Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stretching Tea: A Detailed Sampling of Mystery Puerh, The Initial Tasting (Later found to be a 2005 999 limited edition from Menghai)

Toki sent this sample, one doesn't exactly know what it was. It came in a foil bag and was the only sample that he sent that was unlabeled. One thought to brew it over a span of a few weeks as recommended by Toki. The notes below are a rather detailed account of one's experience with this tea.

The smell of the dry leaves were subtle, complex, and overly appealing. The deep, dry puerh smell is almost metallic. The sample was left in the open air to breathe for a few days before steeping.

The tea was rinsed, prepared, and readied to be experienced.

The first infusions left a soft metallic, mushroom, fruit flavour that seemed to change in the mouth. The mouthfeel is phenomenal, it strokes the tongue, making it purr on contact, the liquid softens the tongue, drying the tongue. The aftertaste is deep mushroom at the back of the throat. The qi of the first pot is nice, happy, it radiates from the mouth and throat spreading into the shoulders and neck. The tea's energy asserts a calming top down effect as it creeps from the base of the skull down the spine.

The second infusion was less metallic, the mushroom taste strikes first leaving one struggling to name this fruity taste that sneaks into the aftertaste, the flavours are light and not overpowering. The mouthfeel seems softer in the throat, dryer in the mouth, if only one could walk allong one's tongue right now, what a happy place to be! The chaqi has now really taken hold. The mind is calm as if sitting for hours in mediation, calm euphoria, ones world slows down, energy radiates forth, one's head feels slightly lighter than one's body which feels almost as light. This tea is really taking one for a ride!

The third infusion tasted similar to the second yet there was more earthiness to the aftertaste. The feeling in the mouth continued to be pleasant and dry.

A rumbling stomach reminded one that they should take a break to eat. Homemade sugared peanuts were used to quell the swirling unbalanced energy of one's stomach reacting to an early morning's hunger. Even the nuts seemed to taste much better, basking in the aftertaste of the tea still on one's breath.

One resumed the session with still half a pot left to drink. The sweetness in the mouth after the sugared nuts masked the taste of sweet notes in the brew resulting in a woodiness, with camphor with a slight metallic tang.

As I drew more water the earthy mushroom aftertaste lingers and pleases one deeply.
The chaqi from the tea in one's body caused it to reach a breaking point at the start of the third session. It warmed under the cool breeze of a late summer morning almost to the point of sweating then retreated bringing a cool freshness to ones body and mind.

The forth infusion seemed to mellow out but not nearly as much as one's mind had. The taste contained sweeter notes that came out more reminiscent of plum, minty freshness is so slight, still mushroom like aftertaste. The mouthfeel is watery but drying, the tongue welcomes this dichotomy. The tea's energy is pushing one's body to feeling quite cool.

The fifth and sixth infusion pushed out more tangy, minty, metallic tastes. Overall there is a composition of tastes in this tea that are composed like a chief preparing a feast, each flavour playing a part in its whole. The qi causes one's body to become hot almost to the point of sweating before receding once more.

The seventh and eighth infusions it becomes apparent that the cool, earthy, metallic tastes are more prominent and evolve in ones mouth along with undertones of mushroom. The mouthfeel is changing only slightly, almost unnoticeable from infusion to infusion. The qi is slowing things down both physically and mentally. One's heart slows as one slips deeper into meditation with this tea.

A friend interrupted and asked if one had anything for an upset stomach. One sat them down for tea and we drank together.

Through the ninth, tenth, and eleventh infusions the mushroom taste recedes even more as the metallic tang seems to now dominate with undertones of wood, maybe camphor. The mouthfeel had become more smooth, silkier.

One's friend's stomach problem was balanced by the calm qi of this tea. There was no more uncomfort or pain. And although this tea session could have lasted many more infusions, after three hours of drinking tea it was time to bring it to a close and take advantage of this wonderful day. One prepared the tea for a session tomorrow, floating from the tea one went for a walk with a good friend.



Anonymous said...
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toki said...

I am amaze by your sensitivity to tea. You are amount a handful of "western" tea drinkers I've known to acquire this kind "awakening". Hope faith will bring us together face to face, either there or here. Cheers - T

btw, sorry, but this sample I don't think will last that long.... : P

~ Phyll said...

If my guess is right, that's Toki's own Yiwu, which he produced.

Matt said...


Although one can experience the sensitives and elements of tea in the moment, these undeniable affects are experienced first hand, one sometimes has problems with discerning the actual flavour of the tea. This requires the brain to recall and compare memories and tastes of the past stored in our long term memory banks thereby bringing one out of the present moment, something one does care to do much of when drinking tea.

One is sure we will drink tea together soon.

You still didn't mention what tea it is. Is Phyll's guess the right one?


toki said...

Matt - I choose this as our first tea, because this is how we connected: http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/2008/02/happy-new-year-of-lucky-micky.html

Kindly accept my apology for letting you ponder for fifth days or perhaps since the beginning of this year? : ) cheers Toki

ginkgo said...

the color of the liquor is a beautifull dark yellow .
very interesting to read your commnent.

Matt said...


It seems like things have come full circle. How appropriate that we shared this tea. It was quite interesting to be able to follow the links back.

This tea was the first that one had commented about on your blog( http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/2008/02/happy-new-year-of-lucky-micky.html ). In the comment we discuss the topic of qi. It is interesting that the powerful qi in this 999 Limited Edition from Menghai was also mentioned at the Puerh Community Livejournal. It is also interesting that we discuss what happens to this tea as it sits overnight. You also mentioned the prolonged experience with the Aged Wuyi Old Tea Tree SX, perhaps a tea similar in character to the tea Phyll had just stretched recently on his blog (http://phyllsheng.blogspot.com/2008/09/marathon-has-ended.html ).


It's even more eerie that you mentioned the colour of the brew. The same thing that was discussed months ago on Toki's post. This shot is of the first infusion.

The mystery of the Tao
The cycle of life spins
One drinks tea