[from an email to corax. posted by permission.]
Yi Wu Wild Puerh Qizi Beengcha [sheng 2003; Factory: undeclared.] 5 grams in the sample package. Dry leaf: green range. Largish leaf. 5-oz glass gaiwan. Water: just off boiling. One quick rinse. 3 min rest. 15s, 10s, 35s, 2 mins
1st infusion: Liquor typical color range for YiWu of this vintage: yellow-orange. This first infusion is very sweet! Very little flavor to remark. Very mild aroma.
2nd infusion: Predominant flavor is still sugar. Little pu’er character. No fruit, no spice. High range, but no tang and no pungency. I should have used far less water for these five grams of tea—maybe as little a 2.5 ounces.
3rd infusion: Hotter water, much longer steeping. I cannot make it strong. There are many people who would like this tea since it has a very clean taste, but I have developed a liking for pu’er that has authority and lively flavor. I am accustomed to pu’er that carries some strength through the parameters as outlined above. Perhaps I should have brewed it differently. I knock. Nobody answers.
4th infusion: Steeped much, much longer. There is more fruit, more tag, more authority now. Small samples are very difficult to judge, maddeningly so. I would love to re-visit this pu’er and change my parameters completely. This tea does have an excellent aftertaste, almost like a very good green tea.
OVERVIEW: Tasting these teas from Stephane and Danny has been a great experience for me, and I am extremely grateful, greatly grateful! The experience reaffirms that taste is a matter of taste, and the experience is in the taster. I can never say that one tea is great and another tea is bad. I believe teas have missions, and I try to think of what a tea is trying to accomplish. Also, my tastes develop over time from all of the pu’er I’ve had, and my criteria of evaluation grow from that experience. As an example, I do not care for opera, but I cannot say it is bad, for that would make me look foolish. I can say that opera is not to my taste. Further, my ability to taste changes day by day. Finally, I have much to learn. That, of course, is the best part of the equation.