Monday, April 2, 2007

Lao Tong Zhi and Lao Cong Shuixian

Again, I'm trying these teas thanks to Salsero. The first is a laocong shuixian from Dragon Teahouse. I tried this tea yesterday, but being the procrastinator I am, I didn't post it until now. For this tea, I tried getting serious about the ratio of crushed to whole leaves. I separated the two, and created about 20% of crushed leaves.

I used 12g of leaves in a pot, and added the crushed leaves to the middle. After a rinse, I brewed it for 30s, 30s, 90s.

This tea only got one and a half good infusions. I think that the crushed leaves caused that. I need to try the tea again without crushed leaves to get a better idea of the tea, but for now, this is just a tasting note of the one strong infusion.

The flavor of the tea is pretty much just a sweet ripe fruit flavor with a light roasty flavor. The aftertaste goes from a slightly stronger toasty flavor, to an even stronger version of the initial taste.

After trying this tea, I think I now know what it means to have a monotone aftertaste. After I first tried the dahongpao from YSLLC, I was told that it had a monotone aftertaste (I think it was Kibi who said that). I was new to oolongs at the time, so I had no clue what that meant. All I knew is that the aftertaste was unlike anything I've experienced before. This tea is just like that one. Lightly fired, and leaves a strong aftertaste that is just a stronger version of the initial taste. It might not be a very interesting tea, but it's at least an enjoyable one. :) I will post new tasting notes when I try it again.

After summoning the courage, I decided to try the '06 Haiwan Lao Tong Zhi beeng. This tea seems to have a reputation as having an excellent aging potential. So, 7g will be good for learning what to look for, and hopefully the rest of the beeng will be good for aging.

I used 7g of leaf in a gaiwan, and after a rinse, I brewed it for: 15s, 15s, 30s, 60s, 120s.
I wrote descriptions about each infusion, but after each infusion, I found it harder and harder to describe the tea. So, I decided to just summarize it.

The dry leaves have a strong smoky aroma, and that strong smokiness is present in each infusion. After the second infusion, it became a cigar smoke taste. It also had the usual floral, and vegetal taste, and even had some fruitiness in the first infusion. There were also other flavors that started coming out in the later infusions, but I fail to describe them. This tea also left a very intersting aftertaste. The first two left a mellow sweetness, and the later infusions left a strong aftertaste with so many changing flavors.

So this is what an age able tea should taste like. It's not as bitter and harsh as I was expecting. The first infusion was actually kinda sweet, but progressively got stronger and harsher. Overall, I have no doubts about the aging potential, and I'm really curious how this one will age.

And soon enough, I'll have the answer to the lack of humidity. I ordered an analog hygrometer, and a gel humidifier. All I need to do is build a box out of wood to store it in, and I'll have a puerh humidor. :)


Salsero said...

I used 8 g of shuixian leaf and got a more intense experience, but essentially similar to yours (though my notes are not as well thought out as yours). Fruit, roasted taste, astringency balanced in various ways against each other, but none lasting much beyond the first 2 infusions. I went out to a sixth infusion and got sweet water, which was interesting, but not good tea.

I especially enjoyed your discussion of the aftertaste issue. I noticed and enjoyed an aftertaste, but felt something lacking. I think you've identified the issue: some aftertastes are complex, others monotone. Well, some is better than none!

I enjoyed your observations about the Haiwan beeng which I have not yet tried. I have a real reluctance to break cakes or bricks. Guess I'll have to overcome that.

Warden said...

I know what you mean. I wanted to leave it in one piece, even if it meant that I never got to try it young, but what I could learn from it got me to break some off. From what I learned from it, I think it was worth it.

Salsero said...

Of course it's worth it. My attitude is just wrong and I freely admit it. What's the point of tea if you don't drink it. My reluctance to break them or take some off is sick, sick, sick!