As you can see by the pictures below, my tea ware and tea tray have seen much more use lately. I am glad that some stains are accumulating, even with after session rinses. It shows some love and memorable use.
In my pot lately, pu'erh has seen much action (this one specifically). Also, roasted and aged oolongs, as the weather is starting to shift from warm Autumn, to brisk Autumn.
I find that aged and roasted oolongs (yesterday's tea) are perfect for afternoon Autumn weather here in Indiana.
The stains give these tea utensils character beyond what their maker put into them.
Stains make tea ware personal.
I had the privilege to be hosted in Dallas last weekend for a wonderful tea event put on by the owners of the Cultured Cup. If you are ever in Dallas, call them up and schedule a tasting or just a visit. They are some of the most wonderful people I have met in the industry.
Also, I was so fortunate enough to have a tasting session with Greg, the owner of Norbu Tea (a company who has been on my radar for quite some time). We tasted some wonderful aged pu'erhs, a Liu Bao basket tea and an aged Fo Shou.
I was also fortunate enough to be gifted a sample of a 15 year old Dong Ding (or so labeled) from Floating Leaves.
It is wonderful to come back to more periodic gongfu sessions with such outstanding teas.
The dry leaves have the smell of roasted barley, brown sugar, and vanilla. I find that aged oolongs often smell much sweeter than they actually are, as it would be a dessert tea if it really did taste as sweet as it smelled!
Once the water is poured off the leaves for the rinse, I can immediately smell notes of strong coffee off of the damp leaves.
After the first infusion is poured into the faircup, I plunge my nose into it to take in the scents. There is strong hints of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla and coconut.
This tea is warming for the soul and a great taste for a whetted appetite.
This tea is savory rather than sweet in flavor, as the scents would falsely suggest.
There is much resemblance to wood and roasted nuts. A light charcoal note lingers as the tea is consumed.
As the infusions continue, a light astringency is revealed, which brings up snapshots of its youth. Quite the session.