Posts Tagged ‘Infusion’
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Pu-erh tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with 3-4 g of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times.
The chance to try this tea is something very special. Unfortunately, despite how special it was, I am not honestly sure which of Canton Tea Co’ Pu’erhs this tea is. “Canton Beeng Cha” is all that the label says, and from my limited knowledge of Chinese, I know that a “Beeng” or bing is a round cake of pu’erh. “Cha” is merely “tea.” That being said, I can be sure that this is a pu’erh!
I begin this session of tea by bringing some water to a boil, after which I rise my gaiwan, small pot, and teacup to preheat them. It is pretty amazing how much of a difference preheating ones teaware can make on the taste of the tea that follows. Next, I measure out about one teaspoon of this tea into my gaiwan. I typically use more than this for gong fu brewing (quick and multiple infusions), which is what the directions on the label seem to imply, but for now we will merely follow along. I perform a quick rinse of the leaves with hot water to “open” them.
The dry leaves have a very vegetal aroma, suggesting a raw pu’erh. Yet there is an underlying smokiness and clear, fresh smell to them as well. The first 20 second infusion is performed. The wet leaves smell more malty now, yet still slightly vegetal. Much to my surprise, the tea brews a very pale green. This is very interesting, and not at all what I was expecting. This first infusion carries a very thin flavor. It is clear and fresh, with a smooth, vegetal aftertaste. As per the instructions, I go ahead and resteep the leaves, figuring that it will be different in the second infusion.
Mmm, this tea really kicks it in gear with the second infusion. The vegetal pu’erh flavor floods the taste buds. It is incredibly smooth and just slides over the tongue. I am truly impressed. I put it through several more steepings, and this tea just keeps on impressing. Normally, I prefer cooked pu’erhs to raw pu’erhs, but with a tea like this, I can hardly afford to be biased. I would give this tea an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the 2010 Xing Hai Raw Beeng Cha directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: Tao Tea Leaf (website)
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Warm up the tea ware before steeping. Rinse the leaves: Pour some hot water in the Gaiwan/Yixing Teapot, swish the leaves around a bit, and pour the water off. It really brings out the roasted smell and flavor of the tea. Then begin your infusion using the recommended directions. Gaiwan/Yixing Teapot: Use about 5g (2 teaspoons) each time ; Steep at 93°c (200°F) to 100°c (212°F) water for 50,20,20,30 second for the first four brewing; then the later is about 1 to 3 minutes. You can steep more than 9 times. All the information is based on our tea sommelier’s testing. You can change the steep time according to your personal favor but any water temperature alternation is strongly not recommended.
Wendy’s is pulling out the old “Where’s the Beef” commercials. And this is shaping my reaction to this tea, because I want to say “Where’s the Flavor?” because this tea was boring. Just flat out boring.
Opening the packet, it smells good. Rich and earthy, like a pu-erh should be. But brewed up, nothing stood out. I tried steeping it longer, and it didn’t help. And after three steeps, any flavor that was there was completely gone. This is NOT typical pu-erh behavior. Pu-erh should be able to be steeped for at least 4 or 5 steeps. I’ve had some good pu-erhs go all day. I’d forgive fewer steeps if the flavor was there, but with neither in place? This tea jumps, headfirst, into my “don’t bother” pile.
This tea might work for you, if you like the idea of pu-erhs, but the flavor tends to be too strong or too earthy for your tastes. But honestly, I’d just reccomend a really good puerh with short, quick steeps. I’d go with another of Tao Tea Leaf’s offerings instead.
You can purchase the Imperial Pu-er Classic (Shou) directly from the Tao Tea Leaf website.
Tea Company: Tula Teas (website)
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
I did a bit of background research on this tea, revealing that it was indeed grown in New Zealand and that this is one of three different varieties being produced there at the moment (the others are Zealong Dark and Zealong Aromatic). Unlike the other two, this Zealong Pure features “sweet, fresh-tasting leaves” that are “unroasted, bringing out the pure, natural flavour of the tea” (zealong.com). Their website suggests 1 tsp of leaves per cup of water, infused for a minute (at least at first).
Opening the package, I take in the aroma of the dry leaves. Sweet, very clean-smelling. They are rolled into balls, reminiscent of a ti kawn yin oolong. I prepare the water, freshly boiled, but not still boiling. The first minute of infusion goes by. The steeped liquor smells fresh and slightly floral. The leaves have a very vegetal aroma and still smell quite sweet. Sipping this first cup is a joy. From the smell of the liquor, I expected a much weaker brew than what now dances around on my tongue. While not strong, this oolong does have a full body – floral, fresh, and with just a touch of that natural sweetness.
Eagerly, I go ahead and steep the leaves again, for the suggested one minute. The leaves now have taken on a fuller aroma, more “juicy,” but in a floral sense. The smell of the brewed tea is still subdued, but after the first cup, I know this subdued aroma could hold great flavour. I can tell that the flavour has gone, somewhat, from the leaves, in comparison to the first steeping. It is, however, still there with the sweetness becoming a bit more prominent and equal with the other flavours.
The third steep is for two minutes (as per the suggestions from zealong.com). The longer steep-time has brought the flavours and aromas back in line with the first steeping. Full bodied, perhaps even a bit stronger flavour-wise than the first infusion. Ah, it is still delicious, regardless. I go ahead and put this tea through several more steepings. The zealong.com website makes the claim that it will last six to eight infusions. I am satisfied, and gladly would rate this tea a 92/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Zealong Pure directly from the Tula Teas website.
Tea Company: East Pacific Tea Co (website)
Ingredients: not listed online
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep time: 1-2 min Water temp: 175 degF
Interesting name for this tea. I don’t know the reasons behind such a name, but I’ll take a stab at it. First of all, it is a white silver needle tea flavoured with Jasmine, so possibly this is where the “white” came from.
When we hear of tiger, we think of something that is fierce, strong, powerful; East Pacific’s White Tiger is none of these things, at least not at first; indeed the word “white” in front may bring ideas of calmness, clean, mellow, and softness. The jasmine flavour is natural tasting, not artificial. It is very fresh, things I would find synonymous with the word “white.”
Or perhaps the moniker “White Tiger” has more to do with the physical description of the tea – “white” or clear infusion, white pekoe on dark green buds creating a white tiger stripe-like image. It is a fitting name. Like a tiger waiting to pounce, the jasmine flavour does not come out straight away, but once it comes out, the taste lingers, and seems to get increasingly more intense. The jasmine flavour is not as “fierce” or “strong” as a lot of the jasmine teas available today that are just in-your-face overpowering but rather is a “white” :”fierce,” a tempered fierceness if that makes any sense. I like and prefer this to the former jasmines.
I steeped it according to the instructions on the website at a temperature of 175F for 1-2 minutes. I think they have these directions spot on as you get to taste the tea right at the moment where there is a pause if you will and then the jasmine flavour emerges out of the leaf and lingers sweetly in your mouth thereafter as it intensifies. For those of you looking for something different in the way of Jasmines, I would definitely recommend this. If steeped correctly it will taste unlike any other Jasmine you’ve ever tasted.
You can purchase the White Tiger directly from the East Pacific Tea Co website.
Tea Company: Tula Teas (website)
Ingredients: Oolong Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
Another day, another interesting oolong to try. This Taiwanese oolong is purported to be incredibly flavoured, with evolutions of flavour at every steeping. I start off by rinsing, then steeping this tea first for two minutes in boiled, but not boiling water. This first infusion smells sweet, slightly tart, and, in general, fruity. I often find that the leaves, after steeping, have a different aroma than the liquor itself. In this case, the smell of the leaves is far more buttery and creamy, in contrast to the liquor’s fruity notes. This infusion is super smooth, tastes very clean and fresh, and is reminiscent of apples.
Infusion number two, steeped for another two minutes, leaves the leaves smelling more vegetal than before. The flavour of the tea has evolved. Still fruity, there are now spicier notes of cinnamon, as well as floral tones that I had not noticed before.
Steeping this tea for a third time, letting it infuse for two and a half minutes. Still containing notes of cinnamon, the mild fruitiness is quite delectable. Four Seasons is a great name for this tea, as it evolves and changes like the seasons of the year, with every infusion. I highly recommend this tea for lovers of oolong, and I would give it a 91/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Four Seasons directly from the Tula Teas website.