Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Growing Roots

"Root Yourself "
One of the first lessons taught to me in my martial training.
This is referring to stance training. The most important aspect in traditional martial arts. We hold Mabu or Horse Riding Stance in order to build up strength, both physical and mental.
We must grow roots into the ground.
 It is easier to run a mile than to hold a good stance for a few minutes. My Sifu's Master would hold this position for over two hours. With much training you will be able to root yourself and sink your energy into the dantien. The back must be straight, the hips forward, feet pointed strait ahead, and the thighs almost parallel to the ground. The breath should be deep and slow, Breath in pushing the air down to the bottom of the lungs bringing the diaphragm up, exhale pushing the diaphragm down to the lower dantien sinking the chi.
The chi becomes the root, connecting to the earth. 
There are many variations on the actual physical stance depending on style and teacher, but the breathing and sinking of the chi must be done correctly in order to advance to a higher level in training.
This is the most basic foundation in all traditional martial arts.
There is much more to this training, but I think this is a simple enough explanation.
 Bad thing is that some schools do not teach it correctly, or not at all.

 What about for fighting? No you do not hold a horse stance while fighting, or any stance for that matter. You must move or you will get hit! The stances used in training are only in transition while fighting, and when delivering a strike you momentarily go into a proper stance for full power in your strike coming from the root.

Just as an ancient tea tree has strong chi because of the roots reaching deep into the earth.
Our chi will grow over time with much training, even after 15 years of training
I have only begun.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wrapper Art

These are just a few of my favorite puerh wrappers.
This first drawing I made for YS wrapper contest this year, and added the lettering on the right.
Unfortunately it did not get picked.
I would like to use it someday.

Who dosn't like the crane of Xiaguan.


These next ones are my favorites from Tea Urchin, but I like all of there wrappers.

This one is very nicely drawn also.

This one is just weird, why would you put someones face on a bing wrapper.
Who is this? I want this cake because it has a face on it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2011 Tea Urchin Autumn Mang Zhi

This is one of the samples I got around six months ago from Tea Urchin
I have tried it two times before when I first got it and am finally getting back around to it.
I think it has now rested well enough.
The dry chunk looks good still holding its farm straw aroma.
The leaves come apart easily with a pick, I think they do look a bit darker than I remember, with a bit of fuzzy hairs.

The first infusions have a peculiar sent if straw, mushroom, and maybe farm countryside.
I do like the aroma, now going to the flavor my first short brew is a bit empty, so I bump up the infusion time.
The second brew is quite good with a sweet, savory, mushroom flavor that lingers a bit. It does not have any bitterness, just a slight bite on the tongue, which I think is because of the autumn pick. After about four infusions the flavors start to mellow out considerably turning to a slightly sweet, salty, mushroom taste. I push the infusions for longer brews and the flavors come back a bit more savory, it is definitely very different that most of the newer teas I have encountered, I do enjoy it considerably although it is quite calm for its young age. It holds on until about ten good infusions. The mouthfeel is very pleasant and stays with me for a good while after drinking.

The spent leaves are a mix of red and dark green with stems and some buds. It actually gets me a bit sleepy, so with the sounds of thunder and rain outside I'm off to sleep in a bit.
I really like the fact that Eugene and Belle really give us a look into the areas where these teas are sourced, I think this is a big plus. The thing is they are on the higher price scale, as with most new productions nowadays. This one is very simple but still enjoyable, I probably wont get a cake of this one, but do want to get some of the others from them. I must say they have the best wrapper art, I would like to get even just the wrappers for collection. I will continue to retry the others. And will post about my favorite Tea Urchin cake from 2011 later, The summer Lao Man E. Then the 2012 cake samples I will try to get soon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

1999 Xiaguan Green Beencha

 A nicely aged xiaguan with a slight bit of humid storage coming from Hoffman.

 First the wrapper is very thin, tearing a bit at the edges. The cake itself looks a bit roughly made, but very appealing. It has a very slight humid sent but not nearly as much as the EOT cakes. It is a bit on the higher compression scale. But I manage a few leaves and some chunks.

 The first few infusions give off some of that mild humid taste I am not too fond of, and a slight dryness. After the 3rd brew it smooths out well though , and becomes very enjoyable. I get smooth leathery, mushroom, slightly woody notes developing with the passing infusions. This is the only cake so far from Hoffman I have had that has had some humidity, the rest I have tried have been very dry stored. I know he has three caves so they must have different conditions. Or it could have had some wet storage before he purchased it, because it does seem dry now. I will have to find out.

The liquor is a nice clear orange, turning to red if left to infuse more than a few seconds.
After about eight infusions it turns to a smooth honey liquor,
 with a savory mushroom taste in the back of the throat.

I really enjoy this one, aside from the first infusions.
It gives a good mouthfeel and a relaxing chi, with a good mental clarity.
Good old Xiaguan.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guang He Jie Pu Cha

This is a small dry tangerine packed with ripe puerh.

 Purchased at a small vegetable shop in chinatown, Chicago.  It looks quite nice but only has a very feint dry citrus smell to it. I had a heavy meal today and wanted to get a bit of a digestion boost, as cooked puerh I think helps. I take out my shou brewing pot and throw in a bit of leaf mixed with a few pieces of the tangerine peel.

 I am using a very porous cup made by my friend Fred, I feel it really smooths out the flavors of shou.

The infused liquor is very clear orange with a good citrus aroma, holding no wet sent at all. The flavor hits the tongue with a spicy smooth orange goodness that coats the entire pallet. It does not last too many infusions but is very pleasant to drink. And does not taste like most ripe puerhs, almost having a sheng aftertaste to it.

 The spent leaves show the dark cooked process, but are not too fragile as most.
 It must have been on the lighter fermentation side.
Very relaxing and refreshing to drink and settles the stomach well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 LongPinHao Laobanzhang?

This cake was a recent low price auction purchase on Ebay.
 Does anyone know about this LongPinHao factory?
Or this cake?

 The seller posted it as 2012yr Yunnan LaoBanZhang Pu-erh Cake tea 357g/Raw from Yunnan LongPinHao. I can't  seem to find anything about LongPinHao. The cake itself looks good enough and has a good strong aroma to it.

The cake is semi loose showing a traditional stone compression. So the leaves fall right off the cake with no effort. They look very appealing with a good amount of buds. The liquor is nice and heavy yellow. It holds a fresh green mellow aroma. It gives me a very strong bitter brew with just a bit of sweetness in the aftertaste.
 It continues with its bitterness with a bit of a flowery flavor in the throat with a mouth watering texture. 
Then turns to a very sweet clear liquid in the last steeps. 
 The spent leaves are nice looking mix, actually above my expectations, with barely any broken pieces.
Is it loabangzhang? for the price probably not, but it is very good for 15 bucks, shipping included.
It gives me a very strong chi, and sits heavy in the the lower abdomen.
 Chikung needed after this one, and a snack.

I will put it away for a while so it mellows a bit.