Sunday, December 17, 2006
It's true. If there had to be only one tea in the world, there's only Yunnan gold for me. The more hardships I eat, the more I value comfort over complexity. I am always a sucker for dian hong's malty maple roundedness which makes me feel all is right with the world even if it's only a cupful so.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Just a gimmick or does it really enhance the tea. I'm on the gimmick side of the fence although the idea itself is lovely.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
These are douji cakes she rightly chose along with a obligatory stack of Yinji 6 FTM which is a regret. But gifts of pu-erh are always accepted with gratitude.
Monday, October 09, 2006
It is very difficult to get any information on vintages. Can anyone even make a generalization that 2007 was not a good year because of the hyper-inflation in maocha?
Monday, July 17, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I never liked the gaiwan- white porcelain is too clinical for me. I feel too burdened by using a yixing pot as my style is too much wrongfu. I love my rustic Korean teapots best.
This little wee teapot on the left from Insadong is perfect for brewing tiny amounts so I can have several sessions of pu-erh. The giant teapot on the right is made in the traditional Korean way with firewood and potter's wheel.
Monday, July 10, 2006
I also see on pu-erh.net that Mike doesn't do business with them anymore due to bad experiences.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Raw pu-erh is reputed to have a cooling effect. However I've had young shengs with so much qi that my hands and head would heat up after a few cups.
I can't imagine the cigarette tasting smoky brews could be too good for you...
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Scott(YSLLC) says he doesn't pack beengs in airtight plastic as they can also mold inside them in the month of transport. Even if I received a refund, it's always sad to see good tea gone to compost.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The wikipedia says
" The very best Yinzhen are picked between March 15 and April 10 when it is not raining and only using undamaged and unopened buds". I wonder if this is for the Fujian only and the Yunnan which is warmer can produce good Yinzhen earlier? But with global weather patterns going haywire, nothing can be relied upon.
Monday, March 13, 2006
"The names of these historic mountains were Youle (copper gong), Mangzhi (copper boa), Manzhuan (iron brick), Yi Bang (wooden clapper), Gedeng (leather stirrup), and Mansa (seed-sowing bag).
We do know that of the mountains considered to be the famous Six by the mid-twentieth century, many had fallen into extreme disrepair due to large fires, over-picking, or neglect. As a result, in 1962 a new group of Famous Six Tea Mountains were named based on the best tea producing mountains at the time - Yiwu, Jingmai, Menghai, Nannuo, Bulang, and Youle. All of these mountains had been famous for many years, one of which, Youle, was a member of the original Six.
Throughout the years, another Famous Six were designated from Jiang Nan (south of the Mekong River) and include some of the mountains from the 1962 list. These are Mengsong, Nannuo, Menghai, Bada, Nanqiao, and Jingmai."
According to JingTea's description:
"The tea that is harvested from the Yi Wu Mountain is always considered as the best quality in Yunnan. There are only a small number of productions made of the real Yi Wu tea each year due to its very limited producing area."
Youle Mountain is the largest I've read which makes me mad about my first bad purchase from 7 cups. Bah.
Sheng. I prefer the taste of the tongue ripping green tart brew of raw puerh. The cooling flavor notes you get with green- grass, artichoke, hay you do not get with cooked or too aged pu-erhs. Who knows as I age with my beengs, I may change as well in time to enjoy an aging cake.
I may wrongly prefer frangrant beengs to cigarette butt beengs. I guess fortitude is what makes a good cake for aging but I like the teas best which transforms the water into cooling spring water.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
I go manically from praising this tea to cursing it for not being able to stand up to a cookie.
Friday, February 24, 2006
"This is Xia Guan’s newest old idea (let me explain). Many years ago Xia Guan (in the 50’s) used iron to press the teacakes it was an idea to improve the productivity rate by using a machine to press the cakes. After the results Xia Guan was not impressed with the teas result they said using the iron instead of the a wooden press by hand made the tea packed to tight and did not allow it to age properly. They stopped making the tea with the iron press and went back to the wooden press. Many years later they realized that the tea even though slower to age in this way turned out better then wooden pressed cakes. Years later they refurbished the press and made a limited amount of Iron cakes. A top grade limited Iron pressed cake is what you get that will only get improve with age."
Xia Guan cakes are painfully tight and require the utmost kkung kkung power* to pry off even a tiny amount of leaves. Does this mean tightly compressed tea ages better or is this nonsense marketing fluff to justify modernization and price cutting. Giant factories could not crank out the volume that they do in the old manner of stone pressings.
*Kkung kkung. Koreans emote these sounds when struggling over anything physical.
"1. You may remember the 3 techniques to dry pu-erh leaves:
- Under the sun: this is the standard traditional technique. Such pu-erh has then the best potential to age well if the drying was well done.
- Frying the leaves on a big wok: this gives the leaves a smoky smell. This smell will gradually disappear over time. While not as good as the sun, for aging it shouldn't have such a big impact.
- Baking the leaves in an oven. This technique doesn't give the pu-er the smoky smell, but it destroys some of its aging properties. It makes for a very fragrant young pu-er, but this kind of pu-er will not improve, just decline over time, like lightly fermented oolong. To recognize such pu-erh, watch for a more reddish brew."
Does this mean Xiaguan is baked? Drats. Is my cigarette beeng a fried cake? I've read you want strength and smoke in a cake to age well. The strength is not indicated by a knock out astringent flavor but something of the cha qi present in my HLH Banzhang.
"2. A normal ratio of white tips:
There is a fad in the current marketplace to sell very fragrant (baked) pu-erh. Because of this, some are even producing pu-ers with white tips only or a very large numbers of white tips. This is especially typical of plantation pu-er, since their leaves are regularly harvested in their young stage. I have also seen some cakes with pu-er flowers on top of them. The problem is that such leaves contain too much water and this creates acidity over time."
I love them white cakes for easy enjoyment but since they won't age well, I had better drink 'em up this decade.
"3. Strong, wild leaves have the best potential
The ratio of white tips for wild pu-er should be lower than for plantation pu-er. But they should not have disappeared completely either, otherwise it may be that the cake is made up of only old leaves. The very best pu-erh I have encountered are wild. They have the strength and potential for the longest and best aging. And if you like them young, then you should love them as they grow old."
What is the true meaning of strength? Is that fortitude of brew to last beyond the 10 brews? Is it fortitude of flavor? Or the cha qi? Could there be tea with extra punch cha qi but can last only a few brews? Why is there more questions than answers in the pursuit of pu-erh.