A Tea Addict's Journal

Entries from January 2006

Tuesday January 31, 2006

January 31, 2006 · Leave a Comment

Another day, another cup (last night I got home late and ended up doing the leaves-in-a-cup thing, yes, I deserve to die for that). Today, another Puerh. This one though is something I got from Hong Kong. It is from a teashop called Sunsing. They’re not the best tea shop in Hong Kong, and the guy who served me was actually rather dismissive (another rant for another day). However, they do sell decent Puerh there, and this one I got is a loose leave Puerh

No flash, pretty close to actual colour I’m seeing

This is my Puerh pot

Anyway, so this is what I’m having today. It wasn’t exactly cheap, but when I saw it in the teashop it looked really good, and I had a taste of a leftover brew (something like 7-th brew, perhaps) and it tasted quite nice even then. I decided to get an ounce, most of which is what you see in the first pic.

The tea leaves smell like nothing, as one would expect of an old aged Puerh that’s well kept (it really shouldn’t smell very strong of anything at all). The tea brews a dark brown, almost black, but not pitch black like the other one I had from Upton.

Taste — very nice, slightly biting entrance, with a decent astringency and a good aroma coming from it. The lingering smell in the cup is that of spices — at least for the first 3 brews or so, that’s the case. Now that I’m on my 5th brew, it changed a bit into a more mellow smell, but still there. You can definitely taste the “raw” character of the tea, telling you that it is definitely an aged Puerh, rather than a “cooked” Puerh that is aged artificially and thus has no real character. The tea leaves, when brewed, is a medium to dark brown. While not cheap, it was well worth the money, I think, and good for variety sake.

The great thing about buying loose leaf Puerh, rather than cake Puerh, is that 1) they are cheaper in comaprison and 2) they are easier to deal with. I have a few cakes, but it’s a pain to have them around and breaking them apart to drink always feels like a waste no matter what, whereas with loose leaf I feel no qualms.

Back to my tea…

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Sunday January 29, 2006

January 29, 2006 · Leave a Comment

So, yesterday was the Puerh day from Upton, which wasn’t so good. Today, I’m trying the new Tieguanyin I got.

Packaging — the thing comes in a small, round tin can. Inside is about 10 packs of tea, each individually sealed and is vacuumed. One bag, however, seems to have the vacuum seal broken. Since one pack is not really big enough, I decided to open two packs at the same time, and picked out one of the regular ones and the one that has its seal broken.

I opened the pack, stuff comes out, green, little beads of tea leaves. The colour is a nice fresh green, at lesat for the pack that is sealed properly. For the pack that isn’t sealed, it is obvious that a little oxidation took place and the colour is a little darker. For the sake of testing, I’m using a gaiwan today, as opposed to my qingxiang Tieguanyin teapot, so that the taste of the tea is coming from the leaves and not the pot.

Taste — hmmm, it is rather interesting. The tea is slightly bitter, but that might be because I used two packs, which is a little too heavy for the small gaiwan I use. Also, the fact that one pack oxidized might have made a difference. The taste is mellow, but it has the proper Tieguanyin finish — a very long aftertaste that lingers in the mouth/throat for a long time. Nice! I don’t think I’ve had Tieguanyin bought in this country that has this taste, so this is a nice change. Taiwan teas don’t do this and it’s a major drawback of their style.

The tea smells like nothing. The lingering smell in the cup, however, is a fairly nice fragrance. For $20, this is not too bad, actually. Like I said, I can probably get this in China for half the price, but alas, you pay for convenience. I might get more of this in the future when I run out. I need some qingxiang tieguanyin to feed my teapot, and it is actually one of my favourite styles of tea. This will be a useful, everyday drinking type of tea for that purpose.

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Saturday January 28, 2006

January 28, 2006 · Leave a Comment

So, maybe I’ll start a blog about tea.

Yes, tea, that magical plant that gives me (and millions others) so much satisfaction. Yes, caffeine has something to do with it, but that’s not the only thing. It’s wonderful. The varieties are endless, and the quest for that great cup of tea never ending. Everyday I drink something different, and everyday it refreshes me.

Today I tried something from Upton Tea Imports for the first time. I bought a sample of their best Puerh, as well as a tin of their best Tieguanyin. The price, of course, means that it’s probably not all that good, but I decided to try it out anyway, since I need a source in the US.

Well, I gave the Puerh a go. The tea is loose, not cake, and it looks suitably aged, although with some white bits on it, which means it’s probably slightly moulded. The smell is very strong, another not-so-good sign. It does look well aged, and the leaves are brown, not black, so it’s probably well post-fermented.

The brew turned out to be almost pitch black, but very mellow. There’s very little bite to the tea, and it comes out a little sweet initially with a slight aftertaste in the end that lingers a bit, but not much variation. I brewed it about 7 times, and it stayed rather constant, which seems to suggest that it was actually “cooked” rather than “raw”. Or worse, it got wet (literally) during storage and thus is eternally messed up. That’s actually more likely.

Not worth trying again, I think I’ll stick to the stuff I get from Hong Kong. We’ll see how the Tieguanyin fares. It is obviously from China and I can probably buy it for half the price in Fujian.

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