zaterdag 20 april 2013

EoT 2010 Manmai

Is this upside down?
You know these days when you go to sleep, and when you wake up you feel sick and miserable? Well, sometimes I wake up and I feel a craving for sheng puerh. Sometimes Taiwanese oolong isn't sufficient enough in satisfying me.
After storing my shengpu in a new cabinet, with little bowl of destilled water, the humidity has increased to 65%, which made my tea feel so much more alive.

Don't take the statements I make in this blog for truth, my experience with puerh is ridiculous. It seems it already has changed a little bit, the leaves look slightly darker and is compressed thightly. I haven't seen this cake until a week ago, but the flavour profile which I experienced seems to be a lot different than those reviews written 3 years ago. Ofcourse, tasting notes are not a reliable source because they are so different from person to person.

The smell is sweet, lacquered wood with honey. It has a clean flavour profile without too much change or any overpowering notes, making it a nicely balanced tea. The profile mainly consists of soft wooden notes, sweet malt and subtile notes of ripe fruits, finished of with a powerful bitterness. It's consistent in it's infusions and refuses to give up, I'm always amazed how much endurance some sheng has. After a dozen infusion orso (forgive me dear readers, I do not count my steeps), the bitterness did become quite harsh on the throat. Luckily, it quickly vanishes and makes place for a lovely, fruity sweetness.

Because of the high compression - especially not because of my inexperience with breaking cakes into pieces- the leaves were a tad more broken than wished for. This is a tea I would love to drink every day, or atleast when I'm longing for puerh and strong qi (Sometimes I wonder if no other greens are mixed into the cake). I already regret only buying the 250g bing....that says enough.

vrijdag 12 april 2013

Antwerps Teacentre's Lishan Spring 2013

My first Spring tea of 2013. Mei Lan told me that this tea is quite special, made from a new cultivar which the farmer didn't want to reveal. I'm always up for some mystery! She thinks there might be some Assam in the genetics, and it wouldn't surprise me. While Assam was my first thought as well, right now I wouldn't be surprised if there was cauliflower or spinach mixed in.... this tea is vegetal!

It looks like a typical Taiwanese gaoshan, lovely blue/green colour. The balls - for some reason this always sounds funny to me- are slightly bigger than usual and irregular shaped. They give away a sweet flowery scent, not revealing their big surprise yet.

So far I've had 3 sessions with this tea, all 3 of them have been completely different. The gaiwan is able to tame the vegetal flavours, putting more accents on the long orchid, citrus aftertaste. Brewed with my mumyoi clay teapot, it's a  different story.

Most Taiwanese oolong I've tried so far are fruity or flowery, sometimes with a hint of vegetables. This tea is the other way around: vegetable soup with some flower sprinkled on top.
It starts of with a strong cauliflower and asparagus taste, in later brews evolving into a more meaty, spinach character. It feels big in the mouth and has lots of vegetal sweetness with hints of puffed honey rice. After the 4th brew, it becomes less brutal in the mouth -probably caused due my more intense steeps- developing a finer, more flowery palate. I don't know if my nose is fooling me or not because I could clearly smell a bit of  pepper in the brew. In the last brew, faint flavors of peach appear in the aftertaste... ah, something familiar at last.

The qi was strong- , the flavors were gone, something was wrong I said, "What was going on?" (couldn't help it but put some snoop doggy dog rhymes in here.) Just to make sure: nothing was wrong with the flavors, just had to fit in the lodi dodi rhyme.

Now I can understand, most of you are thinking : "what kind of vegetable soup tea is this?". It sounds a bit strange, perhaps even off-putting. In my experience, it has been one of the most complex teas I've tried so far, changing face every session. This oolong really has its own personality, making it stand out of the so many overflowery Taiwanese gaoshans.

Reading my reviews, it seems teas are always getting better and better with barely any bad review. It's not that I like every tea, just buying better and better quality the more experience I'm gaining. Till now, no quality tea has disappointed me. Because some flavour profiles don't appeal to me, doesn't make it a bad or low quality tea. This tea on the other hand, did satisfy my craving. The leaves are big and thick, resulting in many flavorful brews.