Thursday, September 08, 2005

Corax on Chongqing Tuocha [mixed?, early 1990s] Chongqing City, Sichuan Province

--- color: dark chocolate brown with russet highlights
--- constituency: a solid chunk, reluctant to crumble
--- aroma: nil

TEA-TO-WATER PROPORTIONS [grams to fl oz]:
--- 4 g to 6 oz

VESSEL: gaiwan

--- time: 90 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: medium amber
--- aroma: fairly earthy though not terribly musty. this aroma dissipated almost entirely within a few minutes.
--- taste: earthy; more musty on the tongue than in the nostril. but there is a sweetness, almost an underripe peach, that enlivens the whole experience.

--- time: 90 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: medium amber [but darker than INF1]
--- aroma: still fairly earthy, but less musty than INF1
--- taste: stronger and more earthy than INF1. the musty note is more pronounced, and lingers on the tongue afterwards.

--- time: 1 min 45 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: dark-medium amber [darker still -- hmm]
--- aroma: about like INF2
--- taste: remarkable. this tea is getting *stronger*. perhaps the infusion-time for INF3 was too long; there is the slightest hint of a bitter note here. the mustiness is also more prominent.

--- time: decanted twice, at 60 and 90 sec [call them 'i' and 'ii']
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: [i] medium amber; [ii] noticeably darker -- what a difference 30 seconds can make.
--- aroma: [i] much attenuated; still some earthy, less musty. [ii] about the same as 4[i]. dissipated as time went on.
--- taste: [i] smoother by far than INF3, but of course a much shorter infusion. [ii] wow, *noticeably* more earthy/musty than INF4[i]. but no hint of bitterness as noted in INF3. was my tongue playing tricks on me?

--- time: decanted twice, at 60 and 90 sec ['i' and 'ii' again]
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: even darker amber? these are about the same, both a medium hong
--- aroma: both about the same -- and both like 4[i] or so.
--- taste: ditto: [i] and [ii] here were not really distinguishable. the major taste here is must. as before, no bitterness, no astringency, but the aftertaste -- metallic -- did linger on the tongue.

COMMENTS: if there's sheng puer in this mix, i'll eat my hat. [LOL] no, actually, i can believe that this is indeed a mixed tea, because -- while one's immediate taste-experience makes one think of shu -- there is something markedly different about this tea: something that sets it apart from every other shu i've had. it can certainly hold its own with any of them. [of course i say that as someone that definitely prefers sheng.] i do wish i had not let the third infusion go as long as i did. that may have been a pivotal moment for the tea.

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