It is my greatest joy and gratitude, that I had received these gifts for my wedding. I started planting this "Virtual seed" back in May 2006, to share my adventure in the passage for tea. Through time, this tea blog has became fruitful with like-minded mandarins.
Even though we have never met face to face sharing the same cup of tea, tea has drawn us together as friends. I guess this will be the future of communication for man kind.... but I still see the age old Chinese tradition of sharing a cup of good tea, or offering each other tea as a gesture of harmony and peace. The Chinese saying of "Through tea, friends gather" will have a new meaning in our times.
I and my new family, sincerely thank you, Lawrence, Andrew and Stephane for having me in your thoughts and sharing all these wonderful gifts which we all treasured. I am certain that one day, even we are all apart now; Will gather together to share this wonderful experience that became our life long pursuit.
Yours Truthfully and Respectfully, Timothy, Jooyoung and Toki.
Korean Green tea, April 06. Cost more then 100 US per 50g! A cross between japanese green and Bi Luo Chun. Worth the experience.
Korean tea master usually add Cherry blossoms after the 3rd infus. The tea then turns into an intense floral, almond flavor brew, best serve cool. I have to say the mouth feel and the aftertaste is more interesting then brewing it by itself. Very hard to get korean Cherry blossom though....
Beside the known meaning of Kung Fu Tea = A lot of work/practices to prepare tea. What is the true method and practice of it? Where is the origin and steps for it? and the meaning behind the steps? Who really understood the practice of it? Too many questions, too little answer. Anyone....
Nothing can compare to a True Hong Kong style "High Tea": Panty Hose milk tea (a mix of red/black/cooked puerh and egg shell, cooked for hrs.), company with Buttered Pineapple bun, right off the oven.... Pure satisfaction!
A complete stack of 80's Guang Yun Gong Beengs, company with Hun Yins, 80's 8582s. 2 Cupboards full of 20's-80's zhu ni and other fun pots. Also my pick of a 30's Zhu Ni pot. What do you think, did I picked a good one?
An eye opening tasting, at one of the bigger factory in Wuyi Shan.
From top to bottom: 1. Huang guanyin 2006 May. Fired once. 2. 200+ years old bush Shui Xian. 2004 May. Fired twice, Micro-fired 2 times 3. 28-30 years aged old bush Shui Xian. Micro-fired once. 4. 5 years aged Da Houg Pao. Micro-fired 3 times. FYI: Correction on my previous posting May 31, 06. "Dynasty Dan Cong" Article regarding DHP. From Wuyi's farmers point of view, Da Houg Pao is not under Shui Xian category, but a separated variety.
I never had such good Cha Qi wuyi tea experience before, specially the 5 years aged DHP (Which I did shared with people at tea gallery this Tuesday), it was like drinking a fine aged 15-20 years old puerh from Yiwu. These are combination of many factors: Clean environment, old bush harvests, experience farmer, one harvesting per year or sometimes every 2 years, right processing by hand, master firing technique, proper storing and most of all patience from the master. Wuyi Rock oolong is a "Crafted" tea, unlike puerh which could be aged by nature.
Charcoal firing room on the right and finish Tie Luo Han at the end.
A Gopaldhara Estate Darjeeling April '06 / 1st Flush. The most beautiful Darjeeling I have encountered.... Bouquet of Clover, jasmine, rose nectar, Champaign/ Muscatel like aroma, sweet and fragrant, smooth and with complexity. Sublime! No bites or bitterness compared to even a high grade Darjeeling. A Candy of High mountain India tea.
Experimenting on older bushes. This is still a developing specimen with Chinese tea making influence. Initial smell and taste like a Competition grade "Oriental Beauty". Pure Heaven. Infused 5 times!
Xiaguan 2006 Baoyan Mini-Beeng Leaf: Broken medium leave. Many long / medium stems. Machine pressed. Heated Leaf aroma: Smoky bacon / meaty. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 60s rests, 20s, 20s, 30s, 60s, 60s Liquor color: Medium clarity, golden pale green. Flavor Notes: Smoky, Medium pungent, mild body, flat finish. Best Infusion: 2nd. Cha Qi: lacking. Overall: A quiet/mild specimen. Commercial bing, low land machine harvested. Age-ability: poor. Would I buy this tea: No.
Xiaguan 2005 Nan Zhao raw beeng Leaf: Broken medium leave mixed with young leaves. Short small stems. Heated Leaf aroma: Mild Smoke, seaweed, grassy, corn. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 60s rests, 20s, 30s, 30s, 60s, 60s.... Liquor color: Medium clarity, light amber golden. Flavor Notes: Grassy, medium tannis/pungent, seaweed-high mountain oolong character. Later steeping: Numbing lips, bitter sweet finish. Floral. Medium body and good complexity. Cider wood, clean & sharp on tongue, moisturizing & sweet throat. Best Infusion: 3rd onwards. Cha Qi: Good and calming. Overall: My favorite so far beside the clarity! A high mountain harvest/semi-wild specimen? Great layers, not overwhelming but complex. Very enjoyable and relaxing. Could be aged better? Age-ability: Good Would I buy this tea: Yes. How much and which area?
Menghai 2005 First Grade Raw Bing Leaf: Small oily leaves, a young May harvest? Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / smoky / hint of woody / oak. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 90 sec. rests, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 60s Liquor color: Bright / Good clarity, light golden yellow with hint of green. Flavor Notes: Refreshing! Strong astringency, grassy, mild smoky, floral, medium sweetness, hint of fruit, bitter / minty aftertaste, light body, medium complexity. Strong tannis, consistent strength. Best Infusion: 6nd infus. onwards to become smooth. Cha Qi: Medium. Overall: Good active quality leaves. Flair Young buds. Very bitter mouth feel carry thru throat and aftertaste. Age-ability: Good. Would I buy this tea: Too young to judge. lack of complexity? A little too bitter because of Sun exposure? Should wait 3 years and see development.
2005 Mengku Rongshi Green Label Mini-Beeng Leaf: Young small/medium leaves. Machine pressed. Heated Leaf aroma: Mild sweet smoke / hint of wood-chip / camphor. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 90 sec. rests, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 60s Liquor color: lacking clarity, light golden amber. Flavor Notes: Wood-chip. Mild stringency, veggie, lots of floral, medium sweetness, refreshing / cool aftertaste, long sweet finish with clean, cooling back of throat. Mild complexity/strength. Best Infusion: 4th infus. less bites and sweet aftertaste. Cha Qi: Medium. Overall: Smell smoky but no smoky taste. Good floral and lingering sweet cool aftertaste. Very pleasant young bing. Clarity problem. Age-ability: flair. Would I buy this tea: Too young to judge.If the floral faded in time, then what character will replace?
Dadugang King Tea Biscuit Leaf: Medium leaves. Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / hints of flora / straw. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 60s rests, 15s, 20s, 30s, 30s, 60s Liquor color: Good clarity, golden yellow. Flavor Notes: Medium pungent and astringency, bamboo, light sweetness, hint of camphor, dry aftertaste, mild body, medium complexity / bitterness. Best Infusion: 2nd infus. Cha Qi: Medium but active. Overall: This was totally a different image I had then: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4410717173 Good young leaves. Presentable. Question about storage? Too dry? For a 3 years old young leaves without mellowing down the astringency? Age-ability: flair. Would I buy this tea?: Maybe. If I have more background on tea area and factory.
Yunnan Fengqing Mini-Beeng 2003 "12 zodiacs" Leaf: Broken young medium, little meat, leaves. Heated Leaf aroma: Dairy / hints of flora / grassy. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 30s rests, 20s, 20s, 30s, 30s, 60s Liquor color: Cloudy golden pale yellow. Flavor Notes: Moderate astringency, creamy, hay, hint of camphor, minty, clean aftertaste, mellow round body. Best Infusion: 5th infus. Cha Qi: Mild. Overall: A Good and Mellow 3 years old. Like the creamy / dairy character a lot. Young tree, low land harvested? Age-ability: flair. Would I buy this tea?: No.
Dadugang 1999 Yiwu Leaf: Medium leaves, mostly whole, medium meat. drying by heated room. Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / dried fruit. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 90s rests, 15s, 30s, 30s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 60s.... Liquor color: Cloudy / golden yellow. Flavor Notes: Medium bitterness, chalky, mild flora and sweetness, and menthol, hint of camphor, woody hint of bamboo flavor, drying mouth. mild body. medium complexity. Best Infusions: Starting at 5th-8th. Cha Qi: Mild, relaxing. Overall: Is there a storage problem? too cloudy to start. A cultivated specimen? On the delicate side for a Yiwu. Age-ability: OK. lack of liquor clarity. Would I buy this tea?: No.
Mang Shi 1999 Dehong Melon Leaf: Small leaves, mostly dusty, dry storage. Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / wheat grains / straw. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 60s rests, 15s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 30s, 60s, 60s.... Liquor color: Clear golden yellow / small hint of brown. Flavor Notes: Refreshing, sweetness with bites, hint of smoke, straw, floral aftertaste, medium body. medium smooth complexity. Best Infusions: Starting at 3rd onwards. Cha Qi: Welcoming and present. Overall: Mine look too young for a 6 years old? Good easy drinking. Age-ability: Good. Would I buy this tea?: No.
This is one of the small-leaf puerh specie highly priced and sought after in Yunnan - 小米香 ( Small Rice Fragrance). This 150 years + old tree is a rare specimen.
There are among 23 genera and 380 species of tea-producing plants - Camellia Sinensis in the world as of 1993, 15 genera and 260 species can be found in Yunnan including the prime site for the origin of tea trees. In 1990, China's first preservation nursery for big-leaf varieties was set up in Yunnan, where 607 big-leaf tea trees are being preserved.
After 3 months searching for a decent Shi-Feng, the winner is a medium grade specimen. Left pic. medium grade vs. Right pic. 2nd grade pre-ming.
The competitor were 5 grades of Shi-Feng '06. Pricing from 250 US per pound to 100 US. 3 higher grades of Shi-Feng came directly from The Tea Institute in West lake, Hangzhou. 1 medium grade from Canton, and the last one from T-Gallery NY, which is also a medium grade.
Although the Institute's Shi-Feng on the right had the best appearance and top pricing, it lacked the strength and dropped out at 3rd infus. The Left medium grade from T-Gallery had lesser appearance. Both grades maintain the same characteristic of Shi-Feng: Green bean, Roasted grain/corn, floral, light aroma of rice and sweet, clean, refreshing seaweed finishes. Left one out brewed the higher grade at least 2 steepings.
I am not a big green tea fan, but if I have the 3 months Spring green craving next year. I will go for the medium late harvest instead.
A Specimen from the Original 18 Dragon Well trees on Shi Feng Mountain. Picked back in '03 from a visit to West Lake. Today, the price from these original trees are auction at $130 US per gram.
Tasting 2 Kung Fu Reds. 1st grade, Yixing Red, 3rd of March '06 Harvest vs. Pre-Ming Keemun super fine '05.
Using a 450ml Yixing Kung Fu Red Pot. A very generous gift from Master Jiang Meihua for visiting her studio last Fall.
Yixing Red is a day-to-day tea for most potters in Yixing, beside cooked puerh. The leaf size is similar to a Wuyi Shui Xian, so most of the local pots are larger with thicker wall, around 350-500ml for half-a-day brewing.