Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mystery Sample 3

So today I brewed up the third mystery sample from Hster.

 It looks very good, stone compressed, nice size leaf. A beautiful chunk of tea.  Looks to have some age.
I was saving this one because it looks so good.
The dry sent is a bit smoky but still enticing.
Now when I do the first rinse I think, heavy on the smoke, but could have some good flavors. 
I take my first drink and I try to find any remnant of good, but the smokiness is too strong. I just cannot find anything but the smoky flavor filling my taste buds with a sour feeling. 
I have had other teas with this same problem. The 2000 Fu Hai brick from Jing tea shop comes to mind, I had to toss it after a couple brews.
I know there are drinkers who enjoy these smoky teas very much, but I do not. They just give me a bad feeling. I tried to drink a few infusions but I just cant. I have to toss the infused leaf after only three brews. So I wont even try to guess what it is since I wasn't able to drink it.

 I turn strait back to a strong young sheng to wash my taste buds out. My father actually enjoys these, so I will pass the rest of the sample on to him as I have with a few other teas.
 I usually can enjoy any type of decent tea, finding the good aspects in them and even highly enjoy a bit of smoke in my cup, but not when its overbearing. I cant bring myself to like the heavy smoke.
Maybe a wet storage will smooth it out some.
 Finally a tea I dont like!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kung Fu Tea Ceremony

I would like to write about my experience with a kung fu tea ceremony.
I am not talking about gungfucha.
This ceremony is part of traditional family martial arts systems.
About ten years ago I was searching for a deeper knowledge and training in the kung fu world here in the states. My older kung fu brother and I wondered off a bit from our base school.
Looking into finding a more traditional teacher. We found what we were looking for, a Master originally from Hong Kong, who learned his art from his father which is one of the top Grand Masters in the world of Hong Kong kung fu coming from the Chin Wu association.
After learning from Master for some time and proving ourselves, he was ready to accept us as disciples of his family style. We had to go thru this Tea Ceremony.
We were invited to his home and began by lighting incense before the family alter to his ancestors and the patron saint of martial arts Guan Yu
Guan Yu
 We then kneel before the Grand Master.
We asked to be taken in as disciples, he speaks to us in Cantonese, very stern and serious as his son translates to us what is spoken. He gives us a long history lesson about his training and where his style comes from, then asks us if we are ready to uphold his family name in the martial arts.
Giving us the rules and traditions that are part of his family style.
At this time each of us speaks about why we want to train and learn his style, and what we are trying to achieve with our training. His son brews up some oolong and presents two medium size cups to us.
We bow three times and ask to be accepted, offering the tea to Grand Master. 
If he drinks a sip of tea he accepts us, if not we cannot continue to learn from them.

He takes each cup, looks at us thinking deeply, and takes a sip of each. We are part of his family system.
Then the true teachings begins.

It is very rare for a westerner to be part of a martial arts tea ceremony.
At the time I didn't even realize how rare this was.
I don't know too many martial artists who have had this experience let alone even know it exists.

I am not giving any information on who these Masters are or what style as I am no longer training with them.
After a dispute with my kung fu brother who is still with them.
I have moved on and am currently training in another traditional family style from Taiwan.
But I will always keep there teachings alive within myself and those I teach.

Cha & Kung Fu

2012 samples part 2

We now move on to the BaDa Gushu.

 The dry leaf has a faint sent of flower and fruit.
When I pour the rinse I just have to say it smells like I just poured a bowl of fruit loops.
 It just has that very fruity aroma to it.

 The first few infusions also bring a very fruit like flavor, I will say peach, even with the slight drying tingling mouthfeel as I get from biting into the skin of a fresh peach. As the infusions continue it does have a good bitterness to it with a bit of greenness, but holds to the fruity aftertaste. Soothing and calming tea. The chi is very relaxing and warming. It gives me around 12 good infusions.
The infused leaf is mostly small with a few buds.

And last but not least is the ManNuo Gushu.

 The dry chunk is hard compressed, with a very faint almost forest tree smell.
The first aromas give up an almost apple tree sent with just a bit of smoke in the background.
The liquor is a bit heavier than the others and on a more savory side than fruity.
 The flavors are hard to describe on this one, it has a more leafy woody forest flavor with some mushroom, spicy, sweet, and bitter. The flavors change well. The mouthfeel is very pronounced with a spicy, savory, silky texture. It does become quite bitter in the later infusions. Now the chi is what I really notice, it warms me up very fast and brings me to a clear focused state of mind, definitely ancient tree. Meditative.
The spent leaves are quite large and thick.

All of these teas are great.
YouLe ---- Very refined, gentle and sweet. A tea to be savored with great attention.
 MengSong --- Strong fruit, bitter, and straightforward. A tea to enjoy anytime.         
     BaDa --- Very fruity, gentle, soothing, and refined. A tea to find comfort and relaxation.
ManNuo --- Lasting, forest, savory, and bitter. A tea for focus, chi, and energy.       

I am finding things out more and more about my own preferences. 

I wanted to taste these back to back as I have a credit with and will try to choose one cake to get. Now the hard part is choosing which one.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 samples part one

I recently received four 7 gram samples from Peter of and so I give them a try.
 For these comparisons I use the whole 7 grams in my sheng pot. One tea per day.

First up is the YouLe gushu.

Now other youle I have tried have been very simple, lets see how this one does.
 The dry chunk looks to be smaller leaf and is a bit dark with some buds. It also is a bit more tightly compressed comparing to last years samples. The infused aroma of the leaf is very nice, reminding me of fresh farm straw, flower, and vegetable, a good sent very young and green. The brew is very pleasant with hints of straw and wood, and a bit of sweet flowers in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is good, coating well with a bit of tingle.
 I do have to push the infusions a bit as it is quite light and gentle.

 I dont find much bitterness at all maybe only a very little when given a very long infusion. It is a very pleasant tea with a nice mouthfeel, it slows down after about eight brews. The infused leaf is small with a few buds. The chi is very relaxing also.

Second is the MengSong.
  Now this one is from 60 year old trees. The dry sent has a bit more strength and bitterness. The first infusions bring aromas of fruit, orchid and straw. The liquor is quite strong and fruity. As the infusions pass the fruit flavor is a constant in the back of the throat but the bitterness comes to the forefront, although it is a good bitterness. I actually find it very interesting.

 The mouthfeel is a bit dry but filling. There is a very mellow chi feeling with this one, but it does have strength. It lasts a bit more than the Youle. The infused leaf is mostly medium size with a few large.
 It sits a little heavy in the gut, so I grab some japanese style peanuts, my favorite tea snack to counter it.

The next two days I will try the others.

 I have ordered a few pots and last years samples from Peter and have been very pleased with his great service and products.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mystery Sample 2

Another mystery sample from Hster.

 This one is from a brick as it is tightly compressed and still has a corner intact.
It looks to have a bit of age judging from the color and dry slightly woody, anise sent.
The first two short infusions are very light with just a very light smoky spicy sweetness, so I push the third brew to open it up. It gives me more layered flavor of sweet woodiness, with a bit of old bitterness and spice in the aftertaste.

 Now the mouthfeel is what is good, giving me a slight bite on the tip of the tongue with a creamy texture throughout the next infusions. I think the taste of it is a bit light, but what really gets me is the warm feeling I get from it. I feel focused chi building so I pause for some chikung practice. 
My mind is cleared of the days stress.
  I push the rest of the brews even longer and it holds steady for around ten good infusions.
The mouthfeel and warm feeling stays with me as I start to get sleepy.
I like this one for its good feeling, although it is a bit light in flavor.
I look back on Hsters older posts and try to figure if its something she posted about before.
I am thinking it could maybe be the '05 dehong wild tree?

Oh and I got a very pleasant surprise in the mail today, an unexpected package from Peter of with his 2012 cake samples. Awesome! its always great to get some unexpected tea in the mail. Thanks Peter.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mystery Sample 1

This is one of the mystery samples sent to me by Hster of the Tea Closet blog.
 I decided on trying this one first because i felt like some younger sheng  and this one seemed to be the youngest of the bunch just by its looks. The dry leaf a nice sweet mellow aroma. It seems to be maybe a early spring pick with a lot of buds. Looks like being stone compressed as it is quite loose.

The first few infusions are nice and heavy with a bitter sweet flavor and slight mushroom. As the brews continue it turns very sweet with almost a fruity aftertaste. A cane sugary sweetness which coats the entire mouth and lingers. I pull many fine brews but forget to count.
 The infused leaf is mostly buds and small leaves. 
 It brings me a very relaxing chi and clears my mind. I enjoy it very much.

If I have to guess as to what it is, I will say its the 2006 wild elephant Hster posted a few weeks back, because of the high percent of buds and the sweetness she mentioned.
What's the verdict H am i at least close on this one?

2012 Pre-Qing Ming Bai Mu Dan

Enjoying a good cup of tea!
I got this White Peony in the early spring as soon as it arrived in the states, as my wife loves it and I was out.
 I like it very much also actually preferring this over Yin Zhen .
Purchased at Silk Road Teas, but the pre-qing ming is long gone, now they have a later pick available.
 Its a good tasty tea with a full mouthfeel and lasting sweet aftertaste.
 I just throw some in a large cup made by my friend Fred and drink a few infusions with my son. 
For a relaxing friday evening after a hard week and a good training session.
I will just let the pictures do the talking.

My son drinking up.

Tomorrow I get back to the puerh gungfu-cha as I have a bunch of samples from Hster that I want to break into. Including some mystery samples that I am looking very forward to trying. 

Thank you very much again H.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2002 Hai Lang Hao-Ai Lao Shan-Mini Cake

This little 100 gram cake comes from Yunnan Sourcing
It barely resembles a cake anymore as I have been enjoying this one for a good while now. First I have to say I love the old school nei fei, just a piece of plain torn paper with a stamp. The cake is made up of medium size leaf on the outside ( all gone now) hard compressed broken leaf on the inside. The dry aroma holds a bit of smokiness. Now getting into the center of the cake I break off a few chunks with the pick.

The infused liquor has the most wonderful aroma of cinnamon and raisins. I just cant help but keep sniffing at the glass pitcher. The first infusion yields strong smoky flavors with a bit of spice and astringency. After the second and third infusions it really gets enjoyable, with light smoky, spicy, savory flavors and hinting toward some cinnamon in the throat. This tea reminds me of thanksgiving, when my dad and me make a smoked turkey inside an old wood burning stove out in his barn every year, the tea brings those smoky savory flavors to life again.
Last years turkey. A teapot is always near.
The mouthfeel is very pronounced, slightly drying the pallet with some spiciness. If you dont mind a small amount of astringency this is a decent example of a ten year old dry stored small cake. Maybe a few more years will round off the astringency.

 I do have one more full cake tucked away for the future. We will see how it develops.