zondag 22 april 2012

Oriental Beauty

 CORRECTION: I thought this was the red da yeh but it seemed I used oriental beauty because today I found the red da yeh package unopened....silly me!

Today I was about to make my first Taiwanese red tea ever and I had totally no clue how to do it so it was a big experiment for me. A Czech friend of mine made me some cups and a teapot and I was sure those would fit perfectly with a red tea. More information about these ceramics in my next blog!

This red Da Yeh is a sample I received from Stéphane and it's harvest on 26 June(This is correct for the red da yeh which I will review later but this OB is harvested in August). It's from miaoli and fully oxidized and slightly roasted. As with my previous wild concubine I reviewed this tea is also bitten by the Jacobiasca formosana Paoli which gives it a natural sweet flavor. The tea looks very dark and the smell reminds me a lot of dusty, very dry hay but with some more  bitterness and some underlying sweet, fruity tones. The dry smell isn't as pleasant as with most high mountain oolong teas but the brew of this tea is totally different.

For today's setup I used these black placemats because I thought it would give a nice cotnrast with the white ceramic. The brown matcha bowl I used for the wastewater. In the right porcelain vessel I stored the tea. Outside the weather changes every 10 minutes and it was very pleasant to watch because the light would change every 10 minutes and it gave a really cool atmosphere to this configuration and to the tea.
When I started brewing this tea I had no idea what to do. So I just took a little bit of tea and I poured very hot water on it. The first time I already poured it after about 45 seconds but the brew was pretty light. Next steep I kept the hot water in the pot for much longer untill the brew received the colour of sunset because that's how I would imagine a Taiwanese red tea. Sitting on the beach, watching the sunset and having a nice cup of this tea preferably accompagnied by a nice Taiwanese girl but well..... lets not dream away! I will have to do it with rainy weather and sparkles of sunshine now and then. The first thing that struck me of this tea was the intense citrus, sour taste. This sourness was very pleasant and refreshing but I expected something totally different. I expected something very warm, sweet like dark sugar, a bit nutty maybe but I got something completely else. After the sourness there came this grapefruit  bitterness and eventually it would become this floral lingering sweetness at the sides of your mouth. Since I never really tasted something like this before and I had no idea how to brew it's hard for me to write about this tea because I can't compare it to anything else. For me it's not as complex and sensitive as an high mountain oolong. It's more this kind of evening tea for relaxation, something you would drink on a romantic dinner with your girlfriend or wife. Some sort of aphrodisiac, something that will bring complete peace to your evening. It's a very sensual tea I must say. In a later brew I noticed there was also this sweet honey tea, subtle but it is there, it also got a little bit more fruity. Think about blood oranges and grapefruit mixed together but more soft, elegant and sensual. The colour of this tea was very special and I think it suited perfectly in these white cups. The cups are elegant but still very robustic just like this tea and it displays the colour of the tea amazingly well. If you look very closely on this picture you can see that at the sides of this tea there is this grapefruit redness and more to the middle it gets more orange/amber, a very complicated and beautiful colour. In the pot it gave this lovely, iron colour as a deep red sun. All in all, a very special tea and I will keep it for special occasions and people.

 The tea reminds me very much of this particular poem: shakespeares sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

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