Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taiwan Wuyi

A wuyi oolong varietal from Taiwan. It came from Floating Leaves Tea and was a sample given to me by a kind person who continues to expand my oolong horizons.

The leaves are a dark, rich green with the occasional stem. It smells like berries. I stuffed my little pot and used short infusions.

It tastes like peaches and apricots with a friendly astringency, sweet after taste, and medium mouthfeel. Similar to this dan cong from Tea Spring.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008 Nok Ya Won Wild Hadong Ddok Cha

This was a delightful sample of traditional Korean style tea that I received from Matt. If you haven't visited his blog yet, you don't know what you're missing. I often go over there just to see his wonderful photos.

According to Matt, "this tea was produced in eight steps. The first step involves the hand picking of this tea, in the clean and serene Jiri Mountain valley at a wild tea plantation just outside Hadong on the 10th of May, 2008. Secondly, the tea is dried in a large, gas-fired aluminum cauldron for 20 minutes. This acts to partially stop its oxidization. Next, the tea is removed from the cauldron and is placed on a rough, fibrous rush mat where it is violently rolled by hand. At this step the leaves break a little giving way to a reaction between tea and air. Then the tea is shade dried where it is exposed to the open air of the mountain valley for 48 hours. Next, the tea is separated and weighed into 100 gram piles. Then the leaves are steamed to soften them. When the leaves are supple they are pressed into cakes. Finally, they are left to dry in a warm room for 3-5 days."

According to Cha Dao, ddok cha "is a form of Korean compressed tea. The term ddok refers to the pounding method used to process the tea. In tradition, a pestle and mortar or a mallet and plank were employed. The name ddok is popularly thought to come from the sound of pounding with a large, wooden mallet on a large, thick wood plank: ddok, ddok, ddok."

The leaves smell fruity and light, similar to many Chinese greens I've had. When put in a heated kyusu, a caramelized sweetness emerges. The tea itself is light, fruity, sweet, with a distinct green finish and a delicate but full mouthfeel with layers of nuance. Everything that I like about Chinese green tea, only better.

Matt, thanks so much for my first introduction to Korean tea.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rishi Shu Puerh 125 Gram Cake

This is my first puerh cake. I was kind of excited to get it. I only dabble in pu from time to time, but this one was Fair Trade Certified and affordable, and I had been in the mood for some shu-pu, so I went for it.

I use 5-6 grams for a 5 oz pot.

I put the leaves in a heated yixing to enhance the aroma. Smells like pork, a bit more bacon-esque than the sweet, sausage notes I sometimes get from puerh.

This tea wasn't very good. It wasn't offensive, not like many of the mini tuo cha I've stumbled across, for example, but it was rather bland. Rishi's description of "smooth and mellow" is accurate; there is little to no astringency, but it is completely lacking nuance or complexity.

I'm a little disappointed it didn't turn out better, but not surprised. Puerh is not Rishi's strong suit, in my opinion, which is a shame, since it is about the only Fair Trade Certified pu I've seen.