Monday, October 25, 2010

Dunn Hall Tea Time

I live in Dunn Hall. I am surrounded by the best, most diverse group of guys I have ever met.
In Dunn Hall there are a variety of traditions, some of which I shall not disclose. One of them, however, is very fitting to the context of this blog.

Dunn Hall Tea Time has been an almost weekly event for about a year.
One of the students organized and hosted this tea time. We became acquainted (naturally, as I tend to happen upon anything relating to tea) and I jumped on the opportunity to be involved.
There were about 12 people that attended.

I brought and served an interpretation of an eight treasures tisane blend, and a 2009 autumnal flush darjeeling.

The man hosting the event brought a chocolate mint black tea, and a few Chinese greens and oolongs.
All were well received.

It was an enjoyable time of intellectual conversation, musical talent and appreciation, opposing opinions and good old fashioned brotherhood.

I feel like I am doing my part in spreading the love of tea to my eclectic generation.


P.S. I am sorry about the photo quality. These pictures were taken with my phone. I have been trying to set up mobile blogging (android OS has an app for that) but I have to do some troubleshooting before I have it running smoothly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

2006 Taiwan WuYi

This is another sample I received from Gingko, of Life In Teacup.

I did not find any information about this tea on Her blog or in the store description other than it was picked in the spring of 2006 in Nantuo, Taiwan, and it is a traditional heavy roast tea.

I could guess that the reason that it is referred to as a WuYi tea is because that the cultivar is specific to the WuYi region in China. Gingko may be able to fill us in if I have stated an untruth.

To the tea...(no pun intended).

The dry leaf had a very scattered aroma.
I sensed dried apricots, roasted banana and a woody tree bark sort of smell. This in itself was intriguing. Roasted banana is definitely a new one for me.

The liquor was . . . completely different.

Caramel was the dominant aroma and in the midst of that sugar sweetness, I could pick out the distinct smell of cinnamon raisin bread fresh out of the toaster.
That is one of the first times a tea has changed so suddenly on me.

I did not quite know what to expect as far as taste was concerned . . .

A thick, rich, caramel sweetness engulfed my palate. The syrup was almost sticky sweet.
The goop left hints of toffee, coffee and banana.
To finish it off, the aftertaste closely resembled fig newtons and butter.

The second infusion . . . very different, once again.
Roasted banana became the dominant taste, and of course, the tea was as thick as ever.
I can equate the texture somewhat to chicken broth mixed with a bit of corn starch.

Third infusion;
the sweetness turns more to wood.
The goopy, sloppy texture still remains.
Aftertaste; figs and dates.

a very unique vegetal taste appears.
Leafy; think bean sprouts. The next taste; red potatoes.

This tea is throwing me around like Goliath would a ragdoll.

The fifth infusion;
much more leafy.
The vegetal taste is quite powerful and has an aftertaste similar to matcha.

I can't take much more of this tea. The thickness affects my stomach.

Gingko mentioned on the site that this tea is fairly cheap.
I think that this tea would be money very well spent.
This was a memorable session for me and I am thinking about ordering the tea in a large quantity. It is truly an experience. I have never been so baffled by a tea. The curve-balls of the flavor and the thick texture really impressed me.
Thank you once again Gingko.


Monday, October 11, 2010

New Member of the Collection

This is a tea pot purchased from a local flea market. I did not expect to find a pot like this, somewhere like that.
Hidden in a back corner of a case cluttered with all sorts of other goods, a friend's eye caught a glimpse of this.

I presume it is yixing, perhaps cheaply made, but it only cost me about $4.00.
I figured it was not too much to lose.

The first thing about this pot one may notice is the speckles in the clay. Some are dark spots, others are shiny, and it is a bit of a rougher surface than some of my other yixings.
It is either not a pure yixing pot, or it is supposed to look like such. I am not a yixing expert by any means so please inform me if I am incorrect on the matter.

The pot is balanced nicely; it sits flat with the opening flush against the tea table.

I do not recognize artist marks.
Any clues..?

The opening looks like it was made in a rush with not a whole lot of effort put into it. I did not time the pour yet, but I believe it is about ten or eleven seconds and not too smooth.
Not too great, but I could deal with that. I just have to time my infusions to accommodate.

The pot on a whole looks rustic, but there are a few parts that I can tell have been hand-made or hand-edited, for lack of a better phrase.

The lid does not fit too snug, but it does not dribble when pouring so I do not find any complaints in that.

One of the surprising things about this pot was that it is almost perfectly balanced on water, more so than some of my other pots, which I do know to be true yixing.

For $4.00 I do not think this was a bad deal at all.
Any input or things to say about this pot from what you can see..?
Your contributions would be much appreciated!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Traditional 2001 TGY

This was among the samples that Gingko from Life In Teacup sent so graciously!

I have a spot in my heart, and palate, for traditional aged oolongs. Autumn is upon us as well, which means my tastes have changed with the season.

This is an Anxi Tie Guan Yin.

Dry leaf;
Cocoa, caramel, mahogany, a bit earthy, and the slightest smokey hint.
This is a smell all too familiar. In some ways it reminds me of Jing Tea Shop's 2003 TGY.

The liquor's aroma is of cocoa, baking bread and caramel apple. The earthiness has turned into a more wood-like aroma; a deciduous forest.
This is fitting for the current season.

The taste is excellent.
A rich, warm syrup coats my palate in dark chocolate and wood tones.
The prevalent caramel has now turned into sweet maple.

Sweet raspberry notes mingle with the dark chocolate as the ripe fruit characteristic is revealed. This tea has not bitterness or astringency whatsoever.

The tea gets mellower and thinner in body, but heavier in aroma in the latter infusions.

The long lasting infusions are very satisfying.
My infusion times were approximately, 1:00, 1:30, 3:00, 5:00, 10:00, 20:00 and 2 hours.

I find that if the tea is brewed longer, the liquor is more like a syrup and less like a liquid. This gives the tea very interesting textural quality.
The warming character of this tea is one that produced a smile among me and a few close peers of mine.

Thank you Gingko.