Monday, September 12, 2005

Adrian on Danny's Teas

Hi All:

A pleasure to read Gerry's tasting notes, which win the prize for good humor and poetic license and accuracy, etc.

I thought I'd re-post mine here to make it easier for it all to be in one place. Where are the other notes? Corax I'll read yours now.


- Hong Tai Chang Cooked Pu'er, 1980s(?), Cooked - Hong Tai Chang Tea Company

method: 5.9 gr/100 ml gaiwan - water off boil

brown, black, & rusty leaf

aroma in heated gaiwan: sweet & baky -- no hint of ammonia

rinse (15): sweet, hint of cough syrup; a lovely smell -- no acidic

cup (15): sweet smell of bread baking at bottom of poured-off gaiwan.
reddish orange liquor.
leaves still dense, going to be lovely when they open up and come alive

cup (20): i can smell and taste the cooked aged pu-erh -- hints of camphor. no bitterness. a nice tea.

cup (25): aroma mellow & sweet
dark red liquor
subtle and mellow.

did not really "come alive" as i'd imagined it might -- past it's peak? -- no overpowering, or even distinctive, taste, but a pleasant and mellow aged tea. i stopped taking notes but drank many cups of it; can't ask for more than that, eh?

- Xia Guan Iron Pu'er Cake, 2002, Uncooked - Xia Guan Tea Factory

method: 5.9 gr/100ml gaiwan - water off of a boil.

brown broken leaf on surface, greener variations on the inside. dry leaf smells of cherry & smoke, a familiar characteristic.

leaf aroma in heated gaiwan: eggs & burnt toast

rinse (20): grass & cigarette smoke in the cup. not much sweetness. burnt (something) & smoke. liquid in cup brews sharp & clear, with a nice shine.

cup (15): brick is still tightly together. leaves green.
first sip almost "malty" (like hint a yunnan gold tips black tea) -- just hints of it. lid aroma: burn.
malty hint makes me think it will age well. no smokiness in the taste. almost like caramel. leaves are tight so
it is underbrewing.

cup (20): lid: smoky, burnt cigarettes. first sip tannic up front. it is opening up to the water.
starting to taste the pepper on the lips & and burnt/ash at back of mouth.
halfway through the cup the "yun" is caramel & peppered steak.
as the cup progresses: cigarettes.

cup (25): tannic and pervasive cigarette smoke. strong, nice if you like the flavor (which i do sometimes).
powerful effect of drying the mouth AND making me salivate (at the back of the throat?)

I wrote "nice feelings" and stopped taking notes. This seems like a nice enough tea. I like the taste that comes back, the aftertaste, the yun, which has a spectrum from sharp and tangy and sweet and green, with bitter and burnt and fishy and leathery mixed in there on the curve. but the teas that seem to have the best aftertaste leave a kind of peppery dryness of the lips, with the back of the throat feeling like "peppered steak" -- (close, but not exact taste; heard it called mint, too) -- and this one had a hint of that then disappeared. i'd drink this again in five years to see what happened. seems flavorful but confused.

- Chongqing Tuocha, early 90s, Mixed(?) - Sichuan

method: 5.6 gr/100ml gaiwan - water off of a boil

leaf aroma in heated gaiwan: indistinct. tight leaves. i expect flavor to emerge.

rinse (20): lid aroma: almost fruity, beyond the familiar "ammonia"
cup aroma: ammonia, but mellow as though aged appropriately
liquor not red but lightly orange.

cup (20): eggs in the lid aroma.
clear liquid, and the piece of tea cake is dense and tight, unopened yet. a bit of taste.
going to let it sit and rehydrate.

cup (25): red glow in the liquor, a sweet earthy smell in the air. a mellow cup.

i drank eight cups and it came alive -- no mustiness. mellow and sweet. a nice, not particularly overwhelming, mellow aged tea that keeps going and going. expected a little more flavor from it. maybe my brewing style is wrong for aged teas of the sort.

d. Xishuangbanna Pu'er Cake, 2003, Uncooked - Chang Tai Tea Company

method: 5.5 gr/100 ml gaiwan

rinse (15): fishy smell in lid, sour in the cup. unpleasant associations.

cup (15): not much flavor. need to brew longer? not much aftertaste/

cup (35): insipid. not much flavor, even after longer brew. still no aftertaste.

stopped drinking here. my least favorite of the teas.

e. YiWu region Wild Grown Pu'er, 2003, Uncooked - Xinghai Tea Factory

method: 5.9 gr/100 ml gaiwan

aroma in heated gaiwan: vegetation, ash, and chocolate.

rinse (15): clear crisp liquid.
chocolate aroma -- strong enough to call fudge.
sour and sweet blended -- but a subtle ring only, in the air.
malty at the bottom of the cup.

cup (12): rusty vegetal
even in this first cup a nice & mellow "yun" is emerging
creamy pepper. i like it already.
mild burnt sugar.
no substantial aftertaste afterall ... maybe

cup (15): leaves have come apart quickly; liquid brew is gold.
expect a big taste to this, question is: duration...
starting to taste like a typical young green: mild yun.
yun/aftertaste is mellow but good.

cup (20): making my mouth dry now. brew is still gold. mouth VERY dry.

cup (25): a good tea -- but the subtle arc of taste of time should/could be bolder.

probably one of my faves in the bunch. running out of things to say, i drank it for a few more cups then stopped.

f. Long Yuan Label Pu'er, 2002, Uncooked - Dadugang Tea Factory

method: 4.9 gr/100 ml gaiwan

rinse (15): lid aroma: fishy
cup aroma: smoky
in the air: sweetness

cup (10): smoky lid
smoky first sip but none of the expected "cigarette" flavor...
pleasant enough for a smoky tea. seems to be quite thirst quenching & refreshing.

cup (15): leaves look nice in the cup. opening up. distinct, varieties of green & brown ...
coming alive after rinsing.

i was distracted by something and stopped taking notes. they seem to say it wasn't an altogether unpleasant tea for me, but i have no memory of liking it either. whatever that means.

g. Dayi Label 7542 Pu'er, 2000, Uncooked - Menghai Tea Factory

method: 4.9 gr/100ml gaiwan

aroma in heated gaiwan: toast

rinse (15): clear crisp liquid in pour
sour ring in air
cherry & tobacco in the lid aroma (wet cigarettes?)
pleasant cherry &smoke in cup

cup (10): crystal clear liquid
light - not bitter or sour

cup (15): more orange in the cup
dense leaves so the steep is too slight. some bite but nothing to distinguish it.

cup (20): opening up. slightly bitter but in a good way.
nice aftertaste because of the smoky bitterness.

after a while i wrote in my notes: "nice peppered mouthfeel & glow"

h. Jingmai Region Wild Pu-erh 2003, SFTMt.

method: 6gr/100ml gaiwan

in heated gaiwan: a sour pickled smell/hint, like a memory of a Chinese grocer

rinse (15): sour/sweet ring in the air, favoring sour

cup (15): sour ring in the air
crisp liquid - yellow towards orange
light vegetal in the first sip

cup (20): light & greenish in its taste. needs to open.
some cherry half way through the cup

cup (25): hint of bitter but ultimately not that flavorful
unable to get that much out of it


corax said...

A pleasure to read Gerry's tasting notes, which win the prize for good humor and poetic license and accuracy, etc.

agreed. gerry is a poet. very glad to have your own evocative notes here, as well as stephane's [he links from his post here to his own blog, TEA MASTERS, for the actual text of his comments]

Where are the other notes?

just the four of us here so far. more will doubtless follow; blake has already signed up as a member here too.

i've read a number of people, including most recently you here, who refer to the 'smoky' quality of some puer as specifically a cigarette-smoke odor or flavor. i'm not a smoker, so maybe i don't know what to look for [taste-wise], but i have never noticed that particular note to the smokiness of any tea, puer or otherwise. is it your impression that many teas have this particular *cigarette* note to them? i assume that's never meant to be a compliment. what do you make of lapsang souchong, for example? [and perhaps it's not fair to lump all LS teas together, as there are many sources and probably numerous modes of production, but give us some impression of your reactions to that. is it less unpleasant to you? do you think you dislike most or all smoky teas per se?]

i love the word 'baky.' makes me want to go have a cup of puer RIGHT NOW. hmmm, now *there's* an idea! i have just the thing ...

TeaMasters said...

Yes, where are the others? Busy chasing spammers on Tea-Disc?!!

corax said...

LOL! yes. tea-disc is quite the tempest-in-a-teapot at the moment. but we are, i think, building something here at cha dao that could potentially be a useful resource -- and that would complement the other blogs and websites currently devoted to tea.

Cindy W. said...

Corax wrote: i've read a number of people, including most recently you here, who refer to the 'smoky' quality of some puer as specifically a cigarette-smoke odor or flavor. i'm not a smoker, so maybe i don't know what to look for [taste-wise]

I'm not a smoker either, so I wondered about the tobacco notes that people often identify in yunnans (and sometimes assams). Recently, though, I had an oolong that was sweet and quite smokey (heavily roasted for an oolong) -- my mind took me back to a friend who used to smoke cigars around the campfire. There was always a sweet, fruity smell to those, and that was the scent rising from my cup of oolong leaves.

I suppose it's a natural association, since both tea and tobacco are leaves that are rolled and curled and roasted. For those of us who don't smoke and haven't been around tobacoo much, the association is more nebulous.