Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dragon Tea House Dahongpao

The first tasting notes with pictures!
9g of leaf in a 13cl pot. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 20s, 45s.
Dry leaf aroma: Just a roasty aroma.
Wet leaf aroma: Roast and malt.

1: As the tea was cooling a bit, I got a strong whiff of cigar smoke. Checking to see if it came from the tea, I noticed the faintest smell of smoke in the tea. Tasting it, it's very smooth and mellow. Roast and malt combines to make the mellow and lightly sweet tea. Even with the strong roast, a strong aftertaste similar to dancong still manages to come out.

2: Some cream and spice came out.

3: Note to self: 20 seconds is too short.

4: 45 seconds is too short.

Spent leaves:

Even with the strong roast, the leaves are still quite green.

The pictures actually turned out to be very helpful. I haven't taken pictures of all the infusions before, so I never knew if the color of each infusion was consistent or not. The first two infusions have almost the same color, but the third is much lighter in color. If I took pictures of the other one, it probably would have been more consistent with the third infusion.

As for the tea, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tea. For 9 dollars, I wasn't expecting the tea to be as good as it was.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Random Title

I got sick of seeing the error message at the top of my blog, so I guess I should finish this one. This is one that I wrote before I started taking pictures, but I'll get some pictures up when I try these teas again.

'00 Dragon and phoenix tuocha
Yesterday, while trying to find room in the large cardboard box to put the newly acquired sheng, I pulled this one out. Since it was starting to get cramped in that box, I figured that the smell of this one would negatively affect the smell of the other tea right next to it. So, this tea was out in the open when I was deciding on the first tea of the day.

6g in 10cl shu pot. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s.
Dry leaf: Very light and airy damp smell with some camphor.
Wet leaf: More earthy and damp.
The tight compression makes a light tea untill around the fifth infusion. The tea has a camphor and a damp earthy aroma. The taste is a smooth and mellow damp and earthy taste. There is a little leafiness or grassiness that suggests that it's not very old. As this tea progresses throughout the infusions, the chunk gets looser and looser. And as it get looser, a woody flavor comes out to balance the damp flavors. As you can see from the the parameters, this one has good durability. Although, I think the tight compression of the chunk makes it only seem like it got that many infusions. The strongest infusion was around the fifth infusion, rather than the second or third.

Overall, it's had enough time to mellow, but I think it still needs more time. Hopefully dry storage will lessen the damp flavors overtime.

This is another tea courtesy of Salsero. It came in the usual ziplock bags that Yunnan Sourcing ships tea, and was labeled "dianhong." After trying this tea, I found out from Salero that it's the "aged just enough" 2005 one.

7g in a 10cl gaiwan. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 60s.
I've tried this tea once before, but I don't think my sense of taste was good enough to enjoy the tea, let along write tasting notes. I remember it having a really odd aroma, and a very cloudy and thick liquor. Because of my dislike of red teas, and from what I remember, I don't have very high expectations for this tea.

The aroma of the leaves is unlike any other Yunnan red tea I've tried (not that I've tried many). The only familiar aroma is "pepper." Other than that, it's hard to describe. It's kinda sour, and possibly "earthy?"

Pouring this tea, it appears very thick and cloudy. In the cup, it's almost as dark as shu. Taking a sip, I realize just how wrong it was to have such low expectations for this tea. The mouthfeel of this tea is very smooth, and mellow. The flavor was a bit sour, but I noticed more familiar characteristics of dianhong in the actual tea. Pepper, fruit and malt or carmalized sugar. I still can't describe half of the tea, but it's what makes this one more interesting and enjoyable than any of the other ones I've tried.

This tea was just what I needed to develop an interest in red teas again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A little warning.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Still have reviews that I need to finish...

Monday, June 18, 2007

'06 Haiwan "mavin" shu

Some quick notes before I put this one off like the others.

'06 Haiwan mavin
I'm not sure if this one is a laotongzhi, or mavin. The english side says mavin, and the Chinese side has the same characters as the ones on the laotongzhi beeng.

7g in a 10cl pot. Rinse, 20s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 60s, untimed.
Dry leaf aroma: While breaking a piece off the brick, I thought it had a musty earthy smell, and a camphor smell. Is that possible? Once in the pot, it had a compost and malty smell (without the sweetness).
Wetleaf aroma: The malty became a little sweeter. Compost is still present, and now woody comes out.

1: Maybe I wasn't wrong to think it smelled like camphor. There actually is a somewhat strong camphor aroma. It's thick and smooth, but there isn't much flavor. Mostly compost and cream.
2: Ripe fruit, cream, spice, and is now more "earthy." It's very similar to Adagio's "puerh dante."
3: Sweeter and maltier. Creamy seems persistent, and compost gave up.
4: Even sweeter.
5: Same. Dying.
6: dead

I'm sure some of the descriptions I used will make anyone think this is a nasty tea. Actually, I really enjoyed it. No serious off-flavors, and is very smooth.


I still have a few unfinished posts that I need to finish before posting, but I have something I could post in the meantime.

First, guess what kind of tea this is.

And, a picture of my yixing collection.
Top (left to right): Lapsang souchong, Retired lapsang pot, shu.
bottom: High fire oolong, Tieguanyin, Sheng, Dancong (and light oolong).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Can it be?

A new post? I guess it's about time to post these notes. I recently made a couple orders from, so I have several teas to write tasting notes about. The problem is, I've been rather lazy about posting notes. I have saved several unfinished notes that I'm finally posting, and I must ask for forgiveness for the poorly written notes. Hopefully I will get into a habit of posting the notes as I try the teas, rather than putting it off.

Let's start with '06 Nanqiao 753 sheng. The first couple times trying this tea, I was suspicious of green tea being mixed in here. So, I tried it several times to figure out whether or not that's true. I still don't know if there is green tea mixed in or not, but I bought a second beeng anyway.

4.5g in 8 cl pot. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 15s, 30s, 30s, 45s, 60s.
Dry leaf aroma: Honey and floral. Smells very sweet.
Wet leaf: Some cigarette smoke came out.

1: There is a pleasant campfire smoke aroma with a slight mintiness. Some woodiness, and other flavors I can't describe. Maybe lightly roasted barley? Surprisingly, the aftertaste is devoid of astringency. Maybe my brewing is finally improving, or this tea is just more forgiving.
2: Even more campfire smoke. Some bitterness came out, but it's balanced with a sweetness.

After those infusions, I didn't notice much change, besides a much stronger bitterness and astringency. It's likely that my brewing is pulling out the bitterness, but I still have suspicion that there is green tea in there because of the bitterness in the later infusions. Green tea or no green tea, it's damn good. I hope it's not green tea so I can age the second beeng, but I wouldn't mind drinking them now.

'05 Jingmai "old wild tree"
This is the second time trying this tea, so maybe I'll be able to get a better idea of it this time. Yesterday, I tried the tea with what was loose in the wrapper. The cake has many dents in the sides, so there was a lot of loose leaves. I thought that it started out very smooth, and honey-like. Around the third infusion, I noticed that stale cigarette smoke came out.

This time, I broke off a 4.5g chunk, and brewed it in the 8 cl pot. Rinse, 15s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 45s, and one infusion that was poured when the pot dried completely.

Leaf aroma: I guess I forgot to write down the aroma when I was trying the tea. I only remember cigarette smoke and some fruit.
1: cigarette smoke, honey, wood, fruit, and it seems almost roasted.
2: Still Sweet, but now with a bitter edge.
3: Sweetness is mostly canceled out by a light bitterness.
4: This infusion was just a brewing test. Came out light.
5: Skip the 30 seconds, and go directly to 45s. There is a weird grassiness, or leafiness came out. I've been noticing lately that this flavor is common in teas that are a few years old. I wonder if the means that this tea is just starting to enter the transitional period.
6: Eh.

Overall, not that bad. Although, I would probably rather wait several years than drink it now.

'05 Jinzhen "South of Cloud" shu
This tea is baffling me. I have brewed it several ways, and each turned out different.

First time, I used 5 grams of loose tea found in the wrapper in a 35cl mug. It was brewed loose in the mug. The smell of this tea seemed to be missing the sweetness of other shus. The smell is more outdoorsy. Woody, dirt, and possibly forest floor? No sweet molasses or malt, like I've heard shu being described as (I personally don't know how to describe it).
Then, I tried it using 7g in a 10cl pot. Rinse, and 15s, 20s, etc... I don't remember the times. The tea didn't come out very smooth or pleasant.
Then, after nearly a weak of airing out, I tried it again, this time with only 6 grams. It came out light, but I at least got a better idea of the tea. From smelling the leaves, it seems airing it out improved it a bit. The first couple infusions came out decent. Then, a strong "pondy" flavor became noticeable. Maybe this tea needs more time than a few weeks of airing out.

Now for the part about it baffling me. The first time I tried it, I noticed a few small green leaves mixed in with some brown leaves. Then trying it with leaves broken off from the beeng, it was all black leaves. Then trying it again today, it's green and brown again. I talked to Jogrebe about this, and he said that he didn't notice this in the one he got.