A Tea Addict's Journal

That inexplicable taste

February 12, 2008 · 1 Comment

I am drinking my familiar aged tieguanyin from my candy store again, something that I’ve fallen back to consistently over the past few weeks. I think quite a few times, I’ve mentioned how this tea has a bit of a “sharp” taste that I couldn’t quite describe. Today, it occurred to me what it tastes like.

Korean Kimchi…

Yes, that slightly stinky fermented cabbage. No, without the spice. Imagine if you washed some kimchi in water, so that the pepper is gone. What’s left is a cabbage that’s a little sharp. Today, drinking the 15th or whatever infusion it was of this tea, I tasted that sharpness. Of course, it’s not the same. There’s a certain fruity sweetness accompanying this tea that makes it pleasant. But somehow, the basic character of the sharp taste is similar to that I feel when I eat kimchi.

It sort of makes sense. Kimchi is fermented cabbage. This tea has gone through a little bit of wet storage, of sorts — there’s that moldy character that you don’t get in purely dry stored oolongs. Strange to talk about these things with oolongs, but I am now quite convinced that such things do happen. They don’t turn bad. They’re just different.


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