Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tuocha, tuocha, and tuocha

'04 6FTM "Silver tips" tuocha
I wanted to make some more puerh, but I don't want to break any off the cakes I have aging, so I decided to finish the rest of this sample. My previous thoughts of this tea was that it would be a "drink it now" tea, so I'm going to try brewing it a little weaker than last time to try to get a more enjoyable tea.

I used 7g of leaf in a gaiwan, and after a quick rinse, I brewed it for 30s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 120s.

I noticed an aroma in the dry leaves I didn't notice last time. A very pleasant minty aroma. I don't think it's camphor or menthol. Something more like a light wintergreen?

1: The leaves in the heated gaiwan give off a slightly aged aroma, and the rinse brings that aroma out more. The tea has a slightly smoky aroma with the same minty aroma the dry leaves have. The tea is very smooth, mellow, and not very complex. It has a slightly smoky taste, and some camphor. I would have originally thought that this was still very young, but the smell of the leaves made me look for an aged flavor in the tea, which is barely noticeable. As the empty cup cools, it has that minty aroma.

2: Some complexity came out, and it now leaves a lingering floral aftertaste. Still has some smoky notes which smell like cigarette smoke in the aroma, but the taste is more of just campfire smoke. As the tea cools down, the minty aroma comes out.
3: The aroma is a stronger minty and smoky smell. More bitterness came out, but is followed by an equally strong sweetness. I think this is the first time noticing "qi."
4: The aroma is the same as last. More bitterness than flavor in this infusion. Considering that the leaves are very chopped up, it's not surprise that it's dying.
5: The mintiness dominates the aroma. Very strong bitterness.

It's better than I remember. I don't think it has enough in it to be stored long term, but a couple years of storage might improve the flavor.

After trying this tea, I decided to try the '01 yinhao tuocha again. It's one of the first puerhs I got, and one that I never wanted to try again until now. When I first tried it, I noticed a strong bitterness even when brewed fairly weak (compared to how I brew it now) and I mostly remember cigarette smoke. If smoke changes into camphor, then maybe this one had enough time for that to happen.

I used 7g of leaf in a gaiwan and after a rinse, I brewed it for 15s, 15s, end.
There are a lot of leaves covered in white hairs. After brewing, the leaves expanded to be barely any bigger than teabag fannings. I know, I know, I need to take pictures. Maybe someday I will be able to.

1: Aroma: lapsang puerh. Very strong smoky smell. Not cigarette smoke like I remember. The very chopped up leaves created a good amount of bitterness. The taste of this tea reminds me of stale green tea. Mostly stale green tea, and smoke.
2: I'm going to stop it here. Very bitter, and is just a smoky, stale, bitter green tea.

Terrible. It tastes more like a 6 year old green tea with a strong smokiness rather than puerh. No wonder why they were only about 3 dollars.

I guess while I'm trying tuochas, I'll try the last one in my collection: '05 teji Nanjian tuocha. This is the first raw puerh I've ever tried, and because I liked it so much when I first tried it, I bought 5 more. I broke two of them into loose tea to see how loose compares to compressed. This review is leaves from a compressed tuo.

I used 7g of leaf in a gaiwan, and after a rinse, I brewed it for 30s, 15s, 30s, 45s, end.
The aroma of the dry leaf is smoky, woody, and perhaps some berry?
1: The aroma is smoky, and woody. The taste is the same as the aroma. I'm no longer doubting that I smelled berry in the dry leaves, because berry comes out in the aftertaste.
2: Very interesting, but bitter. Starts woody, smoky, vegetal, and some other things I can't describe, and then ends with a sweet, berry flavor.
3: More bitterness than flavor, but a smokiness comes out in the aftertaste.
4: Bitterness decreased, and so did flavor.

Maybe it might be more enjoyable in a couple years. This is another one that I don't think will be able to be stored long term, but might still improve a bit.

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