Posts Tagged ‘Smattering’
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: big leaf maocha is from the Big Tree, Arbor varietal,Grade 6 leaves and above with some young buds
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Ideally use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with a 3-4 g chunk of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times.
Canton Tea recently asked if we could review their Special Puerh, produced for them a small artisan farm in Yunnan Province. They state that it is made from big leaf maocha is from the Big Tree, Arbor varietal, and consists of Grade 6 leaves and above, with some small buds.
I approached this in their suggested manner, using 4g of leaf, 95C water, doing multiple steeps, starting at 20 seconds per steep. The dry leaf appears to be tightly compressed, consisting of mostly dark leaves, with a smattering of light silver-needle like buds here and there. There seems to be a higher than usual proportion of leaf to stem ratio, favouring the leaf side.
The scent of the dry leaf is earthy, but raw. A definite scent of dried hay, or drying grass on the lawn. I can also detect a slight fruity sweetness, like ripening peaches.
1st steep – just a quick rinse.
2nd steep – 20 seconds. The scent of the leaf on the lid of the pot is wet hay, and the color of the liquor is a rich golden yellow – on the lighter side, not dark at all. The scent is raw, and already triggering a drooling response The taste is very light, and a bit flat. In the mouth it is cooling and fresh, sliding off the tongue, not coating it. The most interesting characteristic is the cooling sensation – telling me that it is a high-mountain Puerh.
3rd steep – 20 seconds. The scent is much sharper, with deeper tones. I think this is giving us a hint of what we will see in 3-4 years as it ages, with a sweetness coming out to play. The astringency is starting to show up – but still playing a background role.
4th steep – 20 seconds. The liquor is still the color of golden nectar, but starting to turn slightly cloudy. It seems to have a bit less flavour than the 3rd steep, but otherwise still the same characteristics.
2011 Canton Tea Special Puerh
[img src=http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/wp-content/flagallery/2011-canton-tea-special-puerh/thumbs/thumbs_pa300005.jpg]50Someone wants to help...
[img src=http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/wp-content/flagallery/2011-canton-tea-special-puerh/thumbs/thumbs_pa300012.jpg]70Puerh steeping in my favourite Yixing
[img src=http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/wp-content/flagallery/2011-canton-tea-special-puerh/thumbs/thumbs_pa300014.jpg]506th steeping - starting to feel slightly tea drunk...
[img src=http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/wp-content/flagallery/2011-canton-tea-special-puerh/thumbs/thumbs_pa300019.jpg]30An example of what this puerh is comprised of. That is a big leaf!
5th steep – 1 minute. I decided to up the steeping time, as it seemed to be getting close to washed out. At 1 minute for the steep, the color is a bit lighter, but the astringency is starting to come out. I can feel it on the sides of the tongue, and a slight tingling in the middle of my tongue. The flavours are still sweet, slightly fruity, and cooling in the mouth. A very clean taste.
6th steep – 1 minute. Now this is what I was waiting for. All of a sudden, the flavour has become very complex, and strong, with a biting feeling in the back of the throat. My tongue is definitely tingling now, and the sweetness has reached an almost candy flavour. It is not as cooling, but there is more depth and character to it now. This is how I envision it in 7 to 8 years from now. This is the steep that I would like to freeze it on – really loving it right here!
7th steep – 1 minute. Back to about where the 5th was. Lighter flavour, sweetness, but definitely starting to feel a bit washed out.
You could probably continue on and easily get another 4-5 steeps out of this before you entirely lose the flavours. As a first year raw puerh – I would say that this is probably going to age very well, the flavours are beautiful and cool, like a high-mountain spring running through a peach orchard. As it ages and gains complexity, it will only get better, I am sure!
As always, Canton Tea never fails to impress. Whether you want to enjoy it young, or let it age and enjoy it later, this beeng cha will not disappoint!
You can purchase the 2011 Canton Tea Co Special Puerh directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: East Pacific Tea Co (website)
Ingredients: Black Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
East Pacific Tea Co. are an op out of Maryland that specializes in bringing high-quality tea to the consumer. Their emphasis is not on creating the best deal for the drinker, but providing the best beverage experience. They know they supply top-of-the-line stuff, and they’re willing to put their money where their cup is. Given what I’ve seen of their selection, I can believe it. How many vendors out there carry both a Chinese yellow tea and a Darjeeling white? Answer: Not many.
I was elated to have received a sample of their Gold Flake. It was actually one I was eyeing for some time once their name came to my attention. It’s no secret that any tea with the word “gold” in the title instantly makes my ears perk. (My ears shouldn’t be able to do that.) To date, my absolute favorite black tea is Yunnan Golden Needles – the younger, the better. While this didn’t look like a smattering of tippy gold buds, it wasn’t an ordinary Dian Hong (Yunnan black) either. There was an almost-even distribution between dark, curled leaves and gold-tipped ones. That and the luscious smell – oh my! It was like freebasing honey off an oak tree covered in muscatel spice. I found no difference between its aroma and some Golden Needles I’ve tried.
Brewing instructions called for a five-minute steep in 212F water (basically boiling). I was at work when I tried this, so I didn’t adhere to a rigid preparation. Usually, with a finer black tea, I only steeped for three minutes. With “gold” varieties, I lowered the water temp to 190F-195F. The hot water I had access to was about what I preferred, but I had no way of properly eyeing the time. So, I guessed as best I could. It seemed like five-or-so minutes.
Unlike Yunnan Gold Bud (or Jin Cha) tea, this brewed up rather dark; I would almost say red-brown. The scent echoed the dry scent, though – a woody, earthy, smoky, somewhat malty, and honey-like aroma. While it smelled characteristically Yunnan, there was also a robust, Assam-like profile to it. This definitely showed in the taste. I expected the usual nectary excellence like Yunnans of yore, but I wasn’t anticipating the sheer kick to the tongue that came after. Malt was there in force followed by an astringent kick at the finish line. More often than not, I don’t care for dryness in black teas. I usually associate that sensation with lower-quality products. That wasn’t the case here. Like with a hearty Assam, the astringent trail added to its already-masculine character. And also like an Assam, it packed a caffeinated wallop that’d roust even the most stubborn of sleepers. This is a meaty, morning tea if ever there was one.
You can purchase the Gold Flake directly from the East Pacific Tea Co website.