Monday, December 2, 2013

Tea for Canadian Winters and a Tasting of 2013 Makaibari FTGFOP 1S CH - Organic Second Flush Darjeeling‏

It is cold here on the prairies and little is more satisfying than a good hardy 2nd Flush Darjeeling to start the day.  The touch of aged oolong and many decades aged puerh is also a real treat for this time of year.  One pounded through a self-re-roasted 15ish years oolong over the last few months.  There is little aged oolong left in the old tea cupboard.  What is left is all still of unknown quality in its original Taiwanese signature vacuum packaging- a tea post for another day, no doubt.  Old puerh tea is set aside for slow gong fu like enjoyment- not economically practical for everyday enjoyment.  So often Second Flush Darjeeling becomes a real staple.

The following was a favorite of the 2013s after sampling tons from Lochan Tea...

Dry leaves smell of strong deep very sweet fruit odours.

The first pot is that of sweet distinctly raisin tastes. These tastes are very clean and leave a fresh aftertaste in the throat. The mouthfeel is stimulated and felt in the upper and mid throat as a slight raisiny-menthol lingers there. The sensation pushes a pool of saliva to the mid throat.

The second is more strong and robust in taste it carries a balance of deeper very light bitter raison tastes slightly more dominant than sweeter lighter tastes. The overall taste is quite clean though. The mouthfeel is heavier in the mouth and ends nice and sticky. The aftertaste has a bitter deep barely menthol taste. The qi is light and gently moves throughout the body and mind.

Third has deep raison light bitters dominating with still a light fruity edge. The mouthfeel continues in the throat and is still light but stimulating. The aftertaste is of deep grape tastes. This tea is very clean, bright, deep, nice.

When one went to order this tea it was all but sold out.  Ended up settling with another Second Flush that has proven marvelous over many different brewing perimeters.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event Beta (2013 Yunnan Sourcing Yinxiang)

This is another tasting from the Yunnan Sourcing/ Half-Dipper Tasting Event that was held so so long ago...

The dry leaves are a mix of whites, browns, greens, light and dark. They emit an odour of creamy, rich, sweet fruity notes with a fluffy penetrating odour.

First infusion tastes of sweet creamy full tastes flaked by strong smoky odours. There is an underlying juicy fruity taste. The mouthfeel is full in the front mouth and gives off mainly a smokey aftertaste with some plumy notes hiding under.

The second infusion tastes of sweet pear and plumb. There are still smoky tastes but they linger more in the back throat. The taste is a bit flat and bland saliva pools just slightly in the upper throat even though not much of a throatfeel is noticed.

The third infusion is a mild, slight flat but nicely fruity taste of sweet plumbs and distant florals. The sweet taste hogs much of the profile despite its slightly monotone taste. The dominating fruity taste echos in the mouth minutes later.

The fourth infusion is much the same with long monotone sweet fruity notes. There is still some smoke in there as well. Now woody notes pop up there and the mouthfeel becomes slightly drier. The fruit tastes become clearer in the aftertaste which now shares room with light woody tastes.

In the sixth infusion offers nice fruity tastes with still that same base of smoke. The fruit tastes become more tropical in the aftertaste bananas and papaya tastes.

The seventh is sweet, slightly spicy, but mainly light and fruity. There is a slight woody base and slightly expanse aftertaste.

Guess: Forgot to write guess in tasting notes
Actual: 2013 Yinxiang (it seems to be currently unavailable)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event Nu (2013 Yunnan Sourcing Jingmaishan )

 One revisits this sample now after about a month.  This is another late entery from the Yunnan Sourcing Half-Dipper Tasting Event...

The larger darker coloured dry leaves smell of mild distant foresty pungent notes.
The first infusion pours a brown yellow and tastes of thick, muddled forest mushroomy notes. There is a sweet wild flowery edge and a taste of slight spice and even a slight creamy sweetness. The creamy sweet taste comes last and expands in the upper throat. It lingers minutes after.

The second infusion has tastes of soupy, woody, mixed mushroom in its initial presentation. These are slight bitter and sour note at first but dissipate slowly throughout the profile. These tastes then expand into sweeter florals and heavier creamy sweetness. The mouthfeel is full and paints the mouth in sticky, thick coating which reaches into the mid throat. It is here where a heavy creamy sweet taste is left in the mouth. The qi is felt mainly in the chest as ones respiration subtly adjusts and the mind becomes light.

The third infusion has ripe, heavy, distinctly fruity edges which present first with lots of depth. It follows some thick depth before a slight minty edge in there as well found in the throat. The aftertaste is heavy ripe fruits that feel thick with the full heavy mouthfeel.

The fourth comes with bitter tastes that over whelm the heavy fruity base. A nectar taste is left in the mouth stuck to the heavier mouthfeel. There is now a deep foresty-woody base that is revealed. A slight cooling mint taste shows briefly in the throat. The sweet heavy fruit taste is left in the aftertaste minutes later. The qi is powerful especially on the mind- it feels great.

The fifth is a woody, bitter, barely fruity taste. It has a grittier forest profile that plays out nicely. Only a very slight sweet floral is left behind in the aftertaste.

In the sixth infusion is much the same as the fifth mainly just bitter flat woody forest taste.

In the seventh and eighth there is a taste of fruits in a bitter, woody-forest base. The menthol-mint taste still shows although much more muddled now. The menthol taste is deep and seems to open up the chest as it echoes in the throat even minutes later.

Guess: 2013 Wa Long  ???

Actual: 2013 Jing Mai

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event Mu (2013 Yunnan Sourcing Nan Po Zhai)

This is another blind tasting in the long over Half Dipper/ Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event.

The large dry leaves smell of very sour-sweet smelling florals there is a citrus like grapefruit odour in them as well. A very light pungent odour lingers underneath.

First infusion has light bitter-sour slight grainy tastes. It has a grainy sour aftertaste which turns slightly floral minutes later. The sour taste lingers in the mouth. The cooling sensation in the upper throat is subtle.

The second infusion is a light sour-citrus-floral tasting affair. It has a slight floral, grapefruit, and slight peanut aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick and opening and slightly touches the upper throat.

The third infusion carries a taste of bitter-sour but overall pretty light blandish tastes. Their is a long lingering taste of sour-citrus-florals a very slight nutty taste hangs on. The feel continues to be slightly grainy in the mouth. A certain sour-fruity sickiness coats the mouth.

The fourth infusion the sour-bitters calm down just a touch and the more floral-lime qualities start to emerge.

The fifth and sixth are more bland but with a wider breadth of floral tastes which linger in the mouth. The qi is quiet, hitting the stomach mildly. The mind is quietly alerted. There is a slight light penetrating coolness that reaches deeper into the throat.

The seventh is mild tasting with a nice breadth of simple floral tastes over muted bitter and bland tastes.

Guess: This tea doesn't represent the best of any mountain. It is reminiscent of Lincang, area. Still cannot nail down which cake is most likely???

Actual: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing Nan Po Zhai

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Tasting Event Lambda (2013 Yunnan Sourcing Feng Chun)

This is a continuation of a blind tasting of an event hosted by Hobbes of The Half-Dipper...

The dry leaves sour, sweet, creamy, slightly pungent odours. An interesting sweet mix of odours with a definite sweet undertone and lots going on.

The first infusion is watery, a touch sweet, and slightly grainy-nutty. The taste is a interesting, soft mix of tastes which accumulates into a sweet, slightly sour, slightly creamy floral taste. The mouthfeel is somewhat thick, chalky, and pasty in the mouth and upper throat. A creamy, floral taste lingers minutes later.

The second infusion has a initial taste of mainly nutty, barely wood tastes with a current of sweet, creamy florals which expand in the mouth within seconds. A creamy, nutty, barely floral slight sweetness is left in the throat. The mouthfeel is full, sticky, creamy, mainly on the tongue and in the mouth but also noticeable in the upper-mid throat. The qi nicely shoots throughout the body, its raw energy beats at the digestion slightly.

The third infusion is again mainly nutty-woody but also slightly sweet. It expands into a sour creamy floral taste. The sour drops off leaving just slight edges with more clear creamy floral. The mouthfeel is now turning slightly dry now, the mid-upper throatfeel is more obvious now. There is a noticeable smoky undertone.

The fourth is slightly more coarse with an initial taste of woody-nutty-dry-florals. It has a slight citrus edge, the mouthfeel continues to be strong and now caries a slight fruity-sour sweet taste which stays in the throat.

The fifth infusion has a sour sweet taste with an edge of florals initially. The woody-nutty taste is pushed out. There is a slight surgary-flower taste in the aftertaste now.

The sixth and seventh display more floral and sweet notes- a longer infusion pushes more bitter out as well.

Guess: Best guess is the profile of Lincang but sometimes this taste is a little Wu Yi.  My first guess is 2013 Yunnan Sourcing "San Ke Shu"?

Actual: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing "Feng Chun".  Looking back, at the notes its becomes more obvious that it is a blend, as there is lots going on in each infusion.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Event: Iota (2013 Yunnan Sourcing Mang Fei)

This is a rather late, but still very blind, tasting of Yunnan Sourcing"Iota".

Dry leaves smell of a raw, heavy sweet, perfumy-mushroom odour which displays lots of depth.

First has a robust, distinctly nutty peanut butter taste. It tastes almost like peanut brittle, an interesting taste. It finishes with still a nutty odour and taste. This first infusion is quite uniform. It only offers a touch of stimulation to the front of the mouth.

The second infusion is much the same sweet peanut taste. There is a dry wood bark taste underneath it all. The tongue feels slightly dry from this tea.

The third infusion has muted florals under that distinct nutty flavour. The florals are barely noticeable and the nutty flavour has a tone of dry wood like last infusion.

The fourth infusion is again much the same, a bit flatter now and less nutty. The qi is of a mild type and the mouth feel gives the tongue a gentle grainy stimulation.

The fifth is more blandy-woody-nutty-grainy tastes it has lost most of its sweet taste and is instead a monotone tasting affair.

These simple, yummy peanuty tastes continued throughout the following infusions.

Guess: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing Jing Mai? It's primarily nutty flavour suggests this region is an outside possibility.

Actual: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing Mang Fei


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2013 ZeDa Wild Jiri Moutain Korean Yellow Tea

This tea from Good Green Tea has been an Autumn staple over the last few years. To read more about the traditional and all natural process that this tea goes through please see these posts here and here. On this fall day the water boils...

The first infusion delivers a fine apricot sweetness followed up by a cinnamon-persimmon taste which lingers in the mouth. This first infusion is light, sweet, clean, and fruity. It has a lingering aftertaste of spicy, vibrant apricot pie. MMMmmm... The qi is nice and warming in the body, flushing the face slightly and imparting a subtle warm lightness in the body.

The second infusion is full of warm, sweet tastes. Apricots approach first then a nice sweet woody taste is explored. The mouthfeel is watery and a bit fuzzy on the tongue. It creates a light stimulation on the cheeks and at the back of the throat.

The third infusion has a sweet pumpkin-spice taste with a distinct undercurrent of sweet milky-bready coco. The taste is expansive and yummy. There are many nuances to the flavour in this infusion all within a stereotypcially soft balhyocaha mouthfeel.

The fourth is a sweet, fruity, woody affair with a subtle coco aftertaste on the breathe. The mouthfeel is stronger on the tongue now but still quite soft.

Currently one is on the fifth infusion and things are still quite enjoyable.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Teafarm: Canadian Tea Garden, Sochi Russian Tea Plants

Before leaving Vancouver Island there had to be a visit to Canada's only tea garden, Teafarm. This tea farm is one of the Northern most in the world and one of the first in Canada (wonder what ever happened to this one?). Located in Vancouver Island's Cowichan Valley it is at the center of the Cittaslow movement in Canada. Cowichan Valley is a location that combines the slow pace of island life and the Islanders value of food and tea culture- it feels like the perfect place for a tea shop and garden.

Tea Farm's owners, Margrit and Victor, decided in 2010 to devote their time entirely to tea. They primarily offer herbal teas and blends many of which contain ingredients from their farm. One first met them at the 2011 Victoria Tea Festival. It was there where the first spoke of their challenges to find a tea plant hardy enough to withstand the Winter conditions. After much research they decided on a variety of Camellia sinensis found around Sochi Russia. This variety famously known in Russia for the Krasnodar Tea which is produced from its leaves has proven to be the right balance of taste and hardiness. It turned out that deer (that are a daily sight even in Victoria) turned out to be more dangerous than the elements. This year they nearly wiped out the small, unprotected tea garden in one night.

Even though Teafarm is most famous for these Camellia sinensis tea plants, the garden is more of just a marketing gimmick or research project right now. All of the Camellia sinensis tea you see in the store for sale is actually imported. The amount of tea plants are so few that the plants would only produce about 300g of tea in total for the year. Even this, the tea plants have not even been used to make tea yet because they had not had their 3-5 years of initial growth. The whole topic is an interesting topic of conversation anyways.

People come for the laid back tea drinking atmosphere, Margrit's unique tea pottery, and Victors charm. It was a very enjoyable and scenic morning that day. Being engulfed with good friends surrounded in nature is what sharing tea is all about. This is most definitely a place for that.


Friday, September 6, 2013

The Most Famous Tea House in Canada Right Now

On August 17 there was an opening of an extraordinary Chinese tea house in Toronto.  It is most definitely not your normal everyday tea house.  Some call it a puerh tea house.  It quite literally is!

It's the world's most influential contemporary artists, Ai Weiwei's art installation Teahouse (2009) showing at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

See here:

The piece consists of a house constructed of four hundred 20cm cubes of puerh tea!  Then it is all surrounded by loose leaf tea (mao cha?).  A friend who experienced the exhibition said the smell was maybe the best part.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yunnan Sourcing Event: Theta (2012 Yunnan Sourcing Xiang Ming)

For the month of July one fell off the tea blogging world and into the world of moving a life to a different region of the country. During this time no tea blogs were read. This happens to work out quite nicely because the blind tea tastings called "the Yunnan Sourcing Event" put on by Hobbes of The Half-Dipper was not spoiled. Over the next month expect an onslaught of blind puerh tastings from this event.

The dry leaves smell of very deep rich forest. There are creamy-sweet and salty odours that emit from the leaves they are piercing enough to leave a pleasant tickle in the nose. The smells are deep, fresh, and very foresty.

The first infusion is light with a very soft frosty-sugary initial taste and a light nutty-grain forest base resting underneath. The aftertaste drifts into sweeter, white sugar with delicate very light florals. The mouthfeel is thin and is felt mainly on the tongue.

The second is a much more balanced affair with surgry-creamy sweet notes mixing with deeper forest notes in the initial taste. The flavour is light and ends is a candy sweetness that tastes like rock candy but is teathered down by deeper but still light forest tastes. These tastes fill the tongue and mouth only touching a bit in the upper throat but leaving a light sweetness there. The qi is also fine and light. It pools in the stomach slightly making it somewhat heavy and distended.

The third infusion delivers a grainy slightly flat tasting initial taste. It finishes with a soapy-foresty, slightly rubbery sweetness. It is actually like a light edge of sweetness surrounded by these deeper tastes. The feeling is still mainly residing in the mouth. The mind explodes with jittery energy now and the distended stomach feeling disappears- the qi feels nice here.

In the fourth infusion is a thicker, soupier, slightly grassy-grainy, more bound together taste. Most of its sweetness is gone and just shows very light edges in the aftertaste. Its taste is simple, somewhat bland, deeper, gainy-grassy. There is a soapy-deep flowery notes that passes quickly between the initial- and aftertastes. A slight grainy-soapy-flat floral taste lingers a minute later.

The fifth infusion is a slightly heavy, slightly flat bitter sweetness. It has a woody-forest base which is strong, a slight bitter as well. Lighter notes drowned under the heavy taste and only share a small, unnoticeable edge in the aftertaste.

The sixth infusion delivers a mix of muted-sugary-bitter sweetness over a bland wood-forest base. The mainly bitter and barely sweet edge stays in the mouth minutes later.

The seventh is much of the same but carries a subtle smooth pear fruit taste in there as well. It is predominantly this bitter, foresty, barely sweet taste though.

Guess: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing Ai Lao- because of its lack of bitterness, slight floral nose and mainly Si Mao/ Jinggu base taste.
Actual: 2013 Yunnan Sourcing Xiang Ming


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Kim Jong Yeol (Butea) Saejak Hwagae Valley Green Tea‏

This tea comes from good ol' Pedro from O5tea this Kim Jung Yeol (Butea) saejak has become a seasonal favorite throughout the years.  The dark and pale mix of green leaves smell of evergreen and minty sweet freshness. The leaves have a frosty sweet smell to them.

The first infusion delivers a creamy-smooth foresty evergreen taste. The mouthfeel and throat feel are expansive and spread a cool slightly menthol-mint taste across a light foresty-green base. A sugary taste is hung up in the teeth.

The second is a touch more foresty but brisk and fresh tasting. More of a greeny edge appears now, the slight cool aftertaste remains. It has a subtle forest depth with some frosty sweet notes pinned between. The mouthfeel is full and paints the mouth in a soft fuzzy coating.

The third has a rich, deep, velvety-forest-green taste. It is crisp and frosty sweet taste which coats the mouth. It has a deep long, forest taste.

The fourth contains deep foresty tastes with a slight woody edge now. The depth of the forest is noticeable the frosty sweetness is pushed to the edges of the taste profile. The mouthfeel remains full.

This tea leaves the mind alert and vibrant. Certainly enough vigor for this late in the afternoon. So the session ends there although it could easily go a few more infusions.