Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
When I mentioned that I was interested in aged oolong, he was very kind and sent me some samples, but he kept them a surprise:
"There are four teas in them, including two aged tieguanyin, one aged baozhong, and one aged Taiwan oolong. One of them is what is normally passed on in most teashops as "aged oolong", but is in reality probably just a tea that is a few years old with a lot of roasting. I won't tell you which is which (numbered 1-4) unless you want me to."
"I'd suggesting filling the vessel about 1/4-1/3 full of dry leaves, using the hottest water you can find, and infusing them as quickly as your hands allow, at least for the first few infusions."
Aged Oolong 1
It has a dry cocoa aroma with thick, fruity hints of raisins, dates, or figs; I couldn't make up my mind.
The tea is fairly simple, tastes roasted, light, then after taste of raisins. Thin mouth feel, dry, not sweet at all.
Aged Oolong 2
Much richer aroma. Smells like chocolate, cookie chocolate, not milk chocolate. The aroma brings to mind the word "purple." Don't know why. Some teas smell or taste green; this smells purple.
Again this was a simple tea. Less up front taste but sweeter over all with a sugar cane finish.
Aged Oolong 3
If I didn't know better, I would have guessed this was a puerh. Strong, earthy aroma, deep red liquor, hints of camphor and a smidgen of celery. It had a thicker mouth feel than the others.
Aged Oolong 4
I can't place anything specific in the aroma.
The liquor is "cola" brown.
This tea lacked discernible characteristics or nuances. More astringent, and I tasted a note of celery again, but mostly it tasted hot.
My guesses as to which is which, based on over all feel, taste, and appearance of the leaves, are:
# 1 Taiguanyin. I think this was the "aged oolong" he spoke of.
# 2 Taiguanyin.
Marshal, if you would be so kind to let us all know how completely wrong I am, that would be lovely. And thank you for the samples. I've often been envious of your experiences in China and Taiwan, having access to various tea shops, and it was great to get a chance to sample some these teas.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Taste. Honestly, I just don' like this one. There are many who disagree with me, but I think the Fukamushi Maki from Den's was much better. I have used about 90 grams so far, and I have yet to produce a cup of this stuff that I liked. Its strong and flavorful to be sure, but lacks the sweetness, complexity, and sass that I look for in a good fukamushicha.
Friday, April 18, 2008
A note on brewing: if you haven't tried gong fu-ing your white tea, I recommend giving it a try.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
There are a few other concerns with purchasing directly from Japanese vendors. A language barrier, exchange rates, and poorly translated web sites, sometimes lacking a clear way to even order the item you want can be intimidating. In some cases there isn't a "shopping cart" or an easy check out; the transaction is handled with emails and international money orders. Not to mention if you don't know anyone who has had experience with a particular site, you could always be taking a risk. But, thus far my experiences have been nothing but positive, and I still think this is the way to go.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
My back yard. We will be moving at the end of the year, and I am going to miss it. I love it, my wife not so much. She sees and old fence, weeds, and overgrown grass. I see something different.
The aroma is a bit under-stated, though it came from a bulk bin, so that is to be expected. The dry leaves smell fruity, a smell I tend to associate Chinese greens with. I put the leaves in a heated pot, and the more typical, herbaceous scent of sencha emerges.
I played around with this a bit, a using a slightly lower temperature and 4 grams for a minute fifteen really hit the spot.
The tea is light and fruity like a Chinese green, but with a bit more umph to it. A good change of pace from the more aggressive fukamushicha. The leaves are good for at least three infusions.
I bought a tripod for my new camera--Salsero was right; a whole new world of gotta-haves.
This camera is helping me discover a whole new passion for photography. Like the difference between talking about sex, and having sex.