Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green tea part II

For once I have fresh tea, and I'm actually writing tasting notes again. All of these teas are from teaspring, and are fresh 2011 teas.

Meng Ding Gan Lu is a personal favorite because it's a tea that usually has a strong aroma, and the flavor is fairly deep and sweet. The one from teaspring is no exception. It has a deep sweet flavor that seems to coat the tongue. A slight toastiness gives it a very subtle caramelized sugar flavor. The aroma of the dry leaves as I poured water in suggested a hint of smoke, but that's absent from the brewed tea.

Huo Shan Huang Ya is a yellow that I remember enjoying once, so I decided to give it another try. It's very similar to what I remember. It's a more roasted tea, especially for a tea as close to green tea as this. The roastiness is similar to a beany longjing. For what it is, it's a very enjoyable tea, though a bit one dimensional, and I still can't taste what makes yellow tea different from green tea. **emphasizes that it is enjoyable**

Yang Yan Gou Qing is a tea I've only ever seen on teaspring, and one that I can't pass up on when it comes out fresh. From what I remember, it has consistently been the most full flavored green out of all the teas I had at the time. Though first time I brewed it again, I was afraid that this year was not a good year for this tea because it was lackluster. When I brewed it again, I used more leaf, and was pleasantly surprised that it was just bad brewing initially. This one may actually be similar to green tieguanyin. The texture is very thick, and it tastes slightly buttery. However, The buttery flavor isn't overpowering like in a tieguanyin. It also has a strong vegetal flavor balances it out.

Wuyi Qu Hao is a tea I believe I tried once before because I was intrigued by the idea of a green from Wuyi. I also remember having higher hopes for it (perhaps because yancha come from Wuyi) but it was just an average green tea. My first attempt brewing this years qu hao solidified this idea. It seemed a touch bitter, and was strongly piney, and slightly smokey. Brewing it again at least showed how enjoyable it could be. It's still piney and smokey, but a sweeter green flavor came out too, giving it more balance.

This may be my first tea order where I haven't had one bad tea. I imagine I'll even be eager to brew the dust of these teas.

I also ordered some yancha from teaspring, but I feel it's too early to write serious tasting notes. Both are about two years old, and seem to have been re-roasted recently. It seems like it was re-roasted well, but the recent roast seems to overpower any tea flavor.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green tea

My taste for tea has finally come back, so maybe I'll blog about it! I recently got a few 2011 greens from and it has me getting back into the tea journey.

I don't exactly know why I'm blogging about this, but I guess it's better than talking to myself about tea. Whenever I get into something, I submerge myself in it trying to better understand it myself. My blog thus far is about my journey with tea, though lately I feel I got too hung up on certain details trying to perfect how I brew tea. I never believed that tea is inherently bad, it just needs to be brewed better, and appreciated for what it is (unless it's stale or abused in some way or another). So, I always focused on brewing, which I never quite got good at. I toyed with water and any and all parameters. It never quite got through to me that simplicity is best. This post is about how I brew green tea now.

I have a post about tea water not too far down the page that gets into unnecessary scientific words, and overall should just be deleted from this blog. If I had my word on tea water, it's to treat it simply, and always bring to a boil before cooling to the temperature needed. I just use filtered tap water, and I have a simple stainless steel kettle with a whistle that I boil water in. Since I almost always cool the water, I just dump boiled water from that into a ceramic kettle to cool it down. I don't use thermometers and I don't go by bubble size, I judge the water temperature by the steam. I leave the lid off until the steam gently wafts from the kettle. I found this to be the easiest and most convenient way to get the water to the right temperature without the use of a thermometer. I don't know what temperature it is, I just know it works. From there, I brew and drink tea in an un-preheated gaiwan with the lid off.

Now that talking out loud is done, I'll leave off here. I'll follow this up with a few tasting notes of the teas I'm currently drinking hopefully tomorrow.