Friday, July 30, 2010

Tai Ping Hou Kui

A purchase from JK Tea Shop.

This tea has one of the most beautifully crafted dry leaves.
Country; China.
Province; Anhui.
District; Huangshan.
This tea was small farm processed and produced.

Production is as follows: leaves are plucked; withered; pan fired; pressed and flattened; then roasted (I believe).

The dry leaf has a distinct aroma of honeydew and roasted chestnut. It is quite fresh. There is also a striking smell of rubber or something of that sort. I could be mistaken, though.

The first infusion was sweetly vegetal. A mild sour astringency is felt on the tongue and in the back of the throat. The rubber displays in the texture. The liquor is sticky in feel.

The second infusion;
The taste reminds me of stevia and snow pea.
Flavor is lighter on the whole, and it is quite light in color.

The plucking standard is two leaves, no bud.
This gives the tea great body, and almost no bitterness. The tea can be left brewing for quite a while and not gain any bitter qualities.

This is a great example of a taiping houkui, but it is not the best one on the market. But for the price, it is fairly decent.
I find this tea to be wonderful during the summertime.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Images and Tea

Tea making is a simple process.
Heat the water,
steep the leaves,
drink the tea.

In a small cottage I was staying at for a while, that was my way of thought.
No fancy utensils.
Just enough to get me by.

These are all shots in and around where the cottage was located.
Enjoy the images.

Feedback welcome.
I am a novice with a camera, still photo wise.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lung Ching Brewing

A post at Wrong Fu Cha prompted me to try my hand at this unique method of brewing.
I am using my Ten Ren dragonwell.
A large bowl, a gaiwan, a delicate green tea, and a faircup are needed.

Room temperature water and the tea are put into the gaiwan.
The gaiwan is placed in a larger bowl.
Boiling water is poured into the larger bowl which will surround the gaiwan.
The boiling water slowly raises the temperature of the water in the gaiwan.

I brewed for a lengthy 1:30 seconds.
The dragonwell I used is a 2008 so I decided it needed a bit more time.
This tea still brewed up a flavorful cup. Good quality.

The resulting liquor is sweeter, a bit thicker in mouthfeel, and less toasty. The slow raising of the water temperature brings out components of the leaf that are not brought out right up front when using water around 160-180 f.
It is definitely a different way to bring out different notes in the same tea.
I enjoy the toasty flavors in a dragonwell especially, so I may not be using this method to often, but it did spark my curiosity.

Definitely worth a try for greens.
I will be brewing my greens a few different ways now to see which method suits that specific tea.
Good to have a back up plan.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dong Ding

My last sample from Naivetea.
I have enjoyed them all so far!

The dry leaf is a bit dark, it almost has the color of a gunpowder. The leaves are rolled in smaller pearls, but I do believe that has something to do with leaf size. The higher the altitude, usually the smaller the leaves.

It smells like toasted buttermilk bread. The roast and hints of cream are showing. There is also an aroma I find common to almost all Dong Dings; cucumber.

The liquor had a nice mixed aroma.
Barley and chamomile.
Also a bit of sweet fruit, along the lines of a nectarine.

The brew had a sweet entrance. Light peach flavors show first.
A woody / dry leaf taste was next to come. There was no astringency to be found.
The texture was mildly brothy and overall quite savory.
Dong Dings usually are not a tea I would consider a favorite of mine, but this one did not give me any bad or unwanted flavors.

In the latter infusions, more of the slight roast is imparted into the liquid.
The representative cucumber taste is pronounced.
The tea takes on a more rounded flavor profile as the leaves continually release their bounty.
The light caramel color of the liquor remains a constant throughout the infusions. I must say, this tea has endurance.

Dong Ding is a specialty of Taiwan. I enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The leaves never quite fully expanded, but I have come to notice that firing creates a stiffer leaf. There is not a waxy look or feel to the leaf.
The wet leaves are almost coarse. The varying degrees of oxidation on each leaf is something I look for. It should be almost uniform throughout, and in this, it is.
I am glad to have had the opportunity of tasting these teas.
Once again, a thank you to Mr. Lai.


Saturday, July 10, 2010


I am sorry about the lack of posts lately.
I have been busy with entertaining visitors, my personal life, birthday etc..
I should be getting back to regular posting by this coming week.

I have an unbelievable amount of teas to review so I will not be running out of content any time soon!

Thank you for your patience everyone!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bai Hao

There is a great confusion on this tea, Bai Hao.
I want to put in my thoughts.
As most of you know, the leaves of Bai Hao tea are chewed on by leaf hoppers. If one has a good quality bai hao, you may look at the infused leaves and find little black marks, or even holes where the insect has chewed away at the leaf.
This does affect the taste of the tea greatly, but not how most people would think.
When the tea plant is attacked, it starts formulating compounds to combat the leaf hoppers.
Caffeine is one of the defense mechanisms of the plant; it is a bitter substance and so is not appealing to the insects. The leaf hoppers do not seem to mind the caffeine, so the plant has to produce other chemicals to ward off the invaders.
I do not know the exacts on the chemicals produced, but I believe that, as well as premature oxidation is what causes bai hao to have its unique flavor.

Now the tea.
This is a Bai Hao from Naivetea.

The dry leaf smells like it should; Honey, apricot and malt first come to mind. It is a big giveaway of the sweetness of the tea in the cup.

The tea exhibits varied flavors on the palate throughout the infusions.
There was a wheat taste to it.
A citrus flavor.
Malty grains and honey.
A nice astringency on the back of the tongue.
In the finish there was a slight mineral hint.

One thing I thought was interesting about this tea is that it switched back and forth between sweet and sour periodically.
The sweetness was at the beginning infusions.
The sourness was at the later infusions.
And the infusions after the later infusions showed more sweetness.
This tea is bold, delicate, flavorful, delightfully aromatic and very palatable.

I forgot to check my leaves of insect damage, but maybe some of you might be able to find it in the picture.
Overall this is on the upscale of bai hao teas that I have tasted.
The infused leaves really show the quality of this fine tea.
Wonderful session.