You may consider this a continuation of the post I wrote a couple of days ago, and which you can find here http://steepster.com/Angrboda/posts/106070
If you can’t be bothered to go link hopping, I wrote about this tea in multiple (4) short steeps but didn’t come to a rating conclusion because I found the four infusions so vastly different from one another. Some had elements that I really like and some had elements that I dislike, so it was all rather confusing. Over all though, I found it a bit wan and as though there was something missing.
This time I’m having it steeped western style. This is what I mostly do, so I have more of an idea of what to expect here. In my experience western style usually yilds a darker and deeper sort of infusion, where gong fu is more about picking up on smaller nuances. Compare it to impressionist paintings. Western style gives you the big picture and only that, where gong fu allows you to step closer, inspect the technique used in painting and the combination of colours and then piece it all together into a whole yourself. I suppose that makes gong fu an exersize in tea tasting, where western style becomes more like having the answer sheet handed to you.
This in turn leads me to wonder if the reason I tend to prefer western style may in fact be due to being lazy.
Anyway, I have made it western style today, and I do indeed now sit here with a considerably darker and deeper sort of brew.
This time I’m getting none of the floralness that I had objections about in the earlier attempt. The aroma is all bready and toasty, and with a certain amount of autumnal notes to it. Like the smell of leaves on the ground in the forest in mid-autumn. A bit earthy and a bit wooden as well. Mostly though, it’s toast and freshly baked goods I’m getting. If I really really concentrate, there is a mild chocolate note in it as well, but I can only find it if I’m searching for it and then only if I hold my nose in a very specific distance to the cup. I suspect it’s some of the toastiness that gets transformed under these circumstances.
The flavour is all dark and earthy now, and there’s a nutty top note on it. It’s like I first get the basic earthiness and then the nutty note pops up at the top of the mouth and works its way downwards to the tongue. A bit wooden, but mostly nutty. And lets face it, most nuts are kind of woody in flavour anyway.
As with the aroma, I’m getting a lot of toasty notes in along with the nuts, but it no longer gives me any baked goods associations. Toasted nuts, perhaps? That makes sense, actually.
There’s an intersting difference between my gong fu results and my western style results. Gong fu gave me the barest hints of caramel, but in this round the barest hints of caramel has turned into strong hints of chocolate. Apart from both of those being sweet flavoured, they’re not really related flavours at all. I think it’s the deeper feeling to the western style flavour that does it.
As it cools a little, the nutty notes take over and it’s a very toasty and nutty sort of profile. It tastes a bit like it should be a little astringent, like many nuts are, but when you pay attention to that, you find to your surprise that it’s not astringent at all.
The aftertaste is woody and nutty as well, and unlike the gong fu session, here it’s very long, prickling on my tongue and palate long after I’ve swallowed. I always appreciate a good long aftertaste IF it’s a pleasant one (green and white teas for me often aren’t). It’s like it makes the cup last longer.
Maybe it makes me rather a philistine or perhaps I’m just too bone idle to really appreciate gong fu, but I do prefer western style brewings most of the time. Gong fu is fun to experiment with, but for me that’s all it is. I like the depth that western style provides.