Thursday, September 08, 2005

Corax on Xia Guan Iron Pu'er Cake [Sheng, 2002], Xia Guan Factory

--- color: dark brown with flecks of khaki brown [including stems]
--- constituency: very solid, sturdy compressed flake of tea
--- aroma: virtually 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: very faint; slightest vegetal note
--- taste: delicate; less vegetal than the aroma

--- time: 60 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: medium amber, slightly darker than INF1
--- aroma: fainter still
--- taste: more assertive than INF1; bitter/woody; noticeable astringency, harsher than INF1

--- time: 60 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: medium amber, more like INF1
--- aroma: approx like INF2
--- taste: milder again, slightly less astringent, same bitter woody note as INF2

--- time: 60 sec
--- temp: 195-200F
--- color: pale amber
--- aroma: virtually none
--- taste: extremely mild; both the astringency and the bitterness are gone here. but i wonder if i ought to have made this infusion a bit longer [back up to 90 sec?]


COMMENTS: this tea demonstrates what the progression through various infusions can show. at INF1 i felt it was an extraordinarily delicate tea; by INF2 i had drastically revised that notion. i assume this has something to do with the highly-compressed nature of the dry leaf: even the sample was very sturdily compacted and did not crumble easily. this must inevitably affect how much flavor can be released in a 90-second INF1. by INF2, in contrast, the tissues had separated and moistened enough to begin to release what they have. [re compression: danny, posting to the newsgroup on sunday 050828, writes: '"Iron Cake" refers to the pressing machine which presses the cake into the discus shape. There are, I think, broadly 2 types of mold from this machine press: one which gives you a flushed edge and a surface fully spread with small bumps, and another which gives you a meshed surface and a tapered edge."]

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