Monday, January 14, 2008

New Teaware and Rishi Oolong

Over Christmas I picked up two new items that I was anxious to play with, so I looked through my store's tea selection for a few teas that I could sample and pair with my recent acquisitions. I settled on two oolongs from Rishi.

Yixing "Xishi" Pot and
Rishi Wuyi Oolong (Qi Lan)

I am very picky about yixing pots, which is why I have so few of them, but the Xishi style has always appealed to me. I understand these pots are named after Xi Shi or possibly her breast. This is a nice one from Yunnan Sourcing that a Secret Santa bought for me. It has a fast pour and does not dribble or leak, well, it doesn't leak much. I decided to use it for yan cha.

The Qi Lan smells like cocoa and raisins with a moderately heavy roasted scent. I normally have quite positive results with this tea; it should taste like chocolate and a bit of sugarcane, slightly complex and nuanced, but this tin in particular has yet to yield a decent cup. Possible variables include my inept and sporadic gong fu skills, or perhaps this isn't a "good" batch; I've noticed before that the quality varies sometimes, and I occasionally get a "bad" tin. It could also be the new pot. I will brew this tea again with both my new pot and a gaiwan and compare. Could be interesting.

Adagio's Glass Mug Infuser
and Rishi's Citron Oolong

I bought a glass mug infuser for a variety of reasons, curiosity for one. I wanted to see how glass teaware performed, and Rishi's version has been selling quite well for us. I also wanted a convenient way of brewing scented or flavored tea--I don't always feel like using a gaiwan. But mostly I just can't seem to get enough teaware, and simply must have one of everything.

I chose Adagio's because I found one at Target for a good price, and I liked the infuser more.

Like the infuser mug, I had been curious about the citron oolong, because it had been selling well. It has a thick, sweet lemon aroma, reminds me of Lemon Heads. If you don't like lemon/citrus, you wont like this tea. It tastes like lemon with other assorted citrus fruits in the back ground. As flavored teas go I'd rate this one as decent but not phenomenal. Looking at the wet leaves it appears they use a greener oolong. I think this would be a pleasant tea to drink if you had a cold, as I am reminded of the hot lemon and honey drinks my parents fixed for me when I was ill as a child.

The infuser mug performed well. The strainer is excellent and the glass has better heat retention than I thought it would. After three minutes I used a digital thermometer to compare temperatures between the mug and one of my better kyusu. There was only a two degree difference. I would highly recommend one of these for making tea at work or as a budget, all purpose tea pot for beginners.


Anonymous said...

Great info. here. I'm actually tempted now to try the infuser mug. I've always resisted, but better glass than plastic. Can't do plastic. Thanks!

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