Man Cha TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Strong Milky Oolong aroma on the raw tea. Creamy, floral, not over flavored either like some Milk Oolongs can be. Liquor is thick mouthfeel, creamy feeling even, coating the whole pallet with a prolonged and pleasant aftertaste. Tastes of warm frothed milk, Matcha notes, with a back end of uncut grass and white tea, with no astringency or dryness whatsoever. Not an everyday tea by any means but a wonderful break from some sweeter and also darker teas. Would make for an amazing tea Pannacotta.
Flavors: Artichoke, Chestnut, Honeydew, Marshmallow, Milk, Vanilla
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Followed Man Chas instructions (3g/250ml, 30s/40s/45s/etc. Smooth, lots of mouthfeel early on, strong flavor of dark honey, not saccharine sweet though, w/ molasses and dark malt initially. Hints of honeysuckle/lilac, apricots, sweet potato. Developing over the pours to a slightly more tannic mouthfeel, showing it’s Oolong roots on the nose more as the rounds go on. Leaves show a nice oxidation on the boarders once opened, a tea that looks like it was made with care and knowledge. Possibly too sweet for some but perfect on a cool fall afternoon in Massachusetts. Will be buying more to stash.
Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut
A beautiful brick with smells of camphor, light leather, books, and spice. Begins thick, I mean dense, just opaque with flavors of pepper, resin, body, barnyardy but not musty, like old hay. Becomes more and more aromatic through the middle pours and the taste gains complexity as the liquor becomes less opaque. Floral and slightly sweet like brown crystal sugar at one point, this tea is a wonderful if not expensive Shu. Rinse then 15s/ 15s/ 25s/35s/and so on to your liking 1 brick : 8oz or Gong Fu Pot
Flavors: Barnyard, Black Pepper, Camphor, Dark Wood, Leather, Malt, Moss
Today I learned that cooking a meal with two professional chefs in the house is a real adventure. In proper housemate fashion we are taking turns cooking dinner, I am not a cook, you have probably all figured out by now that my forte is baking. Specifically baking sweets of the gluten free variety, when the chefs leave the kitchen to me. But oh when I try to cook a meal the chefs hovered and helped and eventually took over. I do not mind because I am an awful cook, learning is great, but being reminded how terrible I am at cooking is humbling. At least I know I can provide everyone with mounds of baked yummies! Also I am pretty sure everyone’s goal now is to fatten me up…and where did that giant cauldron come from?
Back to Hong Kong we go thanks to Man Cha Teas! Their Puer Tea is a fantastic compressed cube of good fortune, my photo does not do it justice, but it is compressed with the Fu character, which translates to good fortune. I find the name of this tea a bit refreshing, it is just Puer Tea, I know from its appearance that it is Shou and from the website that it is from Yunnan, not knowing the factory and such means no expectations, which is like a fun adventure! The aroma of the little cube is a typical Shou, very earthy, with notes of wet loam, peat, old wet leather, and wet oak wood. The oak wood notes give it a bit of sharpness similar to a woody black tea. A tannic quality that leans more towards malty heaviness than brightness.
Brewing the tea in my standard elephant Duan Ni Yixing teapot, the aroma of the wet (and not so much cubed anymore) is sweet and earthy, like really sweet, lots of molasses and caramelized sugar with a hint of maple syrup too. There is a bit of loam and soil at the finish making it not all sweetness, but I am really impressed by the sweetness of this tea. The liquid is is loamy and sweet, with molasses and soil, also a hint of pepper and nutmeg, my first spicy puerh, fun!
The first steep has a crazy thick moutheel, soupy and almost syrupy like pine sap. The taste is very earthy, like a full mouth of loam, clean soil, and a nice burst of peat. The earthiness transitions to sweet molasses and leather and a fun finish of pepper. Surprisingly this puerh was cooling rather than the more familiar warming sensation I am used to with Shou.
Onward to the second steep! The aroma is earthy with notes of wet loam, forest floor after a summer rain (specifically a pine forest) and again a touch of pepper. The tasting starts with the thick moutheel again, it coats the mouth it its thickness while not being cloying. The taste itself is similar to the first steep, but the sweetness is more mellow and the earthiness more pronounced. The leather and pepper notes at the finish are there as well, in fact this tea kinda reminds me of sinking into a comfy leather chair, it has a comfortable, homey feel to it.
The third steep continues with the earthy aroma, reminiscent of forest floors and summer rain, with the now familiar touch of pepper. This steep is earthy and mellow, I find myself very relaxed by it and I keep dozing off in my chair, which sadly is not leather to evoke the leather taste notes in the tea. The finish has lost its pepper finish and replaced with gentle wood.
My life has become so chaotic and unsure lately, remember my epic adventure I hinted at the other day, well nevermind about that. I will have an epic adventure, but it won’t be for at least another year…probably. See, things are crazy! So that means that some days there won’t be a blog and some days there will be two. Regardless of craziness, I have an excellent work in progress that I will be working on today…a tea table, yes, it is time to get back to work on my antique table turned into a tea table project. Still need to find a good water proof and heat proof varnish, since my last attempt at a water proof tea tray ended in sadness because the heat warped things.
Today’s tea came to me from Hong Kong, which totally made my day because that city is sooo high on my list of places I want to visit! From Man Cha Teas, I present White Peony! Ah, but this is no ordinary pile of fluffy Bai Mu Dan, this is something unique and spherical. From Fuding, China, this tea involves taking the needles and leaves of a typical Bai Mu Dan and gently withering them and wrapping them into a ball, sans any heating or drying. I think this is the first spherical tea I have had, not counting blooming teas, which are totally different. Before I get into the review, I want to point out the little card, one side has a lovely photo and the other a bunch of relevant info to the tea, I LOVE when tea companies include things like this, I tend to keep them as little relics of past teas. So, how does this little ball smell? The aroma is not too terribly strong, I get hints of honey, melon, and cucumber with a touch of sourdough bread and a general yeastiness. The melon and cucumber give the tea a bit of a cool edge, which is great because at the time of taking my tasting notes it was hot! It more I sniff the stronger the notes become, clearly warming it up with my sniffing allows the aroma to escape.
I decided to use my green gaiwan (easy gaiwan, pseudo houhin, whatever) for this orb of tea, it should have enough room for the ball to explode into a pile of leaves. The aroma of the partially fallen apart orb is pretty melon heavy, like a blend of honeydew and cantaloupe, funny…I kinda hate melon, but I like the notes in white tea. There are also notes of mellow cooling cucumber and a crisp muscatel note reminiscent of white wine. The aroma of the liquid is very mild with sweet spicy notes and a bit of honey.
Oh wow, the first steep is super sweet, starting out with a flower nectar and honey sweetness, it is very clean and clear tasting with a smooth mouthfeel. The initial nectar sweetness transitions to cooling cucumber and finishes off with a delicate sweetness. The initial steep was mild, but the itense sweetness made up for it.
On the second steep, the leaves have really exploded, no more orb to be found, and the color of the liquid has become quite dark and rich. The aroma is like a spicy white wine, makes me wish I knew more about wine so I knew exactly which one to compare it to! The taste is rich with a thick mouthfeel, there are notes of muscadines and honey, it reminds me of the Grecian honeyed wine I used to make and drink, very sweet and heady. The finish is cooling cucumber and a lingering cucumber aftertaste.
For the third steep, the aroma is a bit milder, like gentle honey and cucumbers, with a hint of white wine. The taste is surprisingly not as sweet, it takes on a slightly vegetal savory tone, with notes of cucumber and lettuce being the predominant notes. This transitions to a sweet grape and melon finish with an aftertaste of cucumbers. I enjoyed this sphere of white tea immensely, perfect for a hot day!
For the blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/06/man-cha-teas-white-peony-tea-review.html