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Recent Tasting Notes

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“Wrestling of dragon and tiger” is a traditional way of tea drinking among some ethnic groups of Yunnan. It’s not 100% puerh (and sometimes black tea is used instead). It’s a mixture of liquor and puerh. I’ve read about it in quite a few books but have never seen it’s practiced. So I did mine based on guestimation :-p

In my nutrition knowledge, it may be very unhealthy to take alcohol and caffeine together, when both are in large doses. But with large amount of one and small amount of the other, it seems ok. That’s why Irish coffee with Bailey is supposed to be ok, but nobody would put a shot of rum in a shot of espresso.

I made my “wrestling” drink tonight, because it has been cold and I thought some brandy and some shu puerh may boost up some warmth. Too bad I only have a cheap ginger flavored brandy, which is supposed to be my “flu medication” (learned of it from my Irish neighbor!). But I used it anyway, along with my shu puerh left over from yesterday. I used a 150ml tea bowl, poured in 1/5 bowl of ginger brandy, and filled the bowl with hot, hot puerh. Every book talking about the “wrestling” drink stresses that it’s important to add tea into liquor, not liquor into tea.

The light drunk feeling came before the taste of tea. When made a warm drink, everybody should cut off half of the amount of alcohol that she usually feels comfortable with. Besides, I did get peanuts and chocolates right next to me, in case I would feel the drink burning my stomach lining (luckily it didn’t). The steam of alcohol rushed through the throat as well as the nose. Then the taste of tea kicked in and lingered around. That’s the way to get both tea drunk and alcohol drunk with just one bowl :-D

It’s not something with gourmet tasting. However, the warming effect is amazing. Next time, I would use even less liquor (when it’s steamed up in high temperature, it’s strong!) and stronger tea (instead of left over tea). Not something you should have too much or too often. But it does give you quite some kick, and yet so much healthier than a regular liquor shot :D

Ever since I saw the name “Wrestling of Dragon and Tiger”, I have been memorized by this drink. I hope someday I will have it by the fireplace of a Yunnan native. Before that, I will try to make some of my own :D


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It’s great that steepster system allows you to categorize a tea as both black and green, which this tea is.

I put more photos on my blog:

I heard of the idea from a friend – it’s a popular way of drinking tea among Yunnan people (which part of Yunnan, he doesn’t know though. Yunnan is so large and diverse!).

Step 1, brew Yunnan green as usual. This time I used a Yunnan roast green (the one that was made on January 1, 2010). The original version is using Yunnan sun-dried green though. I don’t have any of it, but puerh young sheng is basically the same thing, just it’s hard to get a young sheng with beautiful leaves. Next time I will try using the Guan Zi Zai Yi Wu, which has the most beautiful leaves I’ve seen from a puerh cake.

Step 2, enjoy the first 3 infusions as usual. But for this, I refilled the mug every time when the tea liquor was about half of the cup volume. This is partially because I wanted to keep the strength of the tea, partially because I did use too much leaves. Yunnan green is strong!

Step 3, at the end of the 3rd infusion, when there is about 1/4 volume of the liquor left (I assumed 1/4 was better than 1/3 because the more newly added hot water, the better the tea would be infused), add in Yunnan red (black) tea.

Step 4, refill the mug with hot water.

That is it. Then you can re-infuse on and on. This lasted a whole afternoon for me. Eventually the leaves expanded a lot and there is relatively small space for accessible tea liquor. I guess, this is a tea enjoyed by people who drink a lot of tea and don’t have much time to take care of their tea brewing. In other words, this is a tea for real workers to gulp, not for Gongfu drinkers to take sip after sip. So for such a purpose, this mug is too small.

The first infusion after adding red tea was a bit astringent. But I didn’t mind at all. Yunnan people would say if a tea is “bitter without biting your mouth and astringent without sticking to your tongue”, then it’s a good tea. I kind of agree. The astringency instantly became sweet aftertaste. Then later in the many infusions, the tea became smooth and remained flavorful.

Supposedly, Yunnan sun-dried green (such as a young sheng) is even stronger than roast green. So next time when I have a whole day of work, I will start the day with some Yi Wu leaves in a big mug and add in some Yunnan red tea later on. It can be a good companion without much attention required.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Haha! It’s not purchased. I made it! More photos are here:

So, I made some tea grapefruits in the past December and January. Here is a post about them!

I am a super clumsy person, so I was really excited that I can MAKE something.

Although these are supposed to be aged for years, I thought I should open some and monitor the change of tea from time to time. So here is the first tasting that I did yesterday.

Before I receive my hand-made organic cotton paper from Yunnan, I would use regular napkin tissue paper to wrap them.

This is one of the first ones I made last December, when I was still struggling with sewing. I picked a relatively ugly one to open first. Most of those made later were slightly prettier. The label means 2009, December 2. So far I tried 3 types of tea. “B” is what I used the most. It’s a 2006 Taiwan Wuyi. It’s a relatively inexpensive tea, and currently I can get as much as I want. Besides, I’ve found it to be very mellow and its flavor mixes well with herbal drinks. So I thought probably it would be suitable for tea grapefruits.

raditionally the tea citrus is made with puerh (in Guangdong and Yunnan) or oolong (especially Fo Shou Oolong in Fujian and Southeastern Asia). But so far I don’t like shu puerh as much as most other teas, and I feel good sheng puerh could be a bit expensive to fill grapefruits – even for cheap Xia Guan tuo, you know, its future is EXPENSIVE!) So my current choice is this Taiwan Wuyi. I would like to try more teas when I feel more sure with this.

It smells good! Chinese like aging orange and tangerine peels. The aged peels are used in cooking and as herbal medicine. From outside, the tea grapefruit smells pretty much like aged peels.

When put side by side, the tea from the grapefruit (on the left) looks the same as regular Taiwan Wuyi. But it smells of slight aged peel aroma.

Same amount of tea in two same gaiwan (but I forgot to take photos of the gainwans). I guess this is 3-4 grams of tea in a 100ml gaiwan. After an instant warm-up rinse with boiling water, I made the first infusion as what I usually do with most oolong, Interestingly, the tea from grapefruit (on the left) yield slightly darker liquor. The two teas are same tea of the same age. But possibly the one was oxidized more with the moisture (and maybe biochemical contents as well?) in the grapefruit. The tastes of the two cups were very different. The tea from grapefruit tasted a lot brighter and complex, while the regular Taiwan Wuyi tasted darker and mellower.

Throughout the entire time, the smells of wet tea and gaiwan lids were very different. The regular tea smelt more regular, but the grapefruit aged tea smelt of some light citrus notes.

For the second infusion, I let both teas infused for 1 minute, so that any differences would be more enlarged. This time, the grapefruit peel flavor in the tea on the left is more prominent. At one moment, I thought the bright fruity flavor was really nice. But at another moment, I thought the grapefruit peel flavor was still too “raw”, with some astringency in it.

When making aged peels, the citrus peels used should be aged for at least three years to let all “raw” taste in the peel convert to a woody, deep aroma. In modern Chinese food industry, when they make “aged peel” snacks, although there is no 3-year aging, they would boil the peels and infuse them with syrup or honey to remove the rawness. If you bite on an orange peel, you will know what I mean. Raw orange peel, although tastes fresh, bears some astringency and spiciness that are not so pleasant. When the tea was aged in the grapefruit, it didn’t get too much of the astringency, but still, I think more time is needed to let the peel’s flavor convert to be more “ripe”. Overall, I am glad that the flavor seems all “logic” to me and it’s developing in the right direction!

For the third infusion, I let both teas infused for 3 minutes. This time, both teas tasted even stronger. Still, the regular Taiwan Wuyi tasted very mellow, with sugary mouth feeling typical of Taiwan roasted oolong. The grapefruit aged tea seemed to be sending a lot of different flavor signals to the tongue. I had difficulty to describe what flavors it exactly had. For some reason, the complicated flavor made me believe this tea is very healthy (I don’t know why, but probably to me, slight bitterness, astringency and overall orange peel flavor all indicate healthiness). By this time, my husband (who is generally not a tea drinker) came over and I let him taste the two teas. His response was, the grapefruit aged tea was a little astringent but tasted more interesting, with some floral notes (however I don’t think his floral notes are the typical Taiwan high mountain oolong’s floral notes).

Overall, a problem I’ve found about tasting two teas side by side is, I can’t be sure how much time to leave between sips from the two different cups. On one hand, I thought they should be tasted one immediately next to the other, and that’s all the purpose of tasting two teas side by side. On the other hand, many teas have great aftertaste and mouth feeling, which sometimes last many minutes (even hours when it comes to some sheng puerh) after each sip. This Taiwan Wuyi doesn’t have as complicated layers of flavors as some other oolongs, but it has great aftertaste. It usually leaves the mouth and tongue feel sweet and cool. Now when I tasted the two Taiwan Wuyi together, there was no way for me to determine what kind of lingering aroma was from which tea.

The opened grapefruit was tied up, and the tea will be tasted again after the summer. I can’t decide yet wether to send some to my mother now or laster when it’s more aged. But I somewhat feel she will like this tea!

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Oh my! Sorry for making this tasting note so lengthy!


Wow! That’s pretty cool. I look forward to hearing more about the grapefruit tea as it develops!


This was a really good note! I love the whole concept of ageing tea in citrus fruits. It looks so cool.


Very clever! I enjoyed reading about your homemade/handmade efforts!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Okay, that’s really neat! I kind of want to make one now.

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Thanks guys! I will taste it again after several months and will report again!

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This herbal tea should be steeped longer than real teas. Pour 200ml of hot boiling water over 1 tablespoon of leaves. Cover the cup and let it steep for 20-30 minutes.

This tea apparently has all sorts of healthy features, but I was interested purely in taste, because I want to find a good herbal tea which I can enjoy like I enjoy real teas. So, maybe this one did not pass the test.

This tea has an unusual taste, you can taste a hint of mint, a hint of rosemary, and a hint of marjoram. However, it is only made of one plant. I personally did not like this “combination”.

I recommend a teaspoon of honey. Because of tannin this tea has a bitter taste.

My conclusion is that this is not the one of those teas people drink on a daily basis, I guess, a good choice only if drank for health reasons.

Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Clover Tea by homemade
557 tasting notes

Saving words for a rainy day? Or are you zoning out on your yum?!

Tommy Toadman

thats the only word i could find today, sorry :)


Yum is a good word…Love is better! ;)

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ok, i had to stop with just 2 cups of this one, its just not for drinking all day like i do, its not hot to taste but you will get some body effects of the peppers, it would be the perfect cup to help keep warm on a really cold night tho.

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My brother made this tea and gave it to me, Ive heard of this tea idea before tho i know you can buy it somewhere. This is homemade Chocolate Chili Tea and it’s actualy quite Good. He made it with a Black Tea and Orange Peels and Red Chili flavored Chocolate, It has a bite to it very nice tho.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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