Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WuYi Qi Lan

This yancha is from Jing tea shop. Reasonably priced I might add.

The leaves have an exquisite aroma. Cherries are paired with a nice earthy undertone.
It is inviting.

The first infusion yields a very clear cup. It is shining and bright under the New Mexico sun.
Cherries and maple stood out in the nose of the liquor.
It is velvet smooth with a light floral quality. It leaves behind a wonderful hint of berry.

The second infusion brings out slight toasty notes that balance the sweetness of the cherries nicely.
Reminds me of a cherry pie.
There is a complimentary astringency to it.

Third infusion;
Quite floral this time. Very light body, accompanied by cantaloupe-esque flavors.

The fourth infusion brings an end to this tea.
Sweet water.
Toasty maple tones are still present, though.

This was a good tea.
It was not as bold as I would have liked it. It did not hold my attention or interest for very long.

Maybe next time I will prepare this Chao Zhou style and see if I can get more out of this tea.
It is a pretty easy drinker though so I would still recommend it.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Anxi Rou Gui

I purchased this Rou Gui from Jing tea shop along with several other teas, two of which I have already examined.

The dry leaf smells quite good; very floral with hints of honey and cream.

The first infusion's aroma has some nice orange zest to it, which is, I suppose, unexpected.
The taste is decent. It is floral with a cooling, oily texture.
As the liquor cools, cassia is found.

The second infusion is flat tasting. There is no complexity. The orange zest is noted first and the aftertaste resembles rosemary.

The third infusion is dull as well. There is no flavor up front.
Texture is the only intriguing element to this tea.
A weak vegetal aftertaste comes forth.

The forth infusion (which I pushed a little harder to get SOMETHING from this tea) was strongly citrus.
There is nothing more. The tea makes me feel incomplete.
No depth.

Ten minutes later the aftertaste got to me. I am not quite sure how to put it into words, but it was not pleasing.

To cure the incomplete feeling as well as banish the aftertaste, a matcha latte was mixed.
-Matcha and water

With my taste buds enveloped in this wonderful beverage, I feel whole again.

I am usually not to critical on a tea and in truth I feel a bit bad about giving the Rou Gui a hard time, but my palate speaks its own words.


Edit: Just mug brewed the Rou Gui today (April 27) and it is a bit more enjoyable, but I just do not enjoy the flavor profile of this tea.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cha Qi + Religion + Tea

These are links to two posts which you should read, in my opinion.
They are thought provoking, insightful, and present new perspectives on tea.

They also happen to be written by a very talented, knowledgeable tea blogger.
I enjoy his blog very much.

Read away and enjoy!

- Tea and Christianity
- Cha Qi


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fallen Comrade

I love tea ware, all kinds of tea ware.

As of tonight, I despise glass tea ware.
Specifically untempered glass tea ware.

Glass tea ware is beautiful, but not so forgiving.

I do not like when I accidentally forget to warm up the vessel because then it shatters on any contact with hot water.

Sometimes I don't like being so careful.
Yixing from now on.

I loved this piece too...


Monday, April 19, 2010

2003 Anxi Tie Guan Yin

In the land of perpetual sunlight, there happens to be a rainy, muggy day.
To comfort me, this Tie Guan Yin, compliments of Jing Tea shop.
Could not have picked a better choice.

The dry leaf is pungent of roasted cocoa; almost like a dark chocolate, with a dash of cinnamon.
The sweetness presents itself to the nose already.

The first infusion;
heavy chocolate aroma.
The liquor is on the light side, but my mouth is filled with a sweetness present of anise and pumpkin.
A wonderful prelude to this tea.

The roasted notes take control in this movement.
The undertone of sugary sweetness lingers.

Chocolate and berries dance on the tongue.
But it is not an overpowering sensation.

Spicy. Cloves, anise, cinnamon...
then a caramel arises.

The following infusions play around with the said flavor notes.
This tea is sensational.

After eleven infusions, I am tea drunk.
Maybe the worst I have ever been.

It is excellent.

Rainy day blues are resolved.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guangdi Song Zhen

This was a small sample that Jing Tea shop sent with my order, so I thought I would take it for a session.

The leaves are very pleasing visually. The leaves and buds are formed into needle like spears, mostly covered with fine white down.
I like a tippy chinese green.

The leaves smell of honeyed grass, with a background nutty aroma.
Typical chinese green.

The first infusion is bright in color, and flavor.
It is mostly representative of the honeyed grass, but with a pleasing astringency tacked on.
Taste buds tingling.

The second infusion brings out a sharp grassy flavor.
A good sharp though, not a stinging, unpleasant sharp.
The lingering taste is present of the nutty scent found in the dry leaf.

Third infusion is honey dominant. The sweetness of some greens surprises me.
The kick of spicy radish is what the aftertaste says in this round.

In the fourth infusion, the tea is exhausting its final flavors.
A smooth sourness stays with me for some time.

The leaves, once unfurled, are a marvel.

This is an excellent tea, very representative of what the chinese can create.
This tea was nothing extraordinary though. I would not go out of my way to find it.
Just another green.
A happy introduction, or, a welcome home present to myself.


Teas to review...

Arrived back home late last night from California.
The tea class was a success and I am currently the youngest graduate of level III STI program.

I met many people and gained helpful contacts.

I also snagged a few teas there, and my order from Jing tea shop showed up.

Teas that you should be expecting reviews on in the future are...

-Guangdi Song Zhen
-2003 Anxi Xi Ping Aged Tie Guan Yin
-Anxi Rou Gui
-Wuyi Qi Lan
-Wuyi Da Hong Pao
-Mystery Sichuan Compressed Black tea brick (given to me by one of my classmates)
-Mystery Uncooked Pu'erh (given to me by one of the instructors)
-Nilgiri Frost STGFOP (one of the teas that was sampled in the class)

And since Disney Land was nearby, my mother gave me a gift of Mad Hatter tea.
It is a flavored tea but I will review it for fun!
Gracious mother of mine!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tea Certification

I am heading out to complete my final tea certification class through STI.
Once I complete this class (black teas) I will be certified level III.

My tea journey is just beginning.

I will be posting once I get back, maybe some pictures and more info about STI.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tea Shops in Anaheim

First off, this picture from Leaf Box Tea made my day.

Secondly, who knows of any good tea shops or markets in or around Anaheim California or the LA area?

I will be going there to complete my final Tea Certification course through the Specialty Tea Institute, where I will be graduating as a level 3.

I would love some good recommendations for shops though, as I hope to spend some money on quality tea!


Mi Lan Xiang - Honey Orchid

This is a Phoenix Oolong I snagged at the Red Blossom tea shop in the San Francisco chinatown. I loved the set up of the quaint shop and the employees were helpful and polite.

As soon as I got a whiff of the dry leaf, I knew I had to make a purchase.

The tea has a strong peachy, vanilla fragrance and the slightest earthy hint.
Masterful combination of these aromas drew me in.

The liquor of the tea is very aromatic and puts forth roasted nutty nuances.
The color is beautiful.

First infusion;
Apricot is the first flavor revealed;
a light, floral astringency follows.

The vanilla is found and is dominant;
the aftertaste is subtly roasted walnuts.

Floral scents dominate this round;
a sour aftertaste pleasantly tingles.

I am shocked by the differences in each brew.
This pushes me, to push the tea.

Sour has turned to spicy;
cloves appear, along with the apricot.

The tea suddenly drops off to sweet water;
the last taste this tea imparts to the liquor is mint.

The complexities and shifts in this tea's flavor make for an interesting session.
This is not a tea to relax and enjoy, this is a tea to actively discover.

The one thing that did bother me about the tea was the sudden drop off.
The flavor did not ween out slowly like usual.

Overall, quite an experience.
I actively discovered every minute of it!


See Asiatic Fox's opinion here

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alishan High Mountain

Another tea from Ten Ren.
All I was told is that it is an Alishan High Grown tea. It is quite beautiful.

The dry leaf emits a very buttery aroma.
Somewhere there can also be found a light hint of rose; very light.

From the cup comes a very light sweet and sour, grassy scent.
Very pleasing.

The first infusion is made with my freshly gathered spring water.
Velvet smooth with a semi-sour citrus hint.
After the citrus hit, the butter is noted as the liquor slides down. No astringency to be found.

The second infusion: The cream is prevalent as the first taste now, and the citrus follows.
A light astringency brings the balance needed to complete the taste.

The third infusion is sipped. All three tastes, sweet, sour, and cream, are blended harmoniously. Well rounded, and bright, this infusion is the favorite of my taste.

The tea lasts for a long while.

Very much enjoyed. Green oolongs are a personal favorite.
For as pricey as this tea was ($50 for 3 oz) it is well worth it.