A Tea Addict's Journal

Entries from September 2008

The power of silver

September 5, 2008 · 2 Comments

It can make my $3 huangjingui taste like $30 huangjingui.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, since the tea is still weak and a bit flat, but at the same time, I got the most incredible throatiness for what is certainly a mediocre tea today, and the only variable is the kettle used. For people like me who look for such things and appreciate them in tea, it’s a nice plus. The taste also changed a bit — cleaner, as I’ve mentioned before, and a little sweeter. Tetsubins can be heavy sometimes for the lighter teas, and huangjingui is on the light side of things.

And for those who remain skeptical — the difference should be obvious, not subtle. My friend who owns a silver kettle said the same when he first tried it — he thought it would only be a minor difference, but it turns out the changes are quite dramatic.

This, however, is not an endorsement to go out and buy a $3000 kettle. They’re not worth that much money.

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Silver kettle

September 4, 2008 · 2 Comments

I got a heating plate (you can see a corner of it in yesterday’s picture) so I can safely heat my silver kettle without running a high risk of screwing it up. I noticed that a flame will help tarnish the silver, even just a little. I decided I’d like a more even and less risky method of heating the thing.

I brewed some wet stored Vietnamese puerh today, and at first, used a tetsubin. Then, near the end, I switched to the silver kettle…. with a remarkable difference. The fact that they’re different is of course not surprising, but exactly how it’s different and what’s different is, perhaps, still a little startling when drinking it. The tea comes out much cleaner in taste, and also much sweeter. Maybe it loses a little body, but it’s definitely a different tea when using the differently prepared water.

I wonder how the Huangjingui will taste with the silver kettle. Time to experiment.

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September 3, 2008 · 3 Comments

I bought some random tea recently from the local Asian market

This is Huangjingui, a variety of oolong that is often used to imitate tieguanyin. They don’t quite taste the same, and tieguanyin (real ones anyway) are better, but if you don’t know much about this stuff… you might just think this is tieguanyin.

It’s certainly hard to tell by looks

The tea is thinner, and this particular one is slightly sour. The taste is a bit different from tieguanyin, and that, I think, is the biggest marker of difference, but taste is a fickle thing, and as we all know, taste is relative and subjective. It can easily be sold at some “gourmet” tea shop as some “jade oolong” and cost you $10 per 50g.

It’s not the greatest tea… but probably worth the $3 I paid for it.

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