I’m pretty sure it’s officially summer in the city for the next 2 months. 10-day forecast shows no fog and all sunny days getting into the 70s next week. Good for drinking down my white teas and fruity and/or lighter-bodied greens as well as small amounts of other teas I have left to make room for what’s coming.
My lover left last night for his annual 2-week vacation in Vietnam. I went with him a few years ago and was kind of awestruck at how comfortable and easy-going it is there, at least as a Western tourist. We made friends with a local woman who was excited to come across a few English speakers she could practice with since the city we were staying in has a majority of Russian and Chinese tourists. It was incredible having her show us around. We accompanied her on a long bus and scooter ride to her family’s home in a small village on the water where we feasted on bowls of fresh fish noodle soup, some kind of bitter legume, sugarcane and mango leather. It was a spur of the moment trip to her family’s, so we didn’t have any tokens of appreciation to offer. I wish I could go back and give them a gift, but I’m stuck here trying to improve my lot in life. Anyway, his layover is in Guangdong, China, so I’m hoping he finds some tea at the airport to bring home. Somebody else he made good friends with in Vietnam has some tea connections, so I’ll at least be getting some new Vietnamese teas to try.
Oy. I’m highly caffeinated and rambling.
This is obviously a Chinese tea!
I tried brewing this in my thermos long ago, and like the silver needles dragon ball, it was undrinkable due to bitterness and astringency. Today I revisited the tea, using a 150mL glass gaiwan. I did an initial steep/rinse at 190F for 30s which was drinkable and followed up the next 3 steeps with 195F at 30s. I upped the temperature to 200F once the ball started opening up about halfway and brewed based on color instead of time. Got 11 steeps before calling it quits. Lots of needles and nice whole leaves, very little broken material. It’s very compact so I left the lid on in between steeps to steam it.
Given all that information, I didn’t actually take any detailed tasting notes. It started out light and flowery and sweet and once I upped the temperature to 200F, it turned into a ridiculously good beeswax and honey with a little astringency, a little bitterness, a little citric sourness, a viscous texture leading into a waxy mouth coating and a very strong aroma of beeswax. SOLID. I’ll be purchasing more for now and for aging. I enjoyed this much more than the silver needle dragon balls.