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What Tea Are You Drinking Today? (Part 3)


Richard Kilgore
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Today, I started with my staple SeaDyke Ti Kuan Yin, very pleasant in the face of a meeting that was long on details and short on interest; then finished a dozen or so brief infusions of some Ya Shi Dan Cong brewed in my tiniest yixing pot; and now am enjoying the best yet brewing of a very fancy Dragon Well--the top grade from Wing Hop Fung. It was a tea that I was so frustrated by that I gave it away the first go round, but by the time it came back into my hands, I was ready for it. Good stuff, and today I'm brewing it very cool--145 degrees or thereabouts--and it's just rich and gorgeous. Tap-dancing taste buds, happy all day.

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A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to start drinking tea at work. This was partly prompted by my officemate (a very nice Chinese post-doc) starting to brew tea in the office and partly in retaliation to the coffee culture of the rest of my department.

My first step, of course, was getting everything I'd need to brew some nice white and green tea -- I'm still trying to learn to like pu-erh but I'm not there yet. So I ordered a travel Berkey (since Boulder, CO water tastes horrible) and so far I'm very happy with it. Then I ordered a Cuisinart CPK-17 kettle so I could easily heat my water to 160°F, 175°F, 190°F, and boiling and, so far, I'm very happy with it as well. Being of the scientific persuasion, I couldn't help but order a My Weigh Triton T2 300 g capacity scale with 0.1 g resolution (and calibration weight, of course). Then, I ordered two tea mugs with infuser baskets and some green and white tea from TeaSource -- where I'd ordered and enjoyed a bunch of tea from back in 2009. Finally, after reading a little more on this great forum, I ordered a pair of gaiwans, two green teas, and several pu-erh teas from Norbu. The last of it arrived on Monday and I've been brewing up a storm all week.

First, I've been really enjoying the Man Tang Xiang (Spring 2010) and Xue Dian Mei Lan (Spring 2010) green teas I got from Norbu. For the first couple days I did 3.5 g in a 10 oz cup at 175°F for 2', 2.5', and 3'; this worked well for me.

Then I tried Clouds & Mist Supreme green tea from TeaSource. I found it to be too astringent at 175°F (3.5 g; 10 oz water; 2') but it's much better at 160°F (3.5 g; 10 oz water; 2', 2.5', 3'). I don't like it quite as much as the above teas from Norbu but it's very drinkable. I've really enjoyed the free sample of High Mountain Supreme oolong that they included (3.5 g; 10 oz H20; 190°F; 2', 4', 6'), but I haven't had many oolongs so I can't say much other than I liked it. I like the Downy White white tea from TeaSource (5 g; 10 oz water; 160°F; 6',8',10') quite a lot and have been drinking it much more than the Clouds & Mist green tea.

The next day I tried the 2007 Lincang Grade 1 Ripe pu-erh tea from Norbu (3.5 g; 10 oz water; Boil; 10", 3', 3.5', ...). I'd never tried a pu-erh before and it was a little too earthy for me. My officemate said he didn't like pu-erhs at first but has now grown to love them and was very curious about my impressions. I liked the fourth infusion more than the first three, but I don't think I'll give up my white and green teas just yet.

Then, yesterday, I thought I'd try making some tea gongfu-style using my new gaiwans. Wow! I'm a complete convert. It's so much easier than I expected! Also, brewing in these little 120 ml gaiwans is so much more convenient than the 10 oz mugs -- no more cold tea at the bottom of my mug and no more infusers to clean! (I've got to thank Wholemeal Crank for mentioning using another gaiwan to drink from since it's so hard to find a teacup that isn't either way too small or way too large.) I can't say I taste a huge difference between the western and gongfu-styles, but I do like the greater control that comes with doing many small infusions. Yesterday I used 1.5 g of the Xue Dian Mei Lan green tea in about 70 ml of 175°F water and steeped for 5,3,4,4,5,6,... breaths (counting after filling and before pouring). Then I tried 2.5 g of tea and it was too strong and a bit astringent for me. Today I've done 2.0 g of both the Man Tang Xiang and Xue Dian Mei Lan green teas (70 ml water; 175°F; 5,4,6,8,...) and this worked well for me. Do these leaf-to-water ratios and times sound about right to you?

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The next day I tried the 2007 Lincang Grade 1 Ripe pu-erh tea from Norbu (3.5 g; 10 oz water; Boil; 10", 3', 3.5', ...). I'd never tried a pu-erh before and it was a little too earthy for me. My officemate said he didn't like pu-erhs at first but has now grown to love them and was very curious about my impressions. I liked the fourth infusion more than the first three, but I don't think I'll give up my white and green teas just yet.

I would suggest trying puer from a different source than the one you mention, as well as trying both some young sheng and some small samples of some well aged sheng puer (if you can afford it). I do not personally recommend drinking young sheng all the time, but it's a useful data point to know what raw puer tastes like when it's young.

As far as ripe puer, yes, the taste will generally be earthy, but quality does vary quite a bit. Ripe puer is trying to imitate the taste of well aged sheng. Most folks recommend sticking to the big, formerly state-owned factories for ripe (shu), simply because they've been doing it for a long time, and have the processes down, and some of the smaller factories are not necessarily sanitary. Shu tends not to benefit as much from long aging, however a few years for the wodui taste to go away is often also a good thing.

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Then, yesterday, I thought I'd try making some tea gongfu-style using my new gaiwans. [...] Yesterday I used 1.5 g of the Xue Dian Mei Lan green tea in about 70 ml of 175°F water and steeped for 5,3,4,4,5,6,... breaths (counting after filling and before pouring). Then I tried 2.5 g of tea and it was too strong and a bit astringent for me. Today I've done 2.0 g of both the Man Tang Xiang and Xue Dian Mei Lan green teas (70 ml water; 175°F; 5,4,6,8,...) and this worked well for me. Do these leaf-to-water ratios and times sound about right to you?

While you'd be hard-pressed to get a specific definition from anyone, in my opinion, gongfu brewing will be used for oolong and puer and similar teas, and will usually, though not always, involve fairly large quantities of tea (once open, the leaves will probably fill the pot, give or take a little). To look at it from your "scientific" point of view, you'd be looking at probably at least 6g of tea in a 60-80 ml brewing vessel. I don't think about the timing of infusions, but the rinse(s) and early infusions will usually be almost instant.

With green teas, I'd tend to use a bit more water and a bit less leaf, and somewhat different brewing techniques. Green teas don't tend to be as durable, nor do they tend to change much from one infusion to the other. I don't think it should matter how your leaf to water ratios sound to us. What matters is how the tea tastes to you. Over time, your tolerance of bitter and astringent tastes, and your ability to choose good teas, will probably improve. Don't worry about exact water temperature or quantity or the exact weight of the dry leaf. Some greens will be able to take much hotter water than others. You can always back off next time if you "cook" the tea a bit.

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The next day I tried the 2007 Lincang Grade 1 Ripe pu-erh tea from Norbu (3.5 g; 10 oz water; Boil; 10", 3', 3.5', ...). I'd never tried a pu-erh before and it was a little too earthy for me.

Those sound like quite long infusion times to me, or at least, very long initial infusion times, although I usually use about 1 gram of tea per 1 to 2 ounces of water. If it's not to your preference, I'd set it aside to try again in a few months, rather than compost it. If you're willing to try again, you might try this 2009 Lao Cha Tou shu pu from Norbu, that I find exceptionally forgiving, but milder on the earthiness than some others. It's available in 25g samples to start.

Then, yesterday, I thought I'd try making some tea gongfu-style using my new gaiwans. Wow! I'm a complete convert. It's so much easier than I expected! Also, brewing in these little 120 ml gaiwans is so much more convenient than the 10 oz mugs -- no more cold tea at the bottom of my mug and no more infusers to clean! (I've got to thank Wholemeal Crank for mentioning using another gaiwan to drink from since it's so hard to find a teacup that isn't either way too small or way too large.)

Glad to hear it's working so well for you!

I'm sitting at my desk at work, about to give up on the paperwork and head home, surrounded by a pair of gaiwans, one that I was using for some very nice autumn Tie Guan Yin from jingteashop and one for some San Nen Bancha from norbu--such a great evening tea with the comforting toasty-roasty-ness. I love my gaiwans! Earlier today drank some Anji white tea (brewed in a small glass pot rather than a gaiwan, because I love how pretty the delicate needle-like leaves are as they brew), and finished day 2 of a long brewing session with Da Hong Pao from norbu, a lovely tea that forgave me for letting some of it sit overnight in the thermos, cooling to room temp, being refreshed with some hot new infusions, and still tasting pretty nice.

Yesterday I used 1.5 g of the Xue Dian Mei Lan green tea in about 70 ml of 175°F water and steeped for 5,3,4,4,5,6,... breaths (counting after filling and before pouring). Then I tried 2.5 g of tea and it was too strong and a bit astringent for me. Today I've done 2.0 g of both the Man Tang Xiang and Xue Dian Mei Lan green teas (70 ml water; 175°F; 5,4,6,8,...) and this worked well for me. Do these leaf-to-water ratios and times sound about right to you?

Depends on your respiratory rate, but if you're breathing 12-15 times a minute, those breaths come out to 20-25 seconds first infusion, which is pretty close to the timings I use for similar amounts of tea. If you try a larger amount of tea and your infusions are too strong with your usual timing, you can always cut the infusion time, in proportion to how much more tea you put in, and still usually rescue the set of infusions.

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Thank you Will and Wholemeal Crank for your useful comments and suggestions.

I gave another puer sample I'd ordered from Norbu a try yesterday (Lao Mansa, Sheng, Spring 2009); as suggested, I used more leaves (5.0 g) and much shorter infusion times (about 5 s each for the three rinses and then about 10 s for the infusion I tasted); it was mellower than my previous puer attempt but it was still to vegetal for me. While I do have a sample of Lao Cha Tou (Shu, Spring 2009), I think I'll hold off on trying puer teas for a few months -- stick to white and green teas and maybe adventure out into some oolong teas and then give puer teas another try.

Do you have any oolong (or white or green) tea suggestions for a new to tea enthusiasts?

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Almost invariably my tea-bag drinking acquaintances start out being most pleased by a nice jasmine green tea. Others that are very popular with new tea drinkers are Anji white tea (really a green tea by processing, but usually labelled a white tea); the Yunnan Mao Feng I've been getting from Norbu is exceptionally mellow; strongly floral green oolongs like Norbu's Diamond TGY and Alishan oolongs; and a good silver needle white tea is almost always welcome.

I adore the Lao Mansa but would not recommend it as a beginner puerh; when you're ready to start with puerh again, I'd go with the Lao Cha Tou first.

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I have been in Shanghai for the past week and we have visited three "tea markets" where there are anywhere from 50-100 small shops of tea vendors. This time of year, the premium tea being drunk in Shang hai is Pre-Qingming Longjin green tea.

The best I have had was "reported" as being from Shi Feng from a plantation around 800meters. A very lovely tea with a long lasting nose that is sweet but not overly green.

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While I do have a sample of Lao Cha Tou (Shu, Spring 2009), I think I'll hold off on trying puer teas for a few months -- stick to white and green teas and maybe adventure out into some oolong teas and then give puer teas another try.

Lao cha tou is essentially the crap at the bottom of the pile when they make ripe puer. It's not a tea I'd recommend drinking, esp. if you're new to puer. Even the best young shu (ripe) puer is generally relatively inexpensive (you can often get a whole cake, almost a pound, for $8-20), so there's really no reason to buy the cheap stuff. Ripe tea is (mostly) not the most complex or exciting tea in the world, but it should not have a lot of "fishy" or "pond" type tastes.

As a general rule, miniature sized puer of any kind (i.e., one piece per serving) should almost always be avoided, as should most novelty shapes (things other than cakes, bricks, and tuos). Loose is a better choice if you want to avoid having to deal with breaking up compressed tea.

My friend Jason's got a few recommendations for decent shu that should be currently available in both sample and full quantities. He's also got some recommendations for samples of some at least somewhat aged sheng puer.

http://puerh.blogspot.com/p/new-to-puer.html

Do you have any oolong (or white or green) tea suggestions for a new to tea enthusiasts?

As far as greener style oolongs (which are not generally my "cup of tea"), I think Shiuwen at Floating Leaves in Seattle has good taste.

http://www.floatingleaves.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=15

this past winter seems to have been good. A lot of her stuff is sold out, but she seems to still have the Shan Lin Xi, and looks like the Li Shan will be restocked soon. The "Farmer's Choice" and "Honorable Mention" baozhong are also not bad.

Stephane from Teamasters (http://teamasters.blogspot.com/) has some good stuff at various price points. He sometimes gets some interesting aged baozhongs and other aged Taiwanese oolongs, and he's got a lot of greener style oolongs, as well as some good Oriental Beauty. He ships direct from Taiwan; ordering is a bit of a pain, since you have to get a price list.

http://www.jingteashop.com/ has some good stuff from time to time, but most of their oolongs that I'd really recommend are out of stock right now. Their "gan de" tieguanyin was pretty good from the one sample I tried, again, not really my style, but it was surprisingly good.

http://www.theteagallery.com tends to have good stuff overall. Their Wuyi yancha are a good introduction to the genre, and they've got some interesting teas that are fairly balanced (medium oxidation / roast). You could try this one: http://www.theteagallery.com/Elegant_Queen_p/of-eq.htm

Their plain white porcelain gaiwans are also great, but unfortunately, they're out of stock right now.

For dancong, I'd recommend a friend, if it's allowed.

http://www.teahabitat.com

Some of her teas are quite expensive, but the commercial grade dancong is excellent (and harder to mess up the brewing of), and is not horribly expensive at all.

Another friend who's got great stuff, but not really in the budget category: http://www.themandarinstearoom.com/

Edited by Will (log)
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Lao cha tou is essentially the crap at the bottom of the pile whe they make ripe puer. It's not a tea I'd recommend drinking, esp. if you're new to puer.

The particular Lao Cha Tou I was recommending, the 2009 private label from Norbu, is plummy, fruity, sweet, only mildly earthy, and not at all dreg-like.

I would also recommend staying away from Dan Congs, much as I love them, for a little while. They're fabulous teas but not what I'd recommend for a beginner, because it takes a little practice to get the best out of them. I'd wait until you're comfortable with a less expensive Wuyi oolong or two before trying them--mostly because the good ones from Imen are too expensive to use for practice.

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I would also recommend staying away from Dan Congs, much as I love them, for a little while. They're fabulous teas but not what I'd recommend for a beginner, because it takes a little practice to get the best out of them. I'd wait until you're comfortable with a less expensive Wuyi oolong or two before trying them--mostly because the good ones from Imen are too expensive to use for practice.

Well of course it's all very subjective, but I feel kind of the opposite -- I think Fenghuang dancongs* can be good for new tea drinkers. Not all are difficult to brew, and the lychee / peach / orchid taste and aroma are pretty accessible, though some of the things that make them accessible can also make them a bit cloying at times. I think they're worth a try to see if you like the flavor profile - I'm always surprised by some of the things that new tea drinkers like (or don't like). I think it's always good to get some context as far as different styles of tea, and brewing-wise, a little beginner's luck can go a long way. I used to like them quite a bit more when I was newer to tea, whereas now, I almost never drink them.

The commercial grade Fenghuang dancongs that Tea Habitat has like this Mi Lan Xiang (http://www.teahabitat.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=26_16&products_id=50) are not that expensive, and I think tend to be harder to screw up than "the good [read expensive] ones" you mention**. There are also other shops which stock decent and not hard to brew dancong at a reasonable price. I would, of course, not recommend that a new tea drinker buy a $50/oz tea to play around with. The commercial grade stuff on TH's site is quite good, and in fact, is probably better than some of the more expensive stuff sold by vendors who don't specialize in this particular style of tea.

With dancong, I think getting the quantity of leaf right is the trickiest part - too much and the tea can get a bit astringent; too little, and the tea may be a little too watery in both flavor and texture, and it will be rough on the throat in later brews. With most, I would pour in a very thin stream from 6" or so up, preferably against the side of the brewing vessel rather than touching the tea - while the water should be just off the boil, it's a very fine line between sufficient heat and not "cooking" the tea. If done right, a surprisingly small quantity of tea can produce quite a bit of flavor and fragrance. Some interesting posts about brewing Chaoshan area teas at http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10870.

Wuyi yancha are not a bad choice either, but, even though they are probably one of my favorite types of tea, I don't really know of many available online that I could recommend right now at any price. And anyway, this style of tea can be difficult to brew as well.

* Note - the 'c' is a 'ts' sound, not a hard 'c'. tsong, not kong.

Technically, dancong refers more to a grade and / or method of production, but in practical terms, vendors often use 'dancong' to refer to teas from a particular area in China. Teas referred to as "phoenix oolong" are more or less the same thing, though may be of different grades.

For a bit more of a background on the name / meaning, you can read these two posts. Not everyone will agree exactly about the meaning / use of the name, but they should give a little context, at least.

http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2007/09/phoenix-dan-cong-is-oolong-tea-has-long.html

http://camelliasinensisblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/clearing-up-common-mistake-what-dan.html

http://www.marshaln.com/2009/09/wednesday-september-30-2009/

** I have not tried any of the recent batches of these teas, but my assumption is that the quality should be fairly consistent.

Edited by Will (log)
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ps - back on topic... today, I had two Wuyi yancha, a lao cong shui xian that was re-roasted by an old HK shop, original year unknown, and a 2008 'yan zhong lan (岩中蘭)', a bit lower fire, but somewhat oxidized. This isn't a particularly famous varietal; I really liked the 2007 one from the same maker, but unfortunately, this one isn't quite as good.

This particular shui xian is decent tea; good if brewed right, but I personally prefer the taste when brewed in a thin-walled gaiwan; brewing in a small red clay pot today, the tea was coming out a bit sharper than I like. One interesting thing about this tea is that the shop had kept some of the original tea that they roasted (still a roasted tea, but much lower level), so they gave me some to compare. Because some of the Chaozhou and Fujian people in Hong Kong still prefer the older style of tea, many of the old shops here still roast Wuyi yancha and Anxi tieguanyin according to traditional "recipes".

The second is not particularly expensive, but I liked how it was coming out today - the roast has settled well, and it's got a nice guava-y note in the aftertaste.

Yesterday, I had a puer brick I just acquired a couple pieces of - a 1998 'zhengshan daye (正山大葉)'. Its storage has been fairly clean (almost too clean), and compression is medium-tight, so while it's smooth and the tea broth is darker than a young sheng, the taste is still pretty young. It's a tea that I'd rather hang onto for a while than drink much of now.

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More on topic....some HouDe Wood-roasted Shui Xian this afternoon, and starting a session with Lao Ban Zhang loose puerh from Norbu this evening.

It is hard to know what a new tea drinker will like, and I almost didn't try the Lao Ban Zhang because Greg warned it could be quite bitter. But a little practice and I came up with a way to brew it that I love. Still, if I'd had it when I was first starting to branch out from my SeaDyke traditional roast TGY and jasmine green teas, I would have given up on the idea of puerh for a good long time to come. Fortunately, I met some mellow ripe puerhs first, then some more aggressive but tasty shengs, and I was ready for this one when it came my way--thanks to a TT&D here on egullet.

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Welcome to the Coffee and Tea forum, Douglas.

You have gotten some helpful ideas from Will and Wholemeal Crank. My brief version: as far as learning to brew Chinese teas gongfu style, it's really a matter of playing around with teas and learning basic brewing techniques. Give yourself lots of room to experiment; it may easily take the better part of 50 grams of a tea to learn how to brew it and how to brew it to your individual taste. If Wholemeal Crank took a sip of a tea I brewed, we would be calling 911; if I drank hers, I would wonder why she likes to drink water out of tea cups. It's personal. Just have fun.

I have been drinking a number of teas since I last posted. Here are a few. One day the start was the Dian Hong Imperial from Norbu Tea brewed in a Yixing dedicated to Chinese Red (black) teas. This may have been the best I have ever brewed this tea. Startlingly good, so I brewed it again the same way the next day and it was good...very good, but not dazzlingly wonderful like the day before. Another example of some unknown factor influencing the perception of taste.

A couple of sessions with the Lao Tai Di Qing Xin Oolong (Old Plantation Oolong), also from Norbu. I really like the current version of this tea. Brewed in a small (110ml) dragon egg shape Yixing that has very good clay (and shape) for rolled medium to higher oxidized Oolongs.

The last couple of mornings an American Breakfast tea from The Cultured Cup. I have had this black tea (actually very much like an Irish Breakfast tea) for a couple of years, and I don't know if it's still in their stock, but a good, relatively inexpensive tea. Brisk, but not so much you want to bite back.

No Chinese green teas recently, but three from Yuuki-cha: I still have a little left of the Kanaya Midori Sencha and that's what is in my cup at the moment; also the Organic Honyama Gyokuro Kin-un and Organic Honyama Gyokuro Haku-un. I'll post more on these gyokuros in the Japanese Green Tea topic soon. Along with a tea pot near (I hope) disaster.

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If Wholemeal Crank took a sip of a tea I brewed, we would be calling 911; if I drank hers, I would wonder why she likes to drink water out of tea cups. It's personal. Just have fun.

True enough. I just set up an infusion of the Lao Ban Zhang and forgot to pour it out right away--I know better than to turn my back on any infusion of this tea, it's so powerful--but fortunately it was the first infusion after a while, and the cool gaiwan seems to have save it from something destined to fit Richard's taste to one fit for me. Whew!

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This week I have been using up some bottom-of-the-bag of two of last season's shinchas in order to treat an abused kyusu. Surprisingly good after the bag having been opened so mony months ago.

More of the American Breakfast Tea from TCC in the mornings. Also the Fujian Baili Gongfu red tea from jingteashop.com brewed in a Yixing.

Yesterday a very nice session with a Pai Mu Tan from TCC brewed in a Yixing dedicated to white teas. The clay makes a significant difference compared to a porcelain gaiwan. Ended the day with the aged San Nen Bancha from Norbu Tea that is one of three Japanese teas featured in the current Tea Tasting & Discussion (TT&D).

This hour began a session with one of the Organic Honyama Gyokuro from yuuki-cha. Brewed in a small Tokoname kyusu, it has a whiff of the ocean and a delicious sharpness.

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Thank you again for all your suggestions. So far, I'm really enjoying my foray into oolong teas. I ended up following Will's suggestions and ordered some tea from Floating Leaves (which arrived today) and from Tea Habitat (which arrived on Wednesday).

I experimented with the Honey Orchid (commercial grade) from Tea Habitat yesterday and today. I used too much dry tea (5.0 g for my 120 ml gaiwan) on Thursday and I had trouble getting the times short enough and had to keep adding extra water. Today I tried again with 3.0 g (about 70 ml water; Boil: 15 s; 200°F: 10 s, 10 s, 13 s; 190°F: 13 s, 15 s, 15 s, 20 s, 25 s) and really enjoyed its sweet, mellow, peachy taste. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other (commercial grade) dan cong teas I got from Tea Habitat and the samples from Floating Leaves next week.

I'm getting the distinct feeling that hanging out in this forum is going to be very bad for my bank account :biggrin:.

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What Russian Caravan are you drinking, Chris?

Pleasant day of tea starting with a Wu Niu Zao Chinese green tea from jingteashop.com, brewed in a gaiwan. Last seasons tea, but still good. Not as good as it was the first month, of course, but still good. Then on to an older (1999) Shu Puerh, also from Jing. Very smooth brewed in an older (1980s) clay Yixing dedicated to Shu, and one of the very best Shu I have had.

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

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Today continued brewing the shu puerh session I started yesterday. Still very good through a total now of about six sessions with more left in the leaves. The past hour it's been a session a Big Red Robe Wuyi Oolong from The Cultured Cup, brewed in a 70s Yixing. Six infusions so far.

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The recent pot of Pai Mu Tan was so good that I followed it up today with a pot of Yin Zhen, also from TCC. Followed by some bottom-of-the-bag Organic Kanaya Midori Shincha (last season) from yuuki-cha - still quite nice, though a shadow of its former self, of course. Now brewing the Wu Yi Shui Jin Gui Oolong from Norbu - minerally, roasty, stone fruit.

What's been brewing in your part of the world?

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Winter Li Shan tea from Floating Leaves in Seattle this morning - somehow I was craving something a little bit lighter than what I usually drink. I like her stuff because she tends to pick stuff that's got just a touch more oxidation than the really green gaoshan oolongs; if I just ever so slightly baby it in terms of water temperature, the lingering aftertaste has a nice fruitiness to it.

And, with lunch, small paper packet of 90s Wuyi Tieluohan from an old HK shop. This is not a super expensive tea, but I enjoy it. Brewed in a big pot at my "default" weekday lunch spot.

xiang_xing_tlh2.jpg

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Leaving shanghai later today To go back to Boston. I wished I could stay until the 25th when there will be a big tea expo with what one tea vendor described as the best of what you can get.

On this trip we were introduced to many teas, mostly green preQiming picks. One of our new favorite is hou kui. We met a tea dealer who's family was relocated to HaungShan during the cultural revolution and the family now runs several tea plantation in tai ping. Much of his families tea is selected by the regional government and what is left he deals with other types in one of the tea market stalls in shanghai.

We tasted many hou kui on this trip yet this one stands out with long lasting strength in brews not generally found in early picked green teas. Anyone who has not tried hou kui should do so.

Edited by rmillman (log)
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Tai ping hou kui is definitely a favorite since I first tried some, whether the lower grade version I first encountered at my local market, or the fancy version I have since enjoyed from Jing Tea Shop. The delightful spiciness is quite unexpected in a delicate sweet green tea.

Today, some nice Da Hong Pao from Norbu, and I'm now enjoying a good session with Honey Orchid Dan Cong from Tea Habitat. Both teas with a pleasant spiciness.

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