Posts Tagged ‘Steeps’
Tea Company: Hampstead Tea (website)
Ingredients: Fairtrade black tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use one sachet or level teaspoon of tea leaves per person. Brew with freshly boiled water and infuse for up to three minutes
It has been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and relax long enough to review some teas. I appreciate all types of tea but the tea that I’m having today is really special. It’s a Darjeeling and it is beautiful. It appears to be a second flush, dark brown, thin leaves with a sprinkling of tips. The dry leaves smell like typical black tea only a bit more musky, reminds me of my grandfather hmm. This is the first time I’ve had tea from the Maikaibari Estate (Kurseong, Darjeeling in West Bengal ,India) and I get the feeling I’m going to be impressed with it.
Steeping it in boiling water for three minutes. It has settled to a light orange color with a sweet and still musky scent to it. It does appear to be a Summer flush, possibly a late Summer though… The tea tastes rich and full, a bit sweet, with a perfect muscatel after taste. The color has lightened after a few steeps but the flavor is still strong. It is spicey and warming, perhaps more of a winter tea, but I am still going to cold steep some for later.
Love teas from India, also love that this one is organic and Fairtrade certified. Can’t wait to try more teas from Hampstead, the quality in this tea and its packaging is outstanding.
You can purchase the Organic Fairtrade Darjeeling directly from the Hampstead Tea website.
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: Lochan Tea (website)
Ingredients: Black Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
Indian tea estate names are fun to say and to think about: Goomtee, Moondakotee, Namring, Tumsong. In the case of Thurbo Tea Estate, the name evolved from “tumboo,” the Nepalese word for “tent.” Evidently, British troops set up camp there in the early 19th century. Had they had the opportunity to sample this excellent first flush tea, they would have permanently occupied the plantation!
Historical kidding aside, this is definitely a Darjeeling to linger over. The dry leaves are a light greenish gray with plenty of those blond tips that tip you off to “this is really going to be nice.” The first whiff was almost reminiscent of chocolate–dark and sweet.
With water just under boiling, and 3 1/2 minutes or so, the tea steeps into a beautiful honey color, but don’t let the lightness fool you–this has plenty of flavor. Close your eyes, smell the steam, and you’ll wonder if you accidentally put your nose in a bottle of Welch’s unsweetened grape juice.
Newbie tea drinkers often wonder why they can drink cups of certain varieties of tea and still feel a little thirsty. That’s astringency (I’m so proud of myself when I learn new tea tearms!) and Thurbo Darjeeling has plenty. The champagney-grape flavor puts a puckery wrinkle in your tongue and lips, which makes it that much more desirable to take another sip. And another. And another.
You can find Lochan Teas directly from the Lochan Tea website.
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: peppermint, lemon peel
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 5 minutes, 208 degF For stronger flavor, steep longer.
I love the way that Tea Forte does herbal blends and this one is looking like it’s not going to be an exception. It smells beautifully tart and minty, perfect for a chilly bedtime brew. The tea bag is looks to be filled mostly with peppermint leaves but I can definitely see lemon peel mixed in with it.
Steeped it in boiling water for 7 minutes (I like my herbals stronger) and it infused the water to a nice light color of mint tea. The scent is now more tangy than tart and the smell of mint is invigorating. It’s tastes clean and fresh with no trace of the artificial aftertaste that I sometimes get with mint teas. Yes, Tea Forte did it again, I really like this blend. It’s perfect if you need to feel warm and refreshed at the same time and the full flavor lasted through three steeps.
You can purchase the Citrus Mint directly from the Tea Forte website.
Tea Company: Grand Tea (website)
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed
My first visual impression of this compressed green pu-erh was the bottom of the leaf pile I raked to the curb two months ago that the city maintenance crew still hasn’t picked up. The first smell impression was a strong memory of Grandpa Jenkins’ damp cement-block garden shed resplendent with rusty spades and bins of stored potatoes. Which, lest you think otherwise, is not an unpleasant recollection.
Since my sample didn’t come with an instruction manual, I averaged the best advice I could find online and among acquaintances. Starting gingerly with a nugget the size of an unshelled almond, I gave it a quick rinse with hot kettle water. With water just underneath boiling, I steeped the first batch in a two-cup pot for a minute. The garden shed smell was still prominent, but the taste was lighter and mellower than the eau de potting soil I was bracing for. Almost maple-sugar sweet and leafy with a thickness on the tongue that I don’t generally associate with green teas.
The second steep, since I declared myself over my initial apprehension, was allowed to go a whopping extra 30 seconds. Color deepened just one tint from golden to dark amber, and the sweetness intensified equally.
I’ll end this narrative with Steep #3 (2 minutes, 30 seconds), which is still darker, still sweeter, and apparently still viable for several more steeps. As a newbie to the pu-erh spectrum, I think I should skipped Steeps 1 and 2 and just started here. Thanks, Grand Tea, for providing an afternoon of entertainment and analysis, as well as proof that even an untutored and clumsy tea preparer can learn to appreciate the personality of this unusual variety.
You can purchase the Year 2000 – 7542 Green Pu-erh directly from the Grand Tea website.