Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sample # 2 From Thomas at Tuo Cha Tea

The smell of buttery dry leaves and faint characteristic puerh fill the air. These dry leaves are a mixture of hairy tips mixed with stems and dark brownish whole leaves.

These leaves conjure up a liquor that is a hazy orangey-yellow. The first sip introduces one to a nice balance between soft spicy floral notes, subtle fruity notes, a caramel sweetness, and light bitter and astringency. This flavour is complex, searching for it one looses oneself on the tongue.

This tea appropriately stimulates the tongue and throat as it makes its way into the stomach leaving a cool, fresh, sweet, subtly spicy aftertaste behind. The aftertaste is full and especially nice.

As this tea cycles through infusion after infusion, one ascertains that the fruity taste is akin to melon or maybe peach.

This tea's energy is unforgiving. It hits the guts and stomach excessively hard even when small amounts of tea are used. The energy of this tea pools in the throat and in the lower abdomen. Every time this tea was consumed it left ones throat feeling as if it was constricted by an invisible boa. Phlegm seemed to stagnate there for the remainder of the day.

Consequently, this tea has lots of stamina and can be brewed for several days. In fact, although still a bit harsh, it is best enjoyed on the second day. This tea is made for aging as strong energies require mellowing.

Thanks again Thomas.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chung Jung Ho Tea Bowl Style

This bowl is a Chung Jung Ho or Big Edo style tea bowl. This style of bowl differs from the Jung Ho (Edo) style in only its size and shape. Big Edo tea bowls are noticeably larger than Edo bowls, forgoing a bit of their soft gracefulness for sturdy grandioseness. When cupping the Big Edo bowl in one's hands it relays a sense of empowerment.

The other difference is its shape. The side body of Big Edo style tea bowls display a steeper incline than Edo style bowls. This effect makes this bowl less subtle than Edo style bowls. Consequently, when one drinks from a Big Edo bowl the tea embraces the mouth less gracefully and slightly more forcefully due to this difference.

This bowl pictured is a wonderful Big Edo style piece by ceramic master Jung Jum Gyo.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Shin Hyun Churl's Ten Cup Tea Pot

This pot is a beautiful giant. It displays many of the signatures of a typical Shin Hyun Churl work only in epic proportions. Viewing the glazing on the large side body is almost like looking at a beautiful work of art hung on the wall. One almost feels as though one is staring at a work of art within a work of art. Never had one seen a tea pot so big yet so beautiful before. Removing the heavy lid is like lifting a small teapot in and of itself. Wrapping ones whole hand around its large stable handle feels like pouring a pitcher of ale. The sight and feel of it left one with the impression that this pot wasn't made for use but more to just enjoy for its artistic value. This piece oozes with atheistic beauty, but all beauty aside, how could one ever leave a teapot thirsting for tea?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kind Simplicity: A Tasting Of 2008 Red Box Ddok Cha

One received this tea as a gift from a friend who received it from another as a gift. He knew absolutely nothing about this tea except that it was traditional style ddok cha. He said that it probably came from the Jiri mountain area but even that was just mere speculation. The only thing that one knows for sure is that it came with kindness in a red box.

Opening the red box and removing the thin white rice paper which veils its contents below reveals a strong smell of slightly medicinal spicy cinnamon and two long quaint rows of tiny coin-shaped ddok cha cakes all individually rapped in rice paper. The scent of anything resembling tea is lost in the spicy blanket of odours. One takes up a single coin, unwraps it, breaks it into smaller chunks, and drops it into the bottom of the tea pot. Soon near boiling water embraces these pieces and the resulting infusion is poured into a serving pot then from a serving pot into small ceramic cups.

This tea fills ones mouth with a simple, very watery, flat, sweet, clear cinnamon taste. This tea is probably the very opposite of complex and doesn't hardly change at all from infusion to infusion other than conjuring a bit more astringency. The faint aftertaste mirrors the initial taste- a testament to its simplicity.

When two cakes are added as opposed to just one this tea is much more enjoyable as a bit more astringency pushes this tea to a more complete, yet incomprehensibly simple, feeling and taste in one's mouth.

One basks in and gives thanks to this tea's uncut, transparency.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Tea Pot and Cup by Sel Young Jin

Natural and wild, this erabo tea pot and cup look like they could be newly excavated pieces dating back thousands of years. Sel Young Jin sure has a talent for producing wonderfully textured ceramics that intrigue the senses and the mind.

The pot feels wonderful in one's hands, gloss covering rocky earth. The feel of these works are not matched by the sheer exquisite look of the cracking glaze. The joints that connect the handle and spout of the pot are particularly wonderful as they exhibit a natural roughness and uncut beauty. The grey sandy clay found under and inside this pot is a perfect contrast and allows an unadulterated view at its earthy origins.


Monday, October 20, 2008

2008 Big Garden Company Organic Matcha

This tea is from an unspecified area of Japan. The shining tin claims that the matcha comes from very old organic tea bushes. This tea is most popular with the local monks making the trip into town. One was a bit curious why this inexpensive and lower quality matcha was so popular with these meditating monks.

One opens this double sealed, simple silver tin revealing a dark green powder. Stirred from its slumber, some small particles float out of the tin like fragrant smoke out of lit incense. The plume fills ones nostrils with a deep, rich, almond smell, with a lingering sweetness.

One prepares this matcha with the same reverence that one would afford the top grade matcha. It is smoothly whipped into a frothing, heady liquid, and consumed.
Tea trailing down the throat and into the stomach before radiating outward, this tea is good. Its taste is rich, smoky, a bit roasted with very little sweetness yet very little bitterness- perhaps a perfect trade off for flavour, which this tea is filled with.

It leaves a thick chalk on ones tongue as its unpretentious flavour and mouthfeel gives way to a touch of kind bitterness.

The energy is a bit strong on the stomach and lower internals, it lightens the head, clearing the mind. After drinking this tea with a headache the headache slowly slips into nothingness.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Look at Four Tea Pots by Song Ha

Number One

Number Two

Number Three

Number Four

These slick pots really play with light and dark while still evoking a feeling of naturalness. One can picture them reflecting what little light they can grasp in a deep eved, treed-in, dimly lit tea house. How wonderful that would be?

What do you think of these pots? Which is your fav?