zondag 24 juni 2012

Tea in the rain

Lovely colours
For my birthday (15th of June) I bought myself 3 grams of a 70'ies loose puerh tea. The original plan was that I would brew it on my birthday but because of my examinations and people coming by to congratulate me I thought I should keep it till I find a quiet moment, undisturbed. That moment arrived today and it couldn't be more ideal for consuming puerh tea. It is a cold, grey, rainy day. Not the kind of days where you wanna drink a fruity oolong but rather a strong,warming puerh.

This blog won't be long because I don't even wanna try to put my feelings into words 'cause it is impossible. Knowing that around 40 years ago (when my parents were maybe 5 years old) a few people were harvesting this tea under miserable circumstances during the cultural revolution , stored for over more than 40 years and now I am drinking this. It's just unbelievable, there are these moments in life where you just wanna cry because you are experiencing something so unique. It's this feeling you can't explain and some people may not experience it in their lifetime.
I did my best to take some nice pictures but I don't have a proffesional camera nor am I a good photographer though I hope you'll enjoy the pictures and you are able to feel a little bit like how I felt during this tea session. Reviewing this tea won't do it any justice but I just want to say it had the most beautiful red colour I ever saw in tea, it was like a very old sherry whisky. The taste was so balanced and I could steep it for more than half an hour and it wouldn't get bitter. And the aftertaste just lingers in your mouth for hours! It's amazing.

Some leafs are still intact

I'm still trying to find a good foto editing program, if one of you followers could recommend me someone it would make me very happy and you can expect better blogs :)

zaterdag 23 juni 2012

Teamasters Spring Jade Oolong

 My examinations are finaly finished and so are the after-examination-parties, this means it's time for some tea. Last blog I wrote was about a Jade Oolong and I thought it would be interesting to review another one of these but from Teamasters. The information on his blog says it's a tea grown at an altitude of around 800 meters which is kind of high for a Jade Oolong who are mostly grown at lower altitudes. It comes from a mountain close to the famous Shan Lin Shi with the name 'Yi Guang Shan'. Sounds promising, doesn't it? So lets go!

I was kindly surprised when I opened the package and I saw the biggest oolong ball I ever witnessed. Isn't it huge? Here a picture to compare, you have to know these jade oolong balls were already slightly bigger than normal. The balls were very sticky, like they were dipped in sugarsyrup! They had a sweet smell, almost popcorn with caramel like. I first wanted to test this tea with a competition set. So this means 3g from 6 minutes.

 After 6 minutes of waiting I poured the tea in a big cup. The brew was very clear and was yellow. I'm not sure but I think the tea is slightly roasted (catched some nutty aroma's) and also a bit more oxidized than high mountain oolong. The leafs are big,thick and smell like pineapples with caramelised nuts. The soup itself was very fruity and had much more body than previous jade oolong. It had a little bit of nuttiness but it still preserved this fresh,green taste we expect from high mountain oolong.

 A bit later I brewed the tea again but now in a gaiwan to see how the tea would behave with shorter steeps. And I think now you can see why they call it Jade oolong? The leafs are also intense green. It might be a tea from a more lower area but that doesn't change its complexity. I didn't expect it to be so complex and variable in taste. It was so much fun brewing this tea becaus every steep would taste different. While I was brewing this tea my niece came by and while we were chatting I offered her a cup. She said it reminded her of cauliflower and indeed that particular brew had lots of vegetable nuances in it. I like to let the tea rest between steeps so the aroma's have time to develop and change.
 Also this tea has a perfumy aftertaste I associate with Ali Shan tea's. Perhaps the terroir has to do with it? In the last brew while the leafs were fully unfold the tea got a lot more sweeter and I was able to detect some banana/nectarine flavours. This is just a lovely every day tea which will give me(and maybe you) a lot of fun brewing and experimenting.

The Dahlia's in my yard also started to flower and they look magnificient. Aren't they just gorgeous?My fuchsia's are full of little berries now but I took the picture of the last flower still there. Thanks to tea we are able to enjoy the small things in life like flowers :)

zaterdag 9 juni 2012

Jade Oolong - Tea House Oolong

I've been kind of busy with studying lately so I wasn't able to brew a lot of tea and if I was I prefered to just enjoy it without taking pictures, writing notes etc... Yesterday I arrived home again and today the first thing I did was making a nice cup of tea. I had no idea which one I should make today. I decided to take this sample I once received from this Dutch webshop of Jade Oolong. I remembered that a few months ago I really like that tea so I wanted to see if my taste has changed or not.

The tea wasn't stored that properly because I didn't have any porcelain pots left so it was just stored in some paper. The tea didn't have an intense smell when it was dry. The balls were very little and slightly roasted. I made this competition style (3g for 6 minutes). I once made this tea together with my mom a few months ago and I remember that I loved the ripe fruity flavours that developped with some bitter,roasting hints.

The colour of this tea is this very calm yellow. It's a soft and gentle colour reminding me a little bit of chickensoup, haha! The smell was quite surprising for me. I expected these intense, ripe fruity flavours but instead I received this smell that reminded me a lot of my grandma's cauliflower with cheesesauce with black pepper. (Wow, a lot of food in this tea. It contains soup,main dish and dessert!). The taste of this tea was not sweet but not bitter either, something I would describe as 'woody'. I store all of my teas in this wooden closet, maybe it absorbed some of the flavours or maybe it's just from the roasting? In the aftertaste I was able to pick up those ripe fruits I was longing for. All in all this tea wasn't very complex nor gave it me a feeling I wanted to drink this tea again. It was this kind of 'mwah' tea. Ofcourse it was still better than any ind of teabags. But besides the fact that it wasn't world greatest tea I'm very happy that I brewed this tea again because it reminded me how lucky I am that I'm able to drink these high quality teas. Because if you only drink superior, world class teas than they become just 'average'. Sometimes you need something less to appreciate what you are drinking. We all sometimes forget how lucky we actually are, not only in drinking tea but also that we all have a roof above our head, internet connection to talk to people all over the world, daily food etc... Tea really is the beginning of apprecation.

Just love the colour in the middle

Small,damaged leafs