yin and resonance/sound; in Wuyi’s, yan yun (岩韻). I guess tea could be about a combination of opening up the senses of smell & taste, and the finishes. I haven’t gotten there: where the fragrance isn’t overpowering, the taste not too sweet fruity et al, and the finishes equal a peaceful state of mind. With most tea, I’m in a heightened observational state.
There is nobody as ostentatious, or as persuaded of his own refinement of taste as the man who performs the tea-ceremony. He deliberately reduces the wide world of poetry to the most cramped and limiting proportions. He is self-opinionated, over-deliberate in his actions, and a fussy old woman about trifling niceties.
If such a jumble of petty rules and regulations can be said to constitute elegance and good taste, then the boys in the regimental barracks … must be fairly wallowing in it. —Soseki Natsume, “Kusamakura”
100ml thick walled gaiwan
Leaf color: olive green chocolate brown
Dry aroma: heavily perfumed flowers (roses?) passing their peak; pit fruit
Steep color: caramel
Wet aroma: flowers passing their peak, maybe even some dead bugs
Tea aroma: herbal
Tea base: eastern medicine
Steep taste: manuka honey
Steep texture: full mouth light around the tongue
Throatiness: long & enduring, as if the tea were milk (late: bright almost metallic)
Quenchless: dries the tongue, dries the throat, warms the belly
Chaqi: makes muscular the area in the center of the chest & between the shoulder blades
Keeping this tea going.
After an overnight, the flavor is all longan/lychee family sweetness.