The weather calmed down yesterday.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The weather calmed down yesterday.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I made two more infusions, but the sweetness and milkiness were already gone. Instead, they were replaced by more vivid bitterness and somehow brusque woodiness.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
As I’ve already mentioned in my previous post, I got this mysterious sample for free along with other things I bought in one local tea shop. The owners of this shop visited
This tea was produced in Meng Ding this April, completely made by Japanese method of processing Shincha.
I was really looking forward to try this.
Dry leaves are almost indistinguishable from high quality Japanese Sencha (or Shincha, if I want to compare these two.) Long, dark-green shiny needles with marvelous deep, fresh smell. There is also a little bit of this characteristic Shincha plasticity and stickiness in these leaves, too.
I had a funny dilemma about how to prepare this tea – I mean, whether to use Chinese gaiwan, or Japanese kyusu teapot. I decided for the first one, as this, after all, still is Chinese green tea, even though it doesn’t look nor smell like one at all.
The shop owner told me that this tea should be prepared just the way you usually prepare Japanese Shincha, therefore with slightly higher temperature of water (80˚C /
First infusion was a little bit too mild, although I let it brew for quite a long time – longer than I formerly wanted. I think these leaves needed some time to awake.
After the first infusion, leaves were already emitting that wonderful milky, creamy fresh smell of good Japanese teas, accompanied with subtle, almost imperceptible fruity tones, typical for Chinese spring green teas.
Second infusion is already bold and vivid, with deep creamy taste and outstanding freshness. There is also a little bit of delightful astringency, caused by higher content of water in dry leaf -another characteristic so typical for traditional Japanese Shincha.
Third infusion is very similar to the second, with astringent tones growing a bit stronger.
I also made fourth infusion, but the taste was already fading away, being weaker and less outstanding. Fifth infusion would already be futile.
This tea left me confused. It was wonderful, but… If Chinese are already this good in imitating Japanese teas, will we be able to distinguish real teas from Chinese “fakes” in the future? I mean… it still isn’t the same, it still misses something that can be found only in Japanese tea, but they are somehow getting closer every year.
However, it still was a nice experience and pleasure especially for me, being so impatient for fresh Japanese teas these days.
My real Shincha is supposed to arrive around May 26, so at least I hadn’t died of abstain until then. :D
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Marukyu Koyamaen teas never let me down. Therefore, I’m not afraid to buy anything from them without previously trying it – I had numerous of their Matchas and Sencha teas, each of them really delicious and unique in some way.
Luckily, there is a shop in my town directly importing most of their products along with other wonderful teas and pottery from all over the world. I’ve also got a sample of some 2010 steamed green tea from Meng Ding, completely processed in Japanese method – which I will review next time, hopefully.
According to Marukyu Koyamaen website, “Kawayanagi teas are made from the thick and big leaves removed during the sorting of Kabusecha and Sencha. Kawayanagi teas have only small caffeine content. They are gentle and mild with a fresh smell.”
So this is, in some way, another waste material.
And Japanese tea waste materials always seem to be wonderful.
After opening the air-tight package, heavy herbaceous smell, reminiscent of fresh mint leaves fills the room. It really stands for its description – the smell of dry leaves is very fresh, actually much fresher and somehow lighter than in usual Japanese teas.
Dry leaves are mostly long, flat and shiny-dark green, containing some stems as well.
This tea is really quite refreshing, with dominant sour and seaweed-like tones. The infusion is bright Sencha-green, although it lacks the typical opaqueness present in most Japanese teas. This goes along with the lack of milky, creamy tones which can be found in most high-grade teas, but are completely overbore by vegetal, refreshing character here.
First infusion is very mild, decent with slight scent of mint. This tea is obviously quite different from classic Japanese teas, being much more herbaceous and less “full” in character.
Taste doesn’t change that much in further infusions; I would only mention that it gets a little bit sourer with each new pot.
Another difference is that Kawayanagi is able to produce more infusions than regular Sencha or Kabuse teas; I prepared five satisfying infusions on this session.
When I taste the leaves after last infusion, they are surprisingly sweet, leaving absolutely no bitterness in my mouth. Leaves are also bigger than in most Japanese teas, but after all, it’s written in the description, so it would be strange if they won’t. I also noticed the beautiful shape of these leaves – maybe it’s caused by their size, but they aren’t so broken as in Sencha and their color is really nice, too.
As I’ve already said, Marukyu Koyamaen teas never seem to let me down. They always stand to their description very closely, so that you always know what you are buying.
And this tea is definitely worth a try, at least because it’s so different from “regular” Japanese green teas.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
(At least I was able to go out and pick some new flowers, even though I got drenched to the bone. It was still worth it.)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I miss spring sun.
(note: this photo was made before this actual session, because I wasn't able to capture the actual color of infusion today; that explains the natural light here.)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It already is spring for some time, the season I like enjoy to its fullest - and I usually drink mostly fresh Chinese teas nowadays – but today, I was just in a right mood for something different.
I purchased this tea in a local teahouse about half a year ago and, as I found out today, there still is a little bit left on my shelf. It’s Wen Shan Bao Zhong from the 2009 spring harvest.
My probably most favorite part about this Bao Zhong is the smell. It’s hard to define – some would say floral, some spicy, some would say anything. I would say it’s simply the smell of Bao Zhong. Personally, I can also smell something slightly similar to dried bananas – it really is a very complex, unique scent.
The infusion is golden yellow, different from green teas and different from jade oolongs – just as I would expect from Bao Zhong. Same goes with the taste – it’s neither green nor oolong, as it’s rather unique on its own. There is a little astringency in it – that kind of astringency you have to like, because it just goes with the whole character of this tea perfectly. It’s also fairly present in this tea’s wonderful, long aftertaste.
As you can probably see, I’ve got inspired by Matt’s wonderful blog and brought some little flowers from my usual walk today - and actually, I was really surprised about the good feeling these two bitsy florets fetched into my room. It’s wonderful just to look on them quietly, while sipping the tea from cup.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
After the fifth infusion, the tea started to loose it's smell and taste very quickly and I knew it's the end of my small morning session. I tossed the leaves out of the pot, unfolded them on the tray.