Monday, December 19, 2005

Cui Ya from Silk Road Teas, G-CY-1

This is a Chinese Green, organically grown.

DATE PURCHASED: Oct. 27, 2005

DATE BREWED FOR THESE NOTES: Between 11/2/2005 and 12/17/2005

DRY LEAF: Relatively thin and straight, olive green, with some variation in width and some broken leaf. Little aroma of dry leaf.

WET LEAF: Very green in color; slightly spicy aroma.

TEA-TO-WATER PROPORTIONS: I experimented with ratios from 1:2 to 1:1 [grams to fl oz]

BREWING VESSEL: Gaiwans of 4 and 5 oz. capacity

Most of my trials were brewed at 140 F, with 1:1 ratio of water to leaf, from around 1:15 minutes to 2:30 over two to three steeps. Trials at 1:2, as expected, yielded a still more ethereal brew.

The first steep presents a light, subtle, refined green-vegetal character. Sweet meadow grass, not too astringent. In at least one trial I noted a long finish. Lovely sweet/tart interplay. This is a delicate tea.

A second steep yields a fuller, rounder cup with a bright flavor profile; sweet grass remains but with the sensation of fresh-greenness diminished in some trials. The characteristic that remains throughout many trials (at temperatures up to 170F) is its satisfying, quenching, sweet/tart character. In one trial, I noticed a nuttier nuance. Astringency increases in later steeps.

A third steep yields much the same profile as the second, but lighter in flavor overall.

In some trials, I noted a buttery or creamy mouthfeel to this tea, and I can't explain that because the parameters were much the same. Perhaps it was my mood or tastebuds.

By mid-December (1-1/2 months after purchase) I notice that the flavors of this tea have diminished. This may be due, to some extent, to my storage (original package with air expressed) but I think it pays to take note of its delicacy and enjoy it while it is fresh -- which is the main point with delicate greens, to be sure.

COMMENTS: All told, I find this a lovely tea well worth experiencing.

Joe Kubera

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