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What Tea Are You Drinking Today? (Part 1)


Richard Kilgore
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What teas and tisanes are you all drinking today?

I started out with the MF Assam Napuk from The Cultured Cup. Then moved on to learning to brew the somewhat challenging Organic Gokujo Sencha from Yuuki-cha.com, with some success. Patience and persistence pays off.

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Evening gong fu style brewing of a sample of a 2003 Menku Gong Ting Ripe Pu-erh from Yunnan Sourcing. I started this in a gaiwan and had a bland reaction to it for the first three infusions. Then dumped it into a new Yixing pot I am trying to find a tea match for. Quite an improvement. I'll have to explore a few older shu pu-erhs to see if this is the match.

So who is drinking tea today? What's in your cup?

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I am enjoying a thermos full of Pouchong tea from Ten Ren this afternoon. It's a bit tricky to correlate the in-store labels and prices with the web versions--in the store the tins are labelled by $/lb, and on the web site by grade and $/4 oz pkg, but I think this is the one I'm drinking:

Pouchong tea 3rd grade

which reminds me very much of the taiwain alishan oolong we're tasting in the other topic--very vegetal and light and warm flavored, with almost no bitterness. It looks quite different--the leaves are extended and spindly instead of almost rolled like the other--but the things I like best about them both are the same.

Now wondering more about the relationship between Pouchong and Oolong: how close are the 'green' oolongs to pouchongs?

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Afternoon brewing of a Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori, a fukamushi (deep-steamed) sencha from o-cha.com in Japan. Ran through multiple infusions twice in order to learn how to brew and pour out of my new kyusu, which has a ball-shaped ceramic filter, without clogging it. I'll post more about this later in the Japanese Green Tea topic after a little more experience with the tea and the pot.

Later an aged ripe tea of Menghai, a 2000 Longhe Tea Factory pu-erh, a sample in my last order from Yunnan Sourcing. Gong fu style in a Yixing tea pot. I am enjoying exploring these older ripe pu-erh teas. Also more later - in the Pu-erh topic.

So, what teas are you all drinking in your part of the world?

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Started out the day enjoying an Assam Panitola Estate, Whole Leaf from TeaSource.com. The one baroness mentioned in the recent Assam Tea Tasting Discussion.

This evening had a longish tea session with Greg Glancy at Norbutea.com brewing a couple of shu pu-erhs and an aged Wu Yi Oolong (can't remember the cultivar).

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Today a 2007 Menhai Lao Cha Tou (Old Tea Nuggets), the last of a sample from Norbutea.com.

Iced Mugacha, barley water for iced tea.

How about you all? What kind of tea are you drinking today?

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Today a 2007 Menhai Lao Cha Tou (Old Tea Nuggets), the last of a sample from Norbutea.com.

Iced Mugacha, barley water for iced tea.

How about you all? What kind of tea are you drinking today?

Wholemeal Crank and I are exchanging a few samples of Pu-erh and I'll work through hers over the next week and post more in detail in the Pu-erh topic.

First I tried a mini-tuo cha from Rishi that I was dubious about, having found most minis somewhere in the not-so-good to "eewww!" range. Brewed it gong fu style, the 3 gram shu (ripe or cooked) mini to about 80 - 90 ml of water with a series of 5 - 10 second infusions after two 20 second rinses and a 30 second rest. This is the first mini I have ever liked. I also did a comparison between the effect of the neutral gaiwan and a Yixing that I have now dedicated to shu pu-erh. But more about that later in the pu-erh topic.

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Late brewing of "Diamond Grade" Spring Harvest 2009 Tie Guan Yin from Anxi county in Fujian province. From Greg Glancy at Norbutea.com. I think I have posted up-topic about it, but at any rate this is an exquisite TGY, still fresh and aromatic after a week or two of opening the vacuum sealed bag.

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This afternoon did a gong fu session with a loose pu-erh from Wing Hop Fung that Wholemeal Crank sent me. More on that later in the Pu-erh topic after another brewing.

Also had some Barley Tea iced.

How about you?

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This morning it was the Assam Panitola Estate, Whole Leaf from TeaSource.com again.

A couple of iced teas off and on during the day and with meals...a blend I do of two Mariage Frères teas from TheCulturedCup.com for one and a generic decafe bagged grocery store black tea (pick a store, any store) for the other.

And the Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori from o-cha.com , three infusions in a Banko kyusu. A very nice Japanese green tea. I have brewed and enjoyed similar senchas in past years in a mug with infuser, as well as in a western style teapot, but I think the Banko's clay may add something to the final result.

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I started the day with a loose leaf assam (Irish Breakfast) from culturedcup.com; strong, hot, milky and sweet.

Ending my night with a white tea blended with chamomile and pomegranate (White Sunshine) from the teasource.com, which is lightly sweet and very slightly fruity.

Judith Love

North of the 30th parallel

One woman very courteously approached me in a grocery store, saying, "Excuse me, but I must ask why you've brought your dog into the store." I told her that Grace is a service dog.... "Excuse me, but you told me that your dog is allowed in the store because she's a service dog. Is she Army or Navy?" Terry Thistlewaite

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This morning brewed a pot of a Mariage Frères Assam, Napuk Estate. Absolutely blew it with too much leaf. Brrrrgh! Second infusion was kinder to me. I'll try to be a little more awake next time.

Had an iced chai at Whole Foods while grocery shopping. So, so. Would not do it again.

Picked up some Genmaicha at The Cultured Cup today. It's a Mariage Frères tea they are discontinuing, so it was half-price. It has little bits of popped corn in it as well as the usual toasted rice. Tasty.

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YP - I almost started with iced tea today myself. But what is Ribena?

Castleton Estate, 2nd Flush Wiry from TeaSource.com for me this morning. A wonderful tea.

So what teas is everyone else drinking today?

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Started the day with a Yunnan Imperial red/black tea from the culturedcup.com.

Yesterday I stopped by TCC needing something cool to suck through a straw after a trip to my dentist. Sam whipped up an iced chai latte, which was made with a syrup base. Not bad. Better than the iced chai at Whole Foods yesterday.

Since I was feeling nothing on the one hand, and experimental on the other, I asked Sam to make an iced matcha latte and he, Kelly and I shared it. Pretty good stuff. And much better than I expected. I would do that again.

So, what tea have you all been drinking?

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Richard, Ribena..... an english blackcurrant syrup drunk diluted with water. Similar to Robinson barley water , and part of a group of sugar saturated concentrates called squashes. Diluted with water and drunk by children. Or at least they were when i was a kid.

Today i am drinking a very pedestrian brew.... half liptons green box and half brook bond red box. Green box Liptons is a whole leaf Darjeeling, and the brook bond a ctc.

Tastes very homely and right to me. The CTC gives it the dark color and body, the darjeeling adds taste.

I am really really enjoying all the new teas i have been tasting in the tasting sessions, but sometimes, I guess I am like Maggies the Cat's grandmother.... i just want the orange pekoe. Which begs a question. What is the diffrence between Orange pekoe and CTC? is this a new topic? tea grades can be confusing.

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Thanks for the info on the Ribena, YP. Comfort tea is comfort tea, isn't it. I certainly drink my share of plain black tea bag iced tea.

Today the Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori from o-cha.com, four infusions in a Banko kyusu from yuuki-cha.com. I find this a pretty flexible fukamushi sencha, with my leaf to water ratio running as low as .5 per ounce of water and still pleasing me. I'll brew it a little heavier next time, though.

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Brewed the Yunnan Imperial from TCC in a Yixing pot dedicated to Chinese red teas. Western style brewing as far as leaf:water ratio goes, and the Yixing produces a tea liquor I like better than when brewed in a glazed western ceramic pot.

So, what tea are you drinking today?

Edited: for clarification.

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Brewed the Yunnan Imperial from TCC in a Yixing pot dedicated to Chinese red teas. Western style brewing as far as leaf:water ratio goes, and the Yixing produces a tea liquor I like better than when brewed in a ceramic pot.

So, what tea are you drinking today?

Also a 2003 Fu Cha Ju Wu Liang Mountain ripe pu-erh, a sample from a cake from Yunnan Sourcing. In a Yixing, Gong Fu Cha style. Curiously I am having a hard time deciding whether or not I like this ripe pu-erh. I have had it twice and there is a pronounced camphor note on the first infusion that I find off-putting. But by the third infusion this is receding a bit and it gains a creamy mouthfeel and more balance. More on this later in the Pu-erh topic after another brewing.

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This morning I'm playing with two teas that are not oolongs or pu-erhs.

'First quality silver needle yin zhen' from chado tea and 'Emerald lily ancient tree organic green tea' from Rishi.

I have been smelling the leaves per the instructions in the Harney & Sons guide to Tea, and am surprised by the disconnect between the leaves and the liquor.

I am doing both in gaiwans, and don't have my scale handy yet because I just ordered it last night (getting this one from Amazon--ashtray pocket scale), I can't tell you precisely how much i used, but it was as close as I could visually approximate, with the lighter silver needle tea taking up about 2/3 of the volume of the gaiwan, and the green tea about 1/2 filling it.

Both infused the first time about 2 minutes with 173 degree water. Even at this cool temperature, there was a quite noticeable bitterness about the green tea, although also some lovely floral/fruity flavors, that was nearly absent from the silver needle; and the silver needle was much fruitier and sweeter. After the infusion, the silver needle leaves smelled a bit sharp and bitter, but there was very little of that coming through in a 2nd infusion; the green tea did carry the bitter smell even more into the tea on the 2nd infusion, however.

A 3rd & 4th infusion of the silver needle (with water that had been allowed to cool to about 160 degrees because I was lazy) were both still lovely, with hardly a hint of bitter, although the leaves now have a strong vegetal odor that is not coming out in the liquor.

The 3rd infusion of the green tea, with the same quite cool water, is even more bitter, really almost aggressively unpleasant in the aftertaste, although the first notes are pleasingly fruity, while the odor of the leaves seems similar to the silver needle, but just a lot stronger.

Interesting how the silver needle maintains that sweetness along with the vegetal or grassy notes, without getting bitter, but the green tea bitterness overrides the sweet fruity notes almost immediately.

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Today, trying some Bird Pick Royal Dragon's Well Green Tea, from Wing Hop Fung. The leaves are lovely and uniform, with a grassy odor.

gallery_16931_6727_39971.jpg

Infused a small quantity of leaves with 170 degree water for about 2 minutes, yielding a nice pale green liquor, some astringency but dilute enough to not dominate the flavors; pleasant but not setting off the kind of taste bud fandango that the oolongs and puerhs do, or that the silver needle tea did yesterday. A second infusion, with water having cooled in the pot to 160 degrees, was similar. But at the same time, there is a very nice sweet aftertaste that is still present some 10 minutes or more after drinking it. I will keep working with it from time to time.

I understand the phenomenon of 'tasters' and 'supertasters' as defined by sensitivity to certain bitter chemicals, but never had a chance to take the test myself. I dislike most bitter flavors in general--finding things like coffee and chicory utterly inedible--and wonder if this is at the root of my ambivalence towards most green teas.

Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)
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