So today I got packages from Camellia Sinensis (teaware – including my first ever Gaiwan) and JADEsCHA (another Gaiwan but in a different style – from my fabulous tea twin VariaTEA)! Both vendors included tea samples; from CS a sample of Darjeeling Casleton (took my a while to find it; it was sold out on the site, and not added into the Steepster database) and from JADEsCHA a Jasmine Pearl green tea, and this one.
I don’t know if I’m going to have time today to use both Gaiwans, but I thought I’d at least start with this one because I knew that pouring from it was going to be trickier and would require more practice, for sure. And, I picked this for my first tea because it’s a kind of oolong that I’ve got some familiarity with and it meant getting to use something from VariaTEA’s package as well – just in case I don’t end up using her Gaiwan today.
This is also, ‘officially’ my first Gong Fu session! I was nervous, but I’ve been bulking up on research videos on Youtube while waiting for this order to come in – I’ve learned a lot from all of your tasting notes, but really I just wanted to watch people using their Gaiwans to sort of feel at ease and kind of prepared. If that makes sense at all. I’m very excited about dipping my toes into this way of brewing and drinking tea!
Infusion One – 30 seconds:
My first time pouring out of a Gaiwan. I spilled probably about half of the tea onto my lap and couch. I expected as much. Definitely getting some notes of Sweetgrass and moss, and a very sweet finish; honey notes and licorice. So much licorice – and it’s really lingering in the aftertaste. Liquor is a medium yellow.
Infusion Two – 35 Seconds:
Still spilled, but not nearly as much! Still very mossy and green. It’s sweet with lots of honey and licoricey notes, but also had a few kind of wood like notes. The leaves are finally opening up now that the ginseng coating is really washing off.
Infusion Three – 45 Seconds:
No spillage! Liquor is much more close to a fluorescent yellow colour now. Not like “highlighter yellow”, but very bright. Much stronger wood/oak notes, as well as a dry nutty flavour – ginseng/licorice sweetness is still really strong but I can tell it’s starting to wain a little bit.
Infusion Four – 1 Minute:
No spillage again! Just a tiny bit of sediment in the bottom of my pitcher. STRONG wood notes, definitely a drier mouthfeel. More of a sugar cane/honey sweetness, and a little bit less licorice-y. Leaves are very open.
Overall, I thought this Ginseng Oolong was especially sweet; definitely more so than any other I’ve tried. Perhaps that’s because of the change in how I’m preparing it – but my gut is telling me it’s the tea itself that was sweet.
I know I could probably get more infusions out of this – but I’m definitely growing tired of it at this point, and I’d like to switch to a different kind of tea. Overall I think this was definitely a success though! I know I spilled a lot initially, but I didn’t really pour any leaves into my pitcher (hooray) nor did I burn myself (extra hooray)! And, I had a really fun time brewing as well!