vrijdag 31 augustus 2012

Back in Belgium

Dear followers,

My traveling is over and I'm back at my end destination: Belgium.
You can expect more blogs the following days/weeks because I will
have to make up for these 2 unproductive weeks. I hope you'll continue
reading my blog and you'll enjoy reading them more than ever. Hopefully
I can turn some of my positive vacation vibes that are still left in my body into
some creative and interesting writing.


dinsdag 14 augustus 2012


Tomorrow I'm leaving to work on a festival for a few days and after that's finished I have to catch my flight to Czech for 10 days. So don't expect any tea posts till the beginning of september.

Wish you all a great summer!

vrijdag 10 augustus 2012

Teamaster's Da Yu Ling spring 2012

What an incredible day! When I woke up I watched out the window and I saw a clear blue sky.... I knew that today was the day to brew Teamaster's Da Yu Ling from this year spring!

The tea balls are tiny,dark and tight. They have a very light, refreshing smell. When I put them into my preheated Gaiwan I wasn't able to detect much aroma's. They just gave me a little hint of what to expect later on. The first brew was very light and refreshing but I wasn't very impressed. The second brew was slightly stronger and had the same pureness as the first but still I wasn't impressed.... But then came the 3th, the 4th, 6th, 7th,8th,9th brew! Wow, this is just crazy! The tea really builds up in later brews. Most teas give everything they have in the 3rd brew but this tea hasn't even started the 3rd brew. They release their aromas in tiny quantities, a little bit more every steep. The only way I can describe this tea is that it seems that the Taiwanese are able to grow the purest, finest perfume in the world on a  tree! This tea is just so refreshing, so pure in your mouth and the aftertaste is out of this world. It just keeps going and going. The first 5 brews were extremely perfumy and full of flowers but then suddenly the character of this tea started to change.

The flowery,perfumy taste is still the main palate but now the initial sip has a more fruity taste. I wouldn't say ripe, sweet fruits but rather some still a little bit green peaches that appear on the background and which makes this tea even more complex than it already is and keeps you interested. Because when you think: oh, this tea might be pure and fresh but it gets boring after 5 brews, you are wrong. This tea just keeps surprising  you with little hints and complex aromas who change every single time. The aproximate 8th brew has a much 'darker' and richer character. The body feels more heavy and some ripe grapes/peaches are dominating the all around taste of this tea now while there are still some perfumy accents to keep it light. The colour also gets more darker and orange. I can even notice some tastes simular to the skin of apples on the back of my tongue. And all of this without any astringency or bitterness at all. It's like a tea on steroïds, it just keeps going and going, I'm already at the 10 or 11th (I lost the count) brew and it hasn't shown any weaknesses yet.
While in the beginning I had some troubles appreciating this extreme high mountains tea, I now finally start to appreciate their pure flavors. Can't wait to try that Hehuanshan again now my eyes are a little bit more opened. For me it's also so surreal knowing that the leafs I'm steeping now where once on one of the highest mountains in Taiwan. Crazy if you think about it!

The leafs are spearshaped and slim and look very healthy. They feel thick and smooth. One of the best looking leafs I've seen so far, maybe because of the high altitude the plants are not bothered with many insects and diseases and they grow without any disturbance and they can put all their energy into leafs so they are able to survive at such height. I still have a little bit left of this tea for 1 more brew, I'll keep it for a special occasion or friend. If I had the money I would buy a big package right away but right now my priority is to try as much teas as possible so I'm able to get a general view. My blogs aren't very structured and might contain many grammatical errors but I want to keep it this way. I drink this tea and then I write straight from the heart. I could polish my blogs, reread them and adjust the text but then it wouldn't be pure anymore. Then I will give it a shape how I want it to be, while now it's just my heart and feelings speaking. And isn't that where tea is about? Atleast that is how I want to live my 'tea life'. When I see people with thermometers and chromometers breweing their teas, I know that's not how I want to do it. Life is already to strict and full of rules. With tea I can stop using my brain for once and use my instincts.

maandag 6 augustus 2012

Jin Xuan from Mei Lan

After a great holiday in Hungary I'm finaly back. It was a great journey and I was able to taste some excellent Hungarian wine while I also discovered that I like good quality, handmade cigars (because I had the oppertunity to try some excellent cohiba's). It was a journey of tasting many different things, most of those 'things' were (microbrewery) beers. My Hungarian friend is passionated about beer and as the Belgian I am so am I. Soon I might start a beer blog though it won't be as active as this tea blog.

Lets go back to tea, will we? So after this vacation I'm finaly able to brew some fine oolong tea again and on todays menu is a Jin Xuan I bought from Mei Lan and I consider one of the most impressive teas I've tasted. It's from this years spring and it's grown in Aowanda on about 1200-1800m.

The tea has a flowery sweet aroma and looks dark green with some white spots. It was slightly roasted just to get rid of extra moisture and to preserve freshness. Till now the tea smells and looks like an average,daily oolong but now comes the surprise! Once you put this tea in your preheated gaiwan the most wonderful,sweet aroma's start to develop and start to please your nostrils. It smells like a creamy,sweet green tea. The first brew is already so thick in body, so incredible smooth and sweet that you can't wait for the 2nd brew! The mouthfeel of this tea is so pleasant and while it might be 1 dimensional the first brew, the later brews are much more complex and bring more variety.
At first there is the unmistakeable thick sweetness that fills your mouth with joy but later there are some very flowery aromas vaporising in your mouth like somebody sprayed with a lovely,flowery perfume supported by underlying tones of subtle nectarine or even apricot. The sweetness starts to go away the 3rd brew but it stays amazingly smooth and full bodied though the flowery aromas overpower. It stay strong till the 5th brew but with some longer brews you can still extract lots of flavours from this tea.

The tea contains lots of small,young buds which is a good sign. You can clearly see the Jin Xuan shape of the leaf which is more rounded and has a rather thick middle. Also you can see that some roasting is done.
Making this tea is such a joy, it certainly will cheer you up on a moody day because what makes a person more happier than sweets and flowers? I guess this tea will be consumed in just a mather of days!