311 Tasting Notes
Working on a gongfu cha session with this tea, but again failed to weigh it before starting the infusion. Net 3-4 twists of braid about 1 1/2 inches long, in small gaiwan, with tap water about 205 degrees. Very nice. Also not keeping track of the duration of the infusions…..
This is spicy/earthy/fruity/umami tea. So nice, mmmmm. It does get a little too intense when I forget that it is infusing for a few minutes, but diluting about 1:1 brings out the good stuff again, easily. An excellent companion for overlong paperwork sessions.
After a suggestion from a tea-friend, I tried this today at a lower than usual temperature, 145 degrees, increasing to 160 degrees over the course of the session with about 6 infusions. It was lovely lovely lovely.
(about 1 g tea per oz water, 5 grams in 150 mL kyusu, tap water, infusions about 30", 15", 30", 45", 1 min, 2 min).
A near perfect gongfu session tonight—a little tea, a little gaiwan, tap water about 185 degrees, and many infusions of varying lengths demonstrating sweetness, spiciness, fruitiness, floral essences, over and over in different proportions. It’s been a while since my last Dan Cong session—too long!
I was amazed by my first taste of the spring 2009 Ya Bao I received as a sample in a tea swap, but they were sold out. So I bought some of the summer harvest version, and at the time, they just weren’t as rewarding as the spring harvest.
So they sat in the cabinet, while other, more immediately impressive teas came and went.
Tonight I picked them up, packed a gaiwan with them—filled to the lid-line—and then added water at 160 degrees. This really made a lovely tea—sweet, floral, delicate, and I’ve had six tasty infusions already. I’d forgotten how nice these can be.
Trying a different temperature: 145 degrees, and it is quite entirely lovely. This is the sweet spot. 30", 10", 30". Upped temp to 155 for the 4th infusion. Sweet and nutty and lovely. Upping the rating for this new temperature.
Thinking about it a little more, the nuttiness is very reminscent of Long Jing. Quite interesting.
This is a sweet, nutty, vegetal sencha without the strong briny umami that I so often find offputting in more heavily steamed senchas and gyokuro.
The leaf is deep rich green, medium long fragments—not quite as long as the Sayamakaori from Yuuki-cha, but longer than my average Asamushi sencha, very sweet smelling, even a bit nutty.
2.5 grams of leaf in a small gaiwan, about 2.5 oz or 75 mL of tap water per infusion
1st infusion, 30 seconds
sweet, vegetal, nutty, very nice
2nd infusion, 10 seconds
vegetal, sweet, nutty—the nutty is a hint of astringency, I think, but not bitterness, and a hint of toasted/roasted flavor
3rd infusion, 45 seconds
again, the toasty, vegetal nuttiness, astringency, but light
a 4th infusion, 1 minute
still nutty, vegetal, now fairly astringent
The finished leaves are bright green, and moderately broken up, although I did fine one or two small whole leaves
I think part of the astringency is the brewing, here, because just for accuracy’s sake, not really for comparison, I’m brewing up some of the Yuuki-Cha Sayamakaori sencha at the same time, and finding some of the same elements in it—not the roastedness, but more astringency than I’m used to. I think my leaf-to-water ratio is really not quite the same as in the kyusu. But I’ve got a pretty good idea that this is going to be a very nice sencha, and am looking forward to first proper session with the Tokoname kyusu.
Both with this and with another new green tea I tried this weekend, it’s quite clear that despite attempts to control conditions, changes in brewing conditions for the purpose of doing these comparisons—brewing sencha in my gaiwans instead of my kyusu—sometimes distorts the results, because I’m moving outside my usual comfort zone.
A 2nd set of infusions, in the 5 oz kyusu with 4 grams of leaf, tap water 160 degrees at first, infusions 30", 15", 30"; raised temp to 170 degrees for 45 seconds and 1 minute infusions, worked out better, still some astringency but not as much, more to my taste.
This is a nice, vegetal nutty sencha.
First try with this aged puerh. Using tap water, small porcelain gaiwan, 2 grams of tea, and 60-75mL water with each infusion. Water is just off the boil.
Dry leaves smell of sweet rich soil.
First a flash rinse, then 20 second first infusion: sweet, earthy, anise, a hint of herby/spicy but no bitterness. The liquor turns my golden shino cup to deep red-orange.
30 seconds 2nd: sweet, earthy, thick, liquor and a little bitter
30 seconds 3rd: sweet, earthy, little bitter
30 seconds 4th: still sweet, earthy, no bitter, bit of fruity
45 seconds 4th: sweet, earthy, little spiciness/resinous but not bitter
60", 60", 60", 90"—color lightening, still sweet, mellow, earthy, bits of caramel and raisin or plum
2’, 2’, 3’—starting to lose it, heading towards sweet water. Going to try one more at 5 minutes—and there is still something there, even earthy and sweet coming forward despite having just eaten a mint. It’s not strong, but not quite just sweet water yet. Nice pu!
The big question I was trying to answer with this order from Nada was how much better aged puerhs are than my current young shengs and shus. While this is a very smooth and pleasant tea, I can’t say that I love it 5 to 10 times more than some of the lovely but quite inexpensive young pus I’ve gotten from other sources. It’s definitely smooth and mellow in a way that has no parallel in my young shengs, but it is approached by the better of my young shus, and the young shengs have other attractions like smokiness and umami that are absent in teas like this.
First try with this was from a free sample a included with a recent order. I can’t remember much about it except that I liked it enough to keep it in mind for the next order. Tried this again semi-western style: 2.5 grams of leaf to 5 oz of water, with longer infusions than usual, but it was too dilute and the personality of the leaf was lost. Guess I need to stick to the brewing parameters I’m more comfortable with.
Another round with 6 grams of leaf to those 5 grams of water, and now it’s starting to sing out brighter: sweet, fresh peas, caramel, sun-warmed hay. Mellow. First infusion was about 30 seconds at 160 degrees; 2nd 1 minute, same temp; third was 2 minutes, water 170, and it was a bit overdone—bitterness creeping in. Backed down a little by diluting and it was better, but I’ll be a little more circumspect with the next one. 1 minute and the sweet mellowness is back, rich and caramel and floral. Very nice tea. But I’m running out of room to drink more; will have to set the leaves aside for a while and continue later.
Tasted this one again as part of a tasting session from another forum.
It is quite a lovely tea.
Got a little sample of this free with my latest Norbu order, and because I want to get to sleep early tonight, I figured a low-caffeine tea was just the ticket for my first taste of the new stuff. I very much enjoy a roasted toasted flavor in my teas, but the first genmaicha I tried was overwhelmingly toasty and not at all to my taste. I think this tea must be what genmaicha wishes it could be: warm toasty but also sweet and surprisingly, fruity!
I started with 2.4 grams of tea in my small gaiwans (about 75mL or 2.5 oz water per infusion), with water at 150 degrees. I used shorter infusion times than Greg recommends just because I’m a tea wimp and like most of my teas a little more dilute than average, and for the same reason I started on the lower end of his suggested temp range.
I started 30 seconds, then 15, 30, 45, 45. All infusions were warmly toasty, but not so toasted as to be bitter (in this very different than that genmaicha that I couldn’t really enjoy at all). They were also sweet, and where I was expecting some vegetal flavors from the green leaf, something alchemical happened with the toasted stems transmuting it into fruitiness. Wonderful, odd, but wonderful. Very very nice. The sweet n’ fruity faded with later infusions, but even at my fifth it was delicious (probably lasting so long because of my short infusion times).
This is a very nice tea.