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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Overwhelmed with Tea

I've been pretty busy lately with the tea, and it's probably karma for venting about the tea ruts a while ago. But it's always better to have more tea than less tea, unless of course the tea in question is quickly perishable green tea. I recently met up with WY last Saturday, and we tried a wide range of different Oolong, mostly high roasted stuff, some Yancha, and an aged Baozhong. As always, I left with tons of samples of various high roasted TGY and Yancha (Thanks again!).

Soon afterward I became the latest to enjoy the Oolong Box Pass, courtesy of the folks over at Teachat. Some of the teas were things I wouldn't normally buy myself, but it's always nice to be part of a IRL tea drinking shindig, and it's a way for me to try to be as generous as others have been to me. Pay it forward is a way of thinking I strive to live by.

My order from Yunnan Sourcing also came on Saturday. I missed the mailman and he left me a "Sorry We Missed You" notice, which irked me, since I wouldn't get my package until Tuesday (because of Columbus Day). I am highly impatient, and I marched down to the Post Office at around 4:30 PM so I can grab my package when the carriers return back to the Post Office. I was scared for the worst, but luckily I returned home with a large package of four cakes/tuocha and 27 (!) samples.

I've tried all of the four cakes/toucha, and at this point I'm quite partial to the 7532 and the Xiaguan FT Baoyan Tuocha. I'm kind of disappointed in how "weak" the 2008 Xiaguan FT Instant Sensation is, but maybe I need more leaf. It's enjoyable to drink, but I was expecting something with a little more kick ... especially since it's a chopped factory cake. I've been thinking about how to tackle the samples, and I've decided to tackle these samples by region, starting with Bu Lang and Lin Cang. So far I like the 2009 Guan Zi Zai "Jing Xuan Bu Lang", which stands out a little more than the 2006 A-Gu Zhai Wild Arbor Bu Lang. The former has a better mouth-feel and bitterness (but a good way) than the latter. There's also some sort of "bean-like" aroma that I can't really describe.

I'm fascinated with the different flavors and aromas that come from a genre of tea that I had limited experience prior to this, and I'm also having difficulty conveying what aroma/flavor I'm detecting. To me, it seems that a lot of these teas I'm tasting tend to be more about the mouth feel, but some also have an interesting flavor as well. The 2005 Hai Lang Hao "Lincang Impression" has some kind of tangy fruitiness that caught me off guard.

I'm also finding that I find young sheng more enjoyable than most aged sheng (shocking isn't it?). I probably haven't had that kind of "aha" moment, but I prefer the flavor/aroma profile of young sheng. Hopefully I'm not overdoing it with young sheng, which I hear can cause stomach problems later on...so I'm balancing it with some other Oolong that I have, but it's so darn hard not to just plough through all my Yunnan Sourcing samples!

2 comments:

Jason Witt said...

I'm with you on liking young, raw Puerh more than the aged stuff. I'm unlikely to ever have any "aha moment" about it. The aged isn't exactly bad, but it's not worth the price and its acclaim is lost on me. But I've never heard that green Puerh causes stomach problems later on. It has probiotics so is good for the stomach. --Spirituality of Tea

shibumi said...

Jason,

I saw the other comment someone posted about you and was quite disappointed in their ridicule of you...

But now, despite the rudeness, after only seeing a few of your comments I must jump on his/her side completely. WT F are you talking about here? Many asians won't even drink raw puerh because they believe it has a bad effect on yin/yang, and I've even seen some american blogs admit to stomach problems after a couple years intense years of drinking sheng.

As for the "aha" moment I find it odd you've never had one while you describe tea on your website as a "miraculous elixir". If you have the right aged tea, the chaqi can be immensely power and pleasureful. You will know it when it hits you- and then you will make it your mission to find such teas- young puerh never has this type of chaqi that is found in good older tea. When you find it you will say "aha".