31 March 2010

Tea at Work: Imperfect Pieces

Brewing green dongding oolong at work, in a cup & pot I created. The green glaze is my own recipe.

This glazed pot brews "wrongfu" green oolong particularly well. Problem is, the lid's foot (which serves as its knob) is too short to remove the lid easily, a task made more dangerous when the pot is full of boiling hot water. Nonetheless, it pours well, with no dribble.

I made the cup to test a green glaze I formulated. Tiny bubbles suspended in the glaze are responsible for the depth of color, and they float above the throwing lines. I hadn't intended this but like the effect.

Two imperfect pieces finding use--very satisfying.

At work, my teas of late have been:

  • Cheap roasted dong ding blended with medium roasted da hong pao: the DHP was boring, the dong ding a tad sour. They balance each other well.

  • This $99/lb green dong ding: a very forgiving green oolong purchased in Chinatown.

  • 2005 or 2006 CNNP fulushouxi shu puerh square: classic heavy fermented shu pu, leaf grades 1 through 4.

  • "Long jing" given to my late father by Chinese friends at the senior center

  • Random sheng puerh samples: latest was a purple pu'er no longer carried by Puerhshop.com that looked and tasted like Da Xue Shan / Xiaguan "wild tree" teas.
What's in your cup at work?

08 March 2010

Final update on 2007 6ftm Hong Yin

One final update on the 6ftm Hong Yin cake. I returned to the place of purchase, and they had put up laminated product promotion signs for each of the "famous label" reproductions by Six Famous Tea Mountain Factory. Each one offered a flavor profile, but most notably the laminated sign for the red label cake indicated that cake was "good for long term storage with no change in flavor"!
Had to laugh.

06 March 2010

Followup on 2007 6FTM Hong Yin

I brought the remaining bit of the Six Famous Tea Mountain 2007 "Hong Yin". Brewing the tea at home birthed a very different animal than the same leaves brewed at my office.


For one, the liquor is not orange! As below, it's a pale yellow. Cloudy through the first two infusions, which I didn't notice at work.


Also, the flavor is very different. At work, the tea was monotonous, pleasant, biscuity, floral. Davin best described how this tea tasted at home: "if you served this to me without me knowing what it was, I'd assume it was overbrewed jasmine tea". Nauseatingly floral, very bitter, and not much under it, we quit drinking the tea after 7 infusions: it developed no new flavors, lost no strength, and it made us quite hungry.

At home I use water stored with a piece of bamboo charcoal and two maifan stones (granite, basically). At work, I use filtered water rather devoid of minerals. At the office I brew in a stoneware pot, at home I used a basaltic clay gaiwan.


The chunk I had left came from close to the center dimple of the cake and took two long rinses to decompress. Unsurprisingly, the leaves pictured above look much more broken than is typical for this cake. You can tell it's a blend, and probably not all hand-harvested.

As for what will become of it over time, who knows. I own no more of it, and that causes me no distress.