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What Tea Are You Drinking Today? (Part 3)


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#121 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:23 PM

Today the Ceylon Vithanakanda Estate, Extra Special from teasource.com is in my cup for several infusions - and still my favorite Ceylon so far. Yesterday it was an extended session of the Big Red Robe Oolong I started two days ago.


So, what tea leaves are you brewing today in your part of the eGullet world?

#122 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 08:53 PM

Today working through a large infusion of the Dong Ding dark roasted Taiwanese oolong from Norbu. It has a lot more elegant refinement than the SeaDyke TKY I have been drinking forever, just mellower but so very very good. I remember being a little wary of this one when I first saw it posted on Greg's site, remembering a quite harsh and unpleasant brew by the same name I got from TenRen (to be fair to TenRen, I don't think I bought the top grade of that one). The Norbu version just has a smoother base for the darker roasted flavors.

#123 nakji

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 08:59 PM

Wholemeal, is that Dong Ding more toasty or more floral? I got a small bag for Christmas, and was excited thinking it would be toasty, but it actually reminds me a lot of TGY.

#124 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 10:26 PM

It is quite toasty-roasty for me, but there is a sweet/floral base that is different than the more spicy/astringent, approaching bitter, base of the SeaDyke TKY, but both to me have a similar degree of roast.

#125 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:34 PM

I've started the last couple of days with sencha, and yesterday moved on to try a comparison of three versions of Norbu's Tie Guan Yin: 2009 spring, 2009 fall, and 2010 spring. I happened on a last sealed packet of the spring 2009 (in the back of a cabinet), had opened the 2009 spring just a few weeks before the tasting (oops, meant to keep it sealed until this), and then had a fresh package of the 2010. Sad to say, nothing much to put in the oolong topic as a review, because they were all so nice I couldn't really distinguish much between them. Today I'm having some Da Hong Pao, a 2009 from Norbu, very fruity & toasty.

#126 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:29 AM

Several days, no posting. Teas have ranged all over the tea-map: senchas, gyokuro, green oolongs, toasty oolongs, puerhs, white teas, herbal teas. Only one that was 'new and different' was the Yamakai sencha from Norbu, reviewed now in the Japanese green tea topic. Had an exceptionally nice session with the Norbu 2008 Yi Wu bamboo-aged sheng puerh a couple of days ago, and always enjoy the slightly fruity touch of the Jade Pole yunnan green tea from Yunnan Sourcing--that was quite a hit with one of my work colleagues, and yesterday while busy with spring cleaning--not spring yet, but the weather here feels like it--I prepared and enjoyed a thermos full of the SeaDyke red label Ti Kuan Yin.

Now pleased to be contemplating an afternoon with puerh or oolong. It will be another thermos/bulk session, don't have the time to sit for gongfu cha, so can't go with a Dan Cong as I've been itching to do. Probably a Wuyi of some kind.....or Dong Ding dark roast.....mmmm....even thinking about the next cuppa is so nice.

#127 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 07:36 PM

More days with a variety of good teas. Today, drinking some 2007 Menghai Golden Needles & White Lotus ripe/shu puerh: it's about as good as shu gets, not as complex or rich as, say, the 2008 Yi Wu bamboo puerh from Norbu, but also easier to brew when in a hurry, because you have to work very hard to get anything unpleasant from it. I've achieved that, once, but only once, and I really had to overdo on the tea to water ratio and brew it badly to boot.

Last few days, more Yamakai sencha from Norbu (doing well with the campaign to keep only one sencha open at a time), not much puerh, several different greener oolongs (Zhanshu lake and Diamond TGY); some of Hankook's Korean oolong, some Bai Yun 'oriental beauty' style Yunnan oolong; a bit of Dan Cong, some Bi Lo Chun, and now craving some Lemon Myrtle Rooibos to finish the evening.

Very interested ina special sample a friend gave me today: it's locally grown, here in southern California! From 'Forbidden Fruit Orchards'. For the price, it better be good, but I have to wait until next week when we get together to try it, because there's not enough to practice on my own beforehand.

#128 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 09:23 AM

This morning it's been the Organic Gokujo Sencha from yuuki-cha.com; delicious and easy to brew. Over the last week or so I have also been drinking a lot of the Organic Tenryu Misakubo Sencha, also from yuuki-cha. Most mornings it has been black teas: an absolutely delicious Jamirah Estate Assam and the Puttabong Estate Darjeeling - both from The Cultured Cup (TCC), and the Ceylon Vithanakanda Estate, Extra Special and the Ceylon Kenilworth Estate OP - both from teasource.com.

Among the Oolongs, the Phoenix Mountain Dan Cong from TCC.

Not sure about tea for the rest of the day, but I have been thinking a white tea.

What about you, tea sippers? What's in your cup?

#129 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 01:51 PM

Today, started with Lemon Myrtle Rooibos from the Cultured Cup, then on to some Tie Guan Yin from Norbu. I have a cold playing havoc with my sense of smell & taste again, so will next try something a little less precious, as the lovely floral & spicy highlights of this tea are lost on me at present. Maybe something smoky would do....

#130 haresfur

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 05:41 PM

Feeling sorry for myself, working on a manuscript on Australia Day. Drinking Australian Sencha packed by McIvers (at the Victoria Market in Melbourne). I'm no expert, but it is nice - perhaps not as 'grassy' as I like.
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#131 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:28 AM

I did a double-take on reading that last post, and the a quick google search revealed that yes, tea is being grown in Australia. Cool.

No tea yet today. Yesterday, a new combination tisane that was quite nice, some simple to kuan yin, and some Sichuan yellow tea from norbu. Ba simple and nice teaDay.

#132 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:38 PM

This evening I have been drinking the terrific Sunpu Boucha (Kuki-Hojicha) from norbutea.com. I have not made this in a couple of months, but it is one of the best Hojichas I have had in the last 2 - 3 years.

Early today, I enjoyed the Jamirah Estate Assam from The Cultured Cup. This starts off nicely robust in the cup, with the flavor even improving as it cools. Also earlier this evening I had the Organic Gokujo Sencha from yuuki-cha.com; five really good infusions!

How about you?

#133 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 10:09 PM

Today I tried the intriguing tea that has been sitting on my cabinet for a week, awaiting its debut. Today was the right time, as I could properly prepare some with the tea-friend who brought me a packet as a gift. Quite astonishingly, it's a LOCAL tea, from Forbidden Fruit Orchards near Santa Barbara.

We used cups holding about 5-6 oz of water, water at 160 degrees, and one teabag per cup, steeping about 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 or 4 minutes, and one last one might have been closer to 10 minutes.

This is a quite splendid delicate and floral white tea, with a hint of blueberry tartness. I am not typically a fan of flavored teas, but this one was quite impressive. I was expecting an expensive novelty: locally grown! from California! but was quite impressed by this neat little tea.

Also had some lovely Lao Mansa '09 sheng puerh from Norbu, which made me fall in love with it all over again, and a nice bit of his Diamond TGY, which is so reliably a favorite oolong.

#134 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:35 AM

Wide variety of teas over the past several days. Jamirah Estate Assam, Castleton Estate Darjeeling - Wiry, Organic Hime hikari Japanese black, Wu Niu Zao Green Tea, San Nen Bancha, 2008 Spring Natural HabitatWu Dong Feng HuangDan Cong.


So what are you all tea sipping this wintry day?

#135 AllanSantos

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:03 PM

I'm new to the world of tea and have been having a great time exploring so far. I put in an order to Risihi a bit ago and have pretty much been drinking those teas for a couple of weeks now.

Started off this morning with dragon well. I really want to like this because the aroma of the wet leaf is so nice, the actual tea is just so mild that it frustrated me a little. I haven't given up on it though and keep wondering if tinkering around with how I brew it will help. I've had better luck with the oolongs I've tried than with the greens I've tried.

Right now I'm going through several infusions of the Rishi dong ding. I really enjoy this. Still trying to work out vocabulary for what I'm tasting but I get nice roast quality and pine in the wet leaf aroma for the first few infusions. Taste wise still hard for me to describe, but I like it!

Allan

#136 Will

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 12:35 PM

First, fairly high-fire Wuyi Lao Cong (old bush) Shui Xian from a HK tea shop.

Currently, drinking a liu an basket tea.

#137 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 02:30 PM

Started off this morning with dragon well. I really want to like this because the aroma of the wet leaf is so nice, the actual tea is just so mild that it frustrated me a little.


Welcome! Good to see you posting here.

To strengthen the flavor, try increasing the amount of leaf (perhaps double it to start); lengthening infusion time; or using hotter water. Even the fanciest grade Dragon Well that I've had has had the potential for being a strong, even aggressively bitter tea if I do not treat it with attention and respect, so I'm sure you can get a stronger flavor from it--whether or not that will be the kind of flavor you're seeking is another question.

And those suggestions--more leaf, more time, hotter water--to strengthen the tea results are applicable across different types of tea.

#138 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 06:30 PM

Welcome, Allan. You may find something of interest in the Chinese Green Tea topic and the Japanese Green Tea topic, as well as the Oolong Tea topic..

#139 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 08:35 PM

This evening it's the Organic Gokujo Sencha from yuuki-cha. Just had a particularly fine third infusion and expect to get two more.

#140 AllanSantos

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for the welcomes and the info....very much appreciated.

This morning I tried the Dragon Well again, this time using a little longer infusion time. The package instructs 1tbs per 8oz 175 water for 3-4 minutes. I gave it 5 minutes for the first infusion. I do notice a change
in the tea, mostly in the mouth feel but I am also getting more flavor. I still feel like the flavor is not as strong as the aroma leads me
to believe. The second infusion was roughly 6 minutes and a
tad more mellow than the first. I will try a third infusion at a higher temp and see what happens. Perhaps tomorrow morning I will try the first infusion with a higher temp and the 5 minute steep as well.

I do have another question about the gong fu style. From what I gather most use quick infusions then lengthen time each subsequent infusion. For the oolongs I have, Rishi suggests starting with a 1 minute infusion then dropping down to 20 seconds and then adding time from there. Can anyone explain why the longer first infusion?


Thanks again!
Allan

#141 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 10:12 AM

The first infusion has to hydrate the leaves, and if it is a tightly curled leaf, it will need extra time to expand the leaves a little before much flavor comes out.

Here is a series of photos of some tightly rolled green tea between infusions, showing what I mean.

And haven't yet picked the first tea of the morning.

#142 AllanSantos

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 10:19 AM

Ahhh. So either a quick rinse or a longer first infusion...got it,
Thanks.

Not much there to a 3rd infusion of the Dragon Well using boiling water. Oh well.

#143 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:07 PM

As WC mentioned, there are three variables you can adjust: leaf:water ratio, temp, time. An adjustment in one is not necessarily the same as making an adjustment in the others. You may find it interesting to adjust each of these separately and see what results. If you do, let us know what you discover.

#144 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:22 AM

This snowy morning I have been enjoying the Nilgiri Glendale Estate Handmade from teasource.com. Nor sure what I'll move on to next.


How about you? What are you brewing today in your part of the world?

#145 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:28 PM

Started the day backwards, with a fancy taiwanese oolong from Wing Hop Fung (a nice tea but for that price I could be drinking more of norbu's Diamond TGY); and now on green tea with Jin Xuan from Norbu, almost the end of the spring 2010 harvest.

#146 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:15 AM

A pleasant start to the day today....

Posted Image
Sencha morning by debunix, on Flickr

#147 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:57 AM

Clever composition, WC.

The last couple of days I have been drinking the Dian Hong Imperial (hand processed) from norbutea.com in the morning, and a variety of teas later in the day: the last of the Old Plantation Qing Xin Oolong from Norbu; the Pouchong Oolong from The Cultured Cup; and the Wu Niu Zao green tea from jingteaashop.com.

Today started out with the Tai Ping Hou Kui green tea that Wholemeal Crank posted about with detailed tasting notes and photos in the Chinese Green Tea topic. Check it out.

#148 AllanSantos

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:17 PM

Howdy!

Still trying to work out brewing Dragon Well to my tastes. I'm zeroing in although, I've been over brewing the past few mornings. I figured out that I like a lot of tea to water. A few mornings ago I tried a tablespoon + a scant tsp per 9oz water and I really enjoyed it. The past few mornings I've been brewing a tbs in a small guywan but using a little hotter temp water and it's been turning out bitter. I need to reduce the time and see what happens. I'll get it right soon!

I've also REALLY been enjoying the Rishi Dong Ding and Jade Bao Zhong oolongs.

Is the term 'Jade' actually indicative of something?


Allan

#149 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 08:35 PM

I Don't think "jade" has any standardized significance here. It could refer to this being an especially high quality oolong, eg, one of my favorite oolongs from norbu is labeled "diamond grade", or simply be a clue to it being a lightly roasted, green-colored oolong.

Today enjoying a lovely sweet mellow medium roast Taiwanese Oolong from norbu, but forgot exactly which one. Will have to update this later, because this tea is so lovely that I want to give it a lot of credit.

#150 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 11:49 PM

2009 Old Plantation Qing Xin from Norbu--that's what I was enjoying earlier. Just lovely lovely stuff.