Monday, August 20, 2007

Ju Hua Bai Hao Yinzhen

Tea: Chrysanthemum Silver Needle
Origin: Fujian, China
Year: ?
Vendor: Rishi Tea
Price: $64/lb.

I do not enjoy flavored teas, and in the past I was not fond of chrysanthemum tea (ju hua cha). If you asked me, I would have told you that this tea was a waste of some perfectly good bai hao yinzhen. However, it was one of the new teas that came into our bulk dept., and I like Rishi, so I took some home.

This is a pretty tea. Throughout out the session I was taken in by the aesthetics of it, the colors, yellow blossoms of chrysanthemums, on white porcelain, punctuated with tender buds. A liquid-gold liquor. It felt like Spring.

Brewing parameters: 2 g/150 ml/185 F/4 min, 5.5 min, 7 min.

My over all impressions of this tea are a bit conflicted. I think it could have used a slightly smaller ratio of chrysanthemum to tea; the tea compliments the chrysanthemum perfectly, but gets over powered in the process, loosing the finer nuances of good bai hao yinzhen. On the other hand, it all tastes really good, naturally sweet with a...sort of 'spicy' mouth feel.

There was no discernible fluctuation in taste from the first three infusions. I imagine you could get a lot of mileage out of the tea, possibly six, perhaps even seven infusions before it paid out, although I tend to get bored with any tea before I get that far. This isn't any every day tea for me, but I'm tempted to give it a 5 out of 5.

Chuao Earl Grey Chocolate Bar
Sooner or later the extraordinary becomes ordinary when you are around it every day, thus it is easy to forget how good all the food at work is, or how fortunate we are to work in that kind of culinary environment. Oddly enough, it is the chocolate aisle that tends to remind me. I don't even like chocolate that much, but seeing shelf after shelf of gourmet chocolate bars in their shiny wrappers inevitably drives home the fact that my job is anything but ordinary.

Chuao, pronounced chew-WOW, is a Chocolatier in Southern California named after a cacao producing region in Central Venezuela. This is good chocolate (41% cacao), you don't taste tea per se, but the bergamot clearly stands out, giving the chocolate a pleasant citrus, umm, citrusy? citrusness? I would like to see a version of this bar using darker chocolate, something in 60-70%. That would be good, too.

1 comment:

Mary R said...

Hm. Very good to hear this one wasn't a waste of perfectly good yinzhen. I don't really have anything against flavors, but I did against flavored whites. I might give the florals a shot.

In the meantime, your review made me want to grab my copy of D.H. Lawrence short stories, so I'm going to indulge that impulse! :)