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What Tea Are You Drinking Today? (Part 2)


Richard Kilgore
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Early this evening I opened a bag of 2010 Organic Shizuoka Kabusecha Shincha. This mid-steamed Kabusecha appears to do well at lower temps compared to shinchas and senchas in general. I had a fine first infusion and a good second and third. More on this in the Japanese Green Tea topic after I have played with the brewing parameters a bit.

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In addition to my daily bowl of matcha, I brewed more of the 2010 Organic Shizuoka Kabusecha Shincha from yuuki-cha.com. Five good infusions today, and more experimenting ahead with the parameters to see how much more flavor it will reveal.

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Yesterday and today both started with Shincha, such a pleasant morning ritual. It just seems right to start the day with a light sweet tea and move darker as the day goes on. Midday yesterday was a thermos full of Yi Wu Bamboo-aged Puerh from Norbu, and today a thermos of Yunnan 'Oriental Beauty' oolong from Yunnan Sourcing. I had run out of my main stash of the latter and was very pleased to find I had some left. There was a smaller brewing of some Fall Alishan Oolong from Norbu last night as well, and as typical with the Alishans, it was amazing how long it kept going.

I didn't have any herbal tea with me on this trip, which was a mistake. Next time I'll have to be sure to have some for hot afternoons or evenings when I want something chilled to drink. I'm betting the Lemon Myrtle rooibos will be brilliant.

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Another shincha start, then on to a long drive home with the last of the Fall 2009 Alishan oolong from Norbu. Just love the staying power of this tea: I was able to make an entire quart thermos of tea from a tiny quantity of leaf, that I was sure would not stretch so far. But I had not cosidered this possibility when I was allocating teas for the morning, tried it, and was stunned to find it DID stretch. A quart of happiness & delight.

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Just started with some Anji white tea today, because I again have dropped a gaiwan and don't have a complete set for the shincha comparison I want to do. It was a more than acceptable stand-in for the shincha. And finally opened some Bao Zhong from the Cultured Cup I got in a tea swap with Richard. It is light, sweet, mellow, and probably not at its best after prolonged storage in the back of the oolong box. I'm always amused by how unexceptional Bao Zhong looks--twisted leaves, mostly black or so dark green as to appear black, and usually very little aroma from a tin of the leaf--compared to how nice the tea is that is brewed from it.

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A slow tea day today, but interesting. Brewed a Korean green tea that Wholemeal Crank sent me for a tea trade in a Korean travel tea set I got from Hou de. More on this after I play with the brewing parameters a few times.

Yesterday I drank a number of shinchas with a tea friend, including the shockingly expensive Tenomi Shincha from Sugimoto. Incredible leaves. More with pics in the Japanese Green Tea topic soon.

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Trying the Sakaya....ummm....Sakayamakaori shincha from Yuuki-Cha this morning. A little flat this morning, not living up to the fabulously promising scent of the leaves. Will have to redo this one.

And prepped a thermos of Da Hong Pao for the long day in the satellite office. So nice to be back home with the Pino kettle taking care of the temperature chores for me.

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Started out the morning with the Nepal Chiyabari Estate from the culturedcup.com. An interesting black tea that I accidentally overbrewed this morning. Still good, just a little extra astringency.

Later brewing one of the shinchas we'll be featuring in the next Tea Tasting & Discussion. If you are subscribed to this Coffee & Tea Forum, you'll be among the first to know when the offer of free samples is posted.

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

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An oddly green tea day: started with 2010 Spring Meng Ding Huang Ya - Sichuan Yellow Tea from Norbu, an almost green tea, then on to some Xiang Bi Luo (a Bi Luo Chun-type green tea, and finished rather than started with another shincha. The lovely Sichuan Yellow is almost green, but also a bit oolong-like in mellow warm wonderfulness.

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i'm having nestea ice tea. :raz:

Put your hands on your head! Step away from the cup!

Started out with the fine Keemun Hao Ya A from teasource.com. Later, my daily bowl of matcha, and iced tea on and off during the day.

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More of the Shizuoka Matcha Sakura from yuuki-cha that I have been drinking daily. Also a shincha that will be featured in a TT&D soon.

This evening I have been experimenting with a Korean green tea that Wholemeal Crank sent me in a tea trade. I think I may be getting a handle on how to brew this. More in the Korean tea topic after experimenting a little more.

So, what teas are you all brewing this week?

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The Mariage Freres Queen Victoria Darjeeling from The Cultured Cup opened the day, followed by the 2010 Sayamakori Shizaoka Shincha from yuuki-cha. The latter was the last of a small sample I got in a tea trade, so I'll have to order more. What next?

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Thursday was a very green tea day: started with Zhan Shu Lake oolong from wing hop fung, then on to a shincha tasting from a tea trade (Dens Kunpu), and ended with the green Taiwanese Jin Xuan spring tea from Norbu. Sweet, mellow, delicate, all were lovely, with just enough astringency to remind me to brew them with respect.

And yesterday, an antidote to all the greenery: started with Haiwan 2006 Purple Bud Sheng Puerh from Norbu, smoky and deep and strong--stronger than I was used to, as I was clearing out the 'fines' from the bottom of the bag around the beeng and ended up filling the kamjove more than I expected when they all hydrated, plus the fines were so broken up that it did get a bit bitter. Still, delicious. And then mellowed a little with a proper gongfu cha session with the Phoenix Honey Iris Oolong from Wing Hop Fung, a lovely tea that is cheaper than most of TeaHabitat's offerings, and but performed quite well. I bought this one mostly to see if it would work well for thermos bulk brewings, and will probably stick to using it for that, and keep the 'single bush' for gongfu cha.

Happily, the new fellow who joined us this year says she is 'way into tea'. With luck we can do some gongfu of the better teas on occasion.

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Saturday started with Shincha (Sayamakaori) from Yuuki-Cha, and there was the white tea tasting session, and that was it for the day.

Today started with a couple of tea projects: a tasting comparison of the four shinchas from Yuuki-Cha, where the comparison part suffered a bit from the photography--the teas got a bit too cool and the flavor differences were evened out by that--but still, fun to have finally done it. And after deciding from yesterday's white tea tasting that Bai Mu Dan should make interesting iced tea, I tried it: two infuser mugs are sitting in the fridge with about 10 grams of tea and 10 ounces on water, one started at 160 degrees and left too cool to room temp before putting in the fridge, and one started cold. I'll be checking on those later tonight or tomorrow, and will report back.

Lunch is up next, and after all that sencha, I'm ready for some nice toasty roasty oolong, maybe a Wuyi, or one of the new samples from my last Norbu order.

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Interesting shincha comparison tasting in the Japanese Green Tea topic, WC. I'll be interested in reading more about your iced tea experiment in the White Tea Tea Tasting & Discussion.

In addition to my daily bowl of matcha, I have been brewing gong fu cha a smooth, leathery, sweet 2007 Mengyan Guoyan Ripe Pu-erh. I have not brewed this pu for about a year and it is much improved since then, if my taste memory is working well today.

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

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Today I was wandering around Wikipedia while a phone call was on hold, and found this gem of a chart on wikipedia, that diagrams the different tea processing steps and what type of tea results from them. Brilliant and clear.

In the last week, I think I've had tea processed every which way except fully oxidized black tea; I think it has been at least two weeks since my last pot of Yunnan gold. Today started with a shincha medley--mixed ends of some samples from a tasting swap, tea that was steamed, rolled, dried; and then moved on to some of the white bud sheng puerh from Norbu, perfect for a gray damp day, tea that was probably panned, rolled, formed, dried, and aged; and finished with another green tea, a rolled Jin Xuan varietal from Norbu, that was likely panned, rolled, formed, dried. All so nice!

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My great Thermopen thermometer died after several years of daily service, so I am somewhat restricted to Black teas and Oolongs for a few days while waiting for a replacement. So here, Deep in the Heart of Texas, it's a Konghea Estate Golden Bud from teasource.com to start the day.

What's in your tea cup? Or mug? Or jug? Or thermos?

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Today, I had a long meeting, and no time to prepare tea beforehand. I filled the thermos with hot water from the water cooler, couldn't find my thermometer that belongs at work, and used my finger to test the water--hot, but not immediately painful--so figured it was green tea time, grabbed some Jade Pole Yunnan green tea from Yunnan Sourcing, my korean 'travel set' and ran to the meeting. It was quite lovely infusing cup after cup of pleasant green tea during the two and a half hour meeting.

Then some Spring Tie Guan Yin from norbu for the afternoon clinic, lovely as always.

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Brewed early this morning the Ceylon Vithanakanda Estate, Extra Special from teasource.com that I like so much. Served with Bavarian Rye toast, spread with cream cheese and tomato preserves.

Just now had my daily bowl of matcha and am continuing to experiment with cold brewing different teas. I also plan to brew an Oolong today.

Waiting for my new thermometer to arrive so I can resume brewing Japanese and Chinese green teas.

So what teas - hot, iced or cold brewed - are you all brewing this week?

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