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Richard Kilgore

What Tea Are You Drinking Today? (Part 3)

438 posts in this topic

My tea drinking, (other than iced) has increased lately due to a cooling trend here, erratic though it may be - 107f on Tuesday, 83f today. Let's say a three day average of a chilly 95f. Have been making my daily matcha from yuukicha.com, as well as a morning black tea from Norbu and frequently an afternoon Oolong.

I have not had a shu in several weeks, WC, but it's been on my mind this week. Maybe tomorrow.

As it cools, we'll be starting another in the continuing series of Tea Tasting & Discussions. Some interesting teas from Japan next, and you'll be among the first to know if you are subscribed to this eG Coffee and Tea Forum.

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A Chinese red/black tea, a sample from Norbu Tea, this morning and this afternoon it has been a long and continuing session with a 1999 CNP Old Tree Shu from Yunnan Sourcing. The shu brewed very smoothly in a Yixing made from older (1970s) clay. I have yet to fit in a green tea of any sort today, but had a nice Spring 2011 Jade Dragon (Chinese) Green Tea from Norbu yesterday early evening; this one I like better than the 2010 harvest.

So, what's brewing in your part of the tea world?

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Enjoying a second (and for now last!) cup of the Jin Xuan Xiao Zhong Spring 2011free sample I got from Greg at Norbu with my last order. It's a Taiwan black in the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang Souchong) style.

If I had to guess, I'd surmise that Greg sent it because I had ordered quite a bit of black tea and some Tie Guan Yin charcoal roasted Taiwan Oolong before, but this is far more subtle and mesmerizing. It's aroma is sweet and ever-so-slightly funky in the best possible sense of the word, with wet earth and a bit of seaweed. The smoke is just a wisp on your nose and tongue, where that creamy sensation takes over. If there was a way to describe a tea that's both meaty and delicate, this would be it.

A brewing note. I always brew Western, and, from Greg's description, it seems that the longer steep, which draws out the astringency at the end, is essential. Of course, YMMV, but for something as subtle as this I certainly need that astringent spine.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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A black tea that needs a long steep to draw out some balancing astringency sounds like it might be my kind of tea--minus the balancing steep.

I've been away from my usual tea setups, making cold-brewed Huang Jin Gui in my thermos, and using a Kamjove device to brew other teas, including the marvelous White Oolong from Norbu to which I am fast becoming.....not addicted, that's too strong a term, but perhaps immoderately fond of the its sweet, subtle spiciness.

I've also been playing with a 'hot start' to brewing the Norbu Xi Hu Long Jing, starting with a 180 degree flash infusion to 'wake up the leaves', then brewing the rest of it cooler, 160-170 degrees, and it really is coming out nicely with the melon and pea and floral notes dominating, almost no toasty or cooked asparagus notes. It's a bit tricky controlling those temps with a tea kettle and a thermometer, after so much time with my electric set-the-temp-and-forget-it Pinos, but so worth it for the wonderful infusions I'm getting. I am a convert to this apparently quite traditional technique now--at least, I'll be trying it for just about all of my green teas for a while. I'm looking forward to getting back to my main tea stash and trying this 'hot start' with the fantastic Gu Zhu Zi Sun green.

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I'm heavily into a fresh blend from the Sangay plantations downslope of me at the moment; white and green leaves with a touch of matured oolong and chunks of durazno. It's very tasty.

Other than that, it's the old standbys - Horchata, Mate de Coca, and Guayusa.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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PC - Sounds interesting. Help my ignorance - what is durzano?

WC - I'll have to try your "hot start" method. Never heard of it before.

Chris - I am about to put in an order with Greg at Norbu for a variety of teas and I plan to give this Taiwanese Lapsong Souchong cousin a try. The very fine Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from mainland China does not often get into the US compared to the ubiquitous brash tea usually exported to the US as Lapsang Souchong, so a high quality alternative is welcome.

All - Expect to see an announcement of the next Tea Tasting & Discussion and the free teas offered tomorrow.

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Durazno is difficult to describe. It's a stonefruit native to Ecuador, somewhere between a peach and an apricot, with a round, distinctive flavour that's slightly more peach when fresh and slightly more apricot when dry. It's typically added to fresh tea blends to provide just a hint of sweetness without bothering the nice round tannin bitterness; with the Sangay plantation teas it's there to help bring out a particular bitter chocolate basenote in the flavour.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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A variety of teas over the past several days, including a red/black tea from Norbu in the morning and usually the Organic Shizuoka Matcha Iroka from yuuki-cha.com in the afternoon. The past couple of days nursed a rich Anxi Aged 2003 Te Guan Yin from jingteashop.com, brewed in a small Yixing dedicated to aged TGYs. Just now brewing a sample from Norbu that I dug out of a bin, a Spring 2010 Jin Xuan Green Tea; still good - though not the same as fresh - despite the effects of time.

Note that a new Tea Tasting & Discussion has started in this eG Coffee & Tea Forum. Check it out for some rare and unusual Japanese teas.

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

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I've been having a lot of connection issues to egullet lately, so my tea reporting has been much less than my tea drinking. Today, I'm having Sayamakaori sencha from Yuuki-cha to start the day, my first time back with this tea in a couple of weeks due to travel and limitations of tea making equipment on the road. Mmm, sweet and light and grassy and delicious. One of the teas I brought with me on a trip was San Nen Bancha from Norbu, a delicious toasty warm tea that I shared with several other tea fans in the evening. I love how japanese tea makers turned stems plus a few leaves into something so lovely. It also further piques my interest in the new TT&D of pan-fired japanese teas from Yuuki-Cha--what other interesting flavors will be coaxed out of the leaves?

There has also been a lot of White Oolong from Norbu (finished off my second package of this now-favorite tea already); some pleasant shu puerh from a super-densely compacted smaller Tuo, that required a chocolate pick to remove enough leaf for a brewing; and several sessions of Huang Jin Gui from Norbu, brewed at room temp in the big thermos. Still lots of greener oolongs but today it's distinctly gray outside and I am craving Yancha and puerh.

One unpleasant episode recently started with the HJG room temp brewings: after doing this four or five days in a row, keeping the thermos almost constantly filled with room-temperature leaves and water, I thought I smelled something a bit off before I filled it for the next batch, and decided to wash the thermos out with soap. In a great hurry to prepare a day's worth of tea on my way out the door a few days later, I turned to cold-brewing--dropped in some leaf, added tap water, and left the house. Later that day, I discovered that even fine tea leaves cannot overcome the vileness of residual soap flavor.....oh, the horror of wasted tea!

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More Sayamakaori sencha this am from Yuiki-cha. Mmm. So nice with jam and toast.

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I have been drinking for the last month for my morning tea a mix of Darjeeling from Taylors of hampstead, and ceylon black tea from Ahmed tea. For me this is the perfect mix. Its a lot like the kind of traditional Indian mix of red label and green label. The red label being an ctc, and i think Assam, and the green label being Darjeeling. The red label gives body and color and the Darjeeling gives the mix flavor. I drink tea with milk, so I like a good amount of astringency.

I have been looking for the mighty leaf Darjeeling that Andi recommends, but i cant seem to find it round here. There is better Darjeeling out there than the Taylor stuff, but they sell it at whole foods, and some one gave me a gift certificate so I have been going with it.

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A couple of cloudy and cooler days prompted afternoons with Da Hong Pao, Yi Wu Bamboo aged puerh, and Lao Cha Tou shu puerh (all from Norbu), along with more Sayamakaori mornings (Yuuki-cha) and an evening variety of Xi Hu Long Jing (Norbu), Osmanthus-fragrance Dan Cong (Tea habitat) and Tai Ping Hou Kui (Jing).

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Among several teas today, I destructively brewed a very good tea - the Song Zhong Fenghaung Oolong from Norbu. Despite getting distracted and walking away - for several minutes - from a second infusion that probably should have been about 15 seconds [Yikes!], it recovered sufficiently over a few more infusions for me to know I'll be ordering more.

BTW, the current TT&D free rare Japanese tea samples are available to two members. If you are interested, read through that topic and shoot me a PM. TT&D newbies are welcome.

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Another of those 10g samples Greg is now offering that I got in my last order from Norbu - Aged 2001 Fo Shou Oolong. Brewing it first in a gaiwan before I try it in a Yixing, and after the first infusion (which is not bad, just a little heavy on the "aged" taste) this Oolong starts smoothing out. The color of the tea liquor is beautiful, a little darker amber than I expected. Three infusions into it and more to go. Another of those "interesting teas I have never run across before" that Greg finds with regularity.

So, what's in your tea cup?

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I have a sample of that one too. I haven't broken into it yet but probably will soon. This weekend, when I'm all ready to try new teas, the sun came back out and I am craving greener oolongs and green teas.

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Two bowls of Organic matcha this afternoon. But having only a few days left of my bag of Organic Shizuoka Matcha Iroka and completely out of gyokuro, I re-ordered the Iroka matcha and added a bag of Organic Honyama Gyokuro Haku-un - both from yuuki-cha.com. More on these later in the appropriate topics.

And what teas have you all been brewing in your part of the world?

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Just now started a gaiwan session with another 10g sample ordered from norbutea.com - a 2011 Spring Da Wu Ye Fenghuang Oolong. Wet leaf intensely floral, as Greg notes, almost but not quite Gardenia; liquor is yellow with the slightest cast of green, floral, subtly oily mouthfeel and bitter sweet with a long after taste. The floral taste just coats my mouth. I'll be interested to see how many infusions this will go.

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I recently enjoyed my sample of that Da Wu Ye enough to have ordered more, some for me, and some for a tea-friend who was quite delighted when I first introduced her to a Tea Habitat Dan Cong.

In the last few days, there has also been some 2009 Lao Cong Quin Ti - Osmanthus Fragrance Phoenix Oolong from Tea Habitat--another fruity and spicy and lovely Dan Cong; Bai Yun Yunnan oolong from Norbu and a last bit of Mu Zha Ti Guan Yin from Dragon Tea House; Lao Cha Tou ripe puerh and 2007 White Bud Sheng, both Norbu teas, and some spicy sweet Dong Ding green oolong; and a little Tai Ping Hou Kui from Jing Tea Shop. Green, green oolong, dark oolong, puerh......

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Yesterday was a quiet tea day: one tea, all day: 2006 Haiwan purple bud sheng puerh, mellower and mellower as the day went on, infusion after infusion, requiring a bit of attention to avoid bitterness, but only a little. Today, started with Jin Guan Yin from Norbu, rich green oolong, and moved on to the Lao Cong Quin Ti dan cong again. Mmm. Like the purple bud Haiwan, this is a tea that is likely sufficient for the rest of the evening, infusion after infusion.

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A little of this, a little of that. Finished off the Sayamakaori sencha at home over the weekend, and today did not have time for a sencha start at home, but did have some of the Honyama sencha from Yuuki-cha at work--seemed quite odd to drink my 'morning tea' at midday in the office. But delicious, and fun to share something different with my tea buddies.

Later, finished off the Wuliang Shan loose sheng from Norbu, one of several young shengs that taught me how fun aggressive young sheng can be.

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i have been spending three weeks in south korea traveling with my husbnd who is here on business. i haave dicovered hot green tea latte. i is a wonderful drink, tho sometimes a little bit too sweet. i don't know if i can get it upon my return to the usa but if not i will try mlaking it at home. aso have enjoyed the plum tea served at some restaurants after dinner.

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Iraqi style cardamom tea, either Ahmad or Alwazah (can't remember, threw away the box and transferred the tea to an airtight container). I think I brewed it a bit too strong today....

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