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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.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Reader's Poll

My parents have always regarded my tea habit with curiousness . After all, I'm sharing the same interests with my grandparents, who are more or less triple my age. The "tea" gene skipped my parent's generation and hit me hard. When I visited some tea shops in Asia the owners always asked me why a youngster like me wanted to buy tea (this was when I was a bit younger than I am now). And within my circle of local tea friends, I'm the baby of the group, in both age and experience. In most of the blogs I read the writers are "grown-up" with real jobs, a house or an apartment, and perhaps even kids! And here I am, working part-time, living with my parents, and basically waiting for my Peace Corps invitation to get here so I can get a move-on with my life.

So I wonder if this is actually do, so if you would oblige, please participate in the poll in the top left-hand side. Don't be shy to answer truthfully. If you're much older than me I'll envy you for your wisdom, and if by chance you're younger, than I will envy the youth that's giving you an edge on collecting young sheng.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Self-Made Blend

A line in MarshalN's blog about blending puerh (see here) struck me in particular:

"Instead, I think the answer might be for us to start blending our own tea -- an aged Bulang with a young Yiwu might make for a pretty interesting combination."
As I was thinking this morning, I dug through the numerous samples that I have, coming across an aged Bu Lang (my remaining sample of the 1997 Hen Li Chang Bu Lang) and a younger Yi Wu (the 2001 Ding Xin Cha Zhuang Yi Wu). The Bu Lang had a nice and thick after taste that coated the tongue with a good kind of bitterness. The Yi Wu had some nice fruitiness going on in the flavor/aroma, working more "up front." I used 2.5 grams of each for a 100 ml gaiwan. A shot of the dry leaf:

The Yi Wu seems to have more complete leaves, since the Yi Wu was pryed from a chunk whereas the Bu Lang pretty much arrived in a loose leaf format. Hopefully this won't affect how the tea blends.


Another difference between the two is that the Bu Lang is a bit "bud-heavy," but I'm not sure what bud-heaviness does to a tea...maybe make it sweeter?
The combined leaf:


So how did it taste? Better than combined parts, surprisingly. I'll probably have to try this again in different proportions, but it seemed to taste more "complete" in the mouth, with a great more deal of complexity. The bitterness that the Bu Lang was teeming with was a bit toned down and there was a nice fruity youthfulness that came courtesy of the Yi Wu. As the infusions went on though, it became easier to distinguish the components, as the Yi Wu faded a bit earlier than the Bu Lang.

The wet leaf:
The larger leaf, which is lighter in color, is more or less the Yi Wu, whereas the darker smaller bits are the Bu Lang. Looking into my gaiwan between infusions, it seemed more or less even distributed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Changes

It's interesting to see how our tastes in tea change over time, even in a short interval of time. I remember last summer I was in a phase with Japanese greens, which is something that I haven't had in a long time. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I bought so much that drinking it became a chore. Well, I recently placed a pre-order for this year's shincha from Yuuki-Cha, so I'm looking forward to that. Only ordered one thing, so hopefully I won't be forced to drink it all up ASAP. As I was thinking about tea to try, when my eyes glanced over my yancha pot, and it just came to me: I haven't had a yancha in almost two months. And it's probably my favorite kind of tea too! So what happened?

Well, I've chanced upon some pretty amazing yancha, that the ones I usually drink don't excite me anymore. Yancha can get pretty pricey, and I brew it in a style that burns through ALOT of leaf (a normal session usually calls me for at least 10 grams for a 100 ml pot). My attention has also been focused on another things, especially pu-erh, which I've been finding more exciting these days.

Even though I was jonesing for some aged pu-erh, I decided to take yancha pot out for a spin. I have some high-fired DHP stashed away to settle down and maybe age a bit. It's mellowed over this past six months and the charcoal taste isn't as strong. It's a decent tea, not great, but not terrible.

Oh well