The only alarm clock needed this morning was the bright sun! Those of us fortunate enough to live in higher altitude’s know about sun glare and the need to wear sun glasses year around. It’s really bright out today!
My condo looked like an alien spaceship was outside shining lights under the doors and windows trying to get a beam on me in my pajama’s. No deal! No alien was going to separate me from my tea cupboard!
A nice warm sunny day usually comes right before snow, someone pointed out yesterday. (Heck, we’ve had nothing but nice sunny days
for the past year!)
It’s December! The forecast looks promising for this weekend…we hope! I that December magic with a couple of inches of snow!
I have my camera ready!
This morning, I wanted to practice my Gaiwan skills with the new Verdant Sheng I purchased during the Black Friday sale.
I’ve been watching the new Verdant video and practicing how to pour and strain tea, shaking off all the water from the leaves so that there is none left. (Which causes bitterness in the next steeping)
I have a small 4oz. FAT (easy to handle) white Gaiwan, and I used a small amount of hard sheng (about 1.5 tsp). Boiling water.
(It is important that the water is filtered or you may have bitter tea.) A strainer is very useful. Always rinse the leaves once first.
My infusions were as quick as I could manage (5 seconds).
The liquor was a light yellow green, and the leaves smelled like sweet salty tobacco then changed and had a sweet herb scent.
The small amount of hard Sheng I used almost filled my Gaiwan half way with big green leaves when it expanded fully.
My first tasting was smoky, salty but not harsh. The scent was light tobacco, but the leaves were still tight and hard, waiting to expand. Not much to comment on as yet.
The second tasting was softer than I imagined it would be…sweet and savory on the finish with a smoky tinge and vegital something that reminded me of the feeling when drinking a Gyokuro.
For the third and forth infusions, the light smoke and saltiness settled down and an herb flavor, Greek Oregano came to mind… with a peppery bite. The tea never became dry or harsh but stayed smooth and very easy to drink.
As I went through each steeping (now on the fifth) I realized just how smooth this Sheng was. Something that I don’t always experience with a young Sheng.
The flavors were rolling around in my head for a long time because there was a definite umami quality about it!
There, I’ve said it!
Usually this is only a term used for Green Tea, but I experienced umami as this tea hit all the sweet, salty, savory, slightly bitter taste points.
This reminded me of roasting root vegetables like potato, red onions, sweet potato, parsnips with olive oil and butter, Greek oregano and sea salt. The vegetables retain the savory quality but roasting brings out the sweetness and smokiness too.
One thing that I don’t understand much about is aging Pu’er. That’s something I have to study up on. Right now though, this is a tasty
Sheng. You just have to be careful not to oversteep or you’ll have a bitter cup.