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cdh

New year, new teas. Tasting through an assortment.

49 posts in this topic

Currently onto some Green Snail Spring green tea.  Enjoyable; certainly one of the nicer examples of Green tea's I have tried, but not as profoundly unique as the 2 aforementioned samples.

 

Curious, what makes an oolong 'milk'able' (for lack of a better term)?

 

Excited to try some of the other Oolong's and the Pu-erh's!

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When they say milky, they really mean that it has a dairy nuance to the flavor and aroma.  There apparently was a mutation in a tea bush in Taiwan that they discovered in the 1990s and cloned the hell out of because the mutation made this diary nuance that is interesting and commercially viable.  Think about the smell in a cheesemaking operation as they're heating up the milk before they chuck in the rennet.  Ask your tea guys for a sample of milk oolong and you'll get the idea.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I figured as much, but I noted you mentioned that you decided to brew it at a higher temp, which prompted the question - how would one know which oolong's are suitable for such prep methods?

 

Furthermore, I was lead to believe (my knowledge is extremely limited - so take that with a few grains of salt!) that oolong's are brewed with water right off the boil.  Whereas white/green/yellow tea's the water should be left to sit 5 or so minutes post boil before brewing.

 

 

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For me, the rule is that the greener the tea, the cooler the water is usually the way to go.  The lightly oxidized oolongs generally taste better to me at 185-195F than at 212... I find boiling water brings out metallic notes I'm happy to do without.  So for an oolong that smells like flowers rather than like woodlands, I start at 180 and move up.  This particular milk oolong seems to break that rule... but I'm glad I figured it out before the sample was used up.  Having a kettle that lets me dial in a temperature band and has a readout that tells me the temperature of the water does make playing with these teas much more rewarding.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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And talk of green tea brings us up to sample 7:  Gunpowder tea.  Leaves rolled up into little shiny pellets.  Very smoky aroma.  Slightly smokey flavor. Brewed 2.5g to 12 oz of water at 185ish.  Long finish, sweet on the tongue.  A hint of astringency, so that is telling me to vary the water temp down rather than up for the second infusion.  The tea barely finished unrolling itself during an initial 3 minute steep. 2017-01-18 13.12.43.jpg

2017-01-18 13.11.11.jpg


Edited by cdh (log)
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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Tell me more about this 3 minute steep.

 

My 'instructions' said 5 - 10 - 20 - 60 second infusions for the green tea.

 

 

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Depends on your tea, and how you're making it.  If I were doing this tea gongfu style, with 60-70ml of water rather than a 12 oz mug, I'd think about timing like that.  I know and enjoy gunpowder brewed at western ratios and timings... so that is what I did.  Perhaps the other 3.5g of tea will get the gongfu treatment to see how it is different.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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So I brew like you in a larger mug as well -

 

Does that mean I should throw these brewing times out the window?

 

So much to learn.....

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When my restaurant was open, I had a wonderful local tea vendor...an elderly couple who sold at the city market, and imported directly from a distributor in China. They carried all the "10 famous teas" (actually 16 or 17 of them...I understand there's a lot of disagreement over exactly which teas belong on the list) as well as other noteworthy but more mainstream offerings. 

 

I didn't taste my way through them as systematically as you're doing here, and lacked the experience to brew and taste them this critically in any case, but they were remarkable. 

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Fat=flavor

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Trying the gunpowder gongfu style, and I'm not seeing the marked difference that I saw with the oolongs earlier.  Same flavor, a little more concentrated, but with more astringency.  That's it.  No point in gongfu-ing this particular tea. Much tastier when done with western times and ratios.


Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Interesting, Chris.

 

I will have to try brewing some of these samples at longer temps and see if any discernible difference is noted.

 

 

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Final verdict on the gunpowder is "meh".  There are much more appealing greens out there.  This tea veers toward the astringent/bitter too much. 


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Sample 8 looks to be either green, or a very lightly oxidized oolong.  EXTREME tropical floral aroma out of the bag... very sweet floral.  I think it has to be osmanthus scented, as that is the closest floral aroma that comes to mind.  Trying it gongfu style to begin on the guess it is oolong-y enough to benefit from that treatment.  2.75g with water at 200F.  5 second rinse, followed by 30 seconds infusion.  Disappointing... astringent and a bit bitter... the aroma does not come through in the flavor.  Decremented the water temp down to 190 and a 45 second infusion is still not getting the flavor and aroma to harmonize.  Gonna try 180 next.

2017-01-21 11.23.03.jpg


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Chris,

 

What method would you suggest for a Pu-erh?

 

I have two, one a 'Mini tao cha' version, the other 'loose'.

 

The loose is what I will try first...

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Go gongfu on it.  Pu erh seems really ideal for that treatment.  I'd start with water around 200 and vary it up or down depending on whether you are getting more astringency than you like with that.  Try 3g to about 100ml of water.  Rinse to get the leaves rehydrating... then short 10 or 15 second infusions at the beginning.  Read some of the pu erh tasting threads here for more details on how others have done it.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Tried it last night, did the gongfu style (sort of), but a larger amount of water - came out nice, very funky (see; horse barn) aromas, nice flavour. 

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With the pu erh, the initial infusions get rid of some of the real funky stuff...  the horse barn goes away and the teas get really rich and sweet at about infusion 3 or 4, and some of them can keep going out to 10+ infusions.  One of the little samples that had been sitting here for 5 years gave a distinct banana ester thing in its first couple of infusions.  Just goes to show that pu erhs are actively evolving and organic chemistry is churning away in them as they age.


Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Sample 9 brings a bit of a mystery.  Is this a packing error, or is there a thing they also call Tie Guan Yin that is not a tea, but a bunch of raisin-y dried fruits?  The packaging pretty clearly says in English Tie Guan Yin, which I've always expected to be an oolong tea... but when I opened it up there were these flame red raisins.  I tried making tea with them... but they sorta smell like wet cardboard, and don't taste of much of anything.  So after a couple of sips, this made fast acquaintance with my sink and its attendant plumbing. Anybody who happens to recognize what these are and has an idea of what they're supposed to be like is more than welcome to chime in and let me know what I missed.

2017-01-27 11.16.33.jpg

2017-01-27 11.16.41.jpg


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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They look like dried goji berries, it seems a clear mistake by the manifacturer (wrong product in wrong package).

There are a boatloads of uses for dried goji berries, but they are an acquired taste, if you didn't like them as an infusion then it's hard to think about alternative uses.

 

 

 

Teo

 


My pastry blog (in Italian language): http://www.teonzo.com/

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Indeed - dried goji berries.

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Since sample 9 was a bust, I've moved on to sample 10:  This is labelled oolong tea, and one appears to be in the package.  This one is quite well roasted, looking very dark, and very tightly curled up.  I've gone to the gongfu method on this one to fine effect.  It has a roasty aroma, a smooth rich initial flavor, and subsides into a long fruity finish.  More a peachy flavor than plummy... tough to get more descriptive than that.   More interesting with water at 200F than at 190F.  6 infusions in and seems like it is just getting started... the leaves are very slow to unfold.

2017-01-27 12.45.33.jpg

2017-01-27 13.22.46.jpg

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Thanks for spotting what the goji berries were.  They didn't infuse into anything interesting given a few minutes in hot water... their dry aroma was more interesting than their rehydrated aroma... much more fruity when dry... more cardboardy when wet.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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After a bit of a break to drink other non-relevant stuff for the past couple of weeks, we're up to sample 11.  Tightly crumpled leaves. Amazing lilac fragrance. Very easy to make astringent in the cup.  Another case of the aroma being more interesting than the flavor.

2017-02-08 12.58.26.jpg


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I've given sample 11 some more chances, and 190F, western ratios produce something very nice.  The lilac still doesn't come through on the palate, but the aroma and the flavor complement each other well with that set of brewing parameters.


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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