Sunday, February 24, 2008

2006 SFTM Yi Wu Millenial Tea Tree

This has quickly grown on me. Teddy brought me a bing of this and we tore into it in the kitchen at my old place a few weeks ago. It was the first cake I've ever seen cut open, and fittingly the first cake I've spent my own money on. I'm not sure really how to begin to discuss this, but the biggest thing I enjoy about this particular pu-erh is the almost minty flavour that hides in it. From the initial rinse, I was almost positive that this was going to taste like beef jerky and campfire, but regardless, one rinse and it was delicious. I've got this cake on it's way right now, so I will definitely write more about it. From what I've read so far, that minty menthol flavour is referred to as camphor. From what I've been told, it's a telltale sign that the tree was old, and close to camphor trees, which causes the minty flavour to seep into the leaves a bit.

Here's my tasting notes from the last time I drank this:

The kettle is screaming at me and I pour the near-boiling water over the dry leaves of Pu-erh to do a rinse and my nose is overtaken by that familiar earthy minty campfire day after aroma. I haven't heated the water back up and I refill my clay tea thinger and steep my first infusion for only 15 seconds. A very clear, golden liquor awaits. The minty aspect is stronger, while the earthy scent, although present, feels more like a passenger in the back seat. I can't get over this new aroma and how much it reminds me of so many things that I love. It also smells ever so slightly of a miso soup I was once so fond of. Waiting for my tea to reach an enjoyable temperature, I took a look and even though I've seen it many times before, I'm blown away by how large the leaves remain in tact.

First thoughts for a second go at this tea; I like it more than I did last night. It's smooth and leaves a small tingle at the front of my tongue. I've been told this cake seems overpriced, but it's still fair to say that it tastes as good as many more expensive teas and pu-erhs. I still can't say it's better than many of the lesser expensive pu-erhs I've had. I finished my first infusion and I have that happy heart and warmth I was missing the first time I tried this.

Second infusion, about 25 seconds with the same water that had been cooling down while I drank the first cup. The liquor has a slightly more amber hue to it, although I can still very clearly see the bottom of my cup. The minty vibe has died down and what remains is a mild flavour with a fairly brisk afterbite. It sits in my mouth long after the tea is gone, and although not as exciting as the first infusion, there are new flavours that are too faint to put words to. Maybe the third infusion will shed more light. I'm starting to get the tingle back.

I want to try some new teapots. I read today that some collectors trade house & needed possessions for rare kettles made by master crafters. I hope I never lose my mind to the point where I'm responsible for another life when I sell my house for the sake of the perfect cup of tea.

As I end this second infusion, the last sips are bitter, but have enough flavour to keep me interested. At this point I'll coast. Eric just invited me to play him in a game of Advance Wars.

Afterthoughts: The above was all written a few weeks back. I'm eager to give this one another go, and hope that I'll be able to keep writing my thoughts here and sharing them with other people.

Mug Pu-erh

I guess I'll start with a little about myself. I'm a lover of teas; mostly green and white. I'm a father. I play Go whenever time permits. I'm a very laid back individual, and I've recently fallen in love with Pu-erh. This is my place to learn and grow with something that is such a simple pleasure and hopefully make a few friends in the process.

I'll start by saying that at the moment, I know very little about the world of Pu-erh. I know it mostly comes from the Yunnan province in China, and that there are raw/shu and ripe/shang pu-erh cakes, or bings. I know that a bunch of bings wrapped up in a bamboo case are called a tong. Tongs usually consist of 7-10 bings. I'm stretching here, because I really don't know much yet. But here's what I do know.

Making tea of any kind, especially pu-erh is a very relaxing process and I'll without a doubt be doing it for years to come. That said, I need a place to keep track of my thoughts. A place to put everything down and share it with the rest of the world. That is my goal.

Generally I've enjoyed all of my teas in vintage coffeemugs. Big stocky mugs with a single handle that welcome you to walk about while you're sipping. That's how I drink it for now. I'm on the fence about ordering and authentic tea set. I like the coffee mugs, but despise the flavour of coffee. Go figure.