Thursday, January 18, 2007

A new Russian tea friend

Update: Click here to read what Sergey wrote about our evening (in russian!)

If the face on the left looks familiar to the Russian visitors who come to my blog, it's not just because of the typical moustache. It's because this is Sergey, a pioneer of Turquoise Tea of Taiwan in Russia. Turquoise is a very nice translation of blue/green or Qingcha. His language skills are excellent and we kept moving from French to English during the whole evening. But most of all he's really very knowledgeable about Taiwanese teas and tea plantations. He often comes to the beautiful island of Formosa and has seen most Oolong plantations in Central Taiwan, I believe. He calculated that he has traveled 18,000 kilometers in Taiwan during his trips here!

We started the evening with an Ali Shan Baozhong (from Wisteria's selection). Flower fragrance was there, very clean, but lack of aftertaste. This is quite typical for what the average young Taiwanese drinkers are after, but not exactly our taste.

Now that we had our supply of hot water, we switched to my teas and continued with the November 2006 'subtropical Baozhong'. Much better indeed! This one has fragrance AND aftertaste. 'High quality leaves' noticed Sergey.

We then continued with the Lishan Oolong of October 31, 2006 (2200 meters). Again, Sergey noticed the oxidation that was stronger than usual and which gave a sweet and fruity taste to this Gao Shan Cha. Sergey has toured Lishan's plantation extensively and has tasted many Oolongs from there. He said this one has the typical Lishan smell. He even told me that Da Yu Ling is not home to the highest plantation anymore. Another plantation has reached over 2700 meters on a nearby peak, but since it didn't get a permit it didn't go public about it. Anyway, the number of trees is quite limited. The feel of the leaves also showed Sergey that this is an excellent tea.

Our talk then turned to puerh and I brewed from my 2003 raw wild Yiwu. He found it excellent too, very sweet and very unlike common raw puerh that needs to be brewed in very short steeps. We brewed it many many times and the Taiwanese business friend who was accompanying Sergey was very surprised to drink such a smooth young puerh.

Just before leaving, I thought I'd finish the evening with my heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin. There was not much time left before Wisteria closed, so I took only a few leave, just enough for one layer at the bottom of the gaiwan. I added water and let it brew for 2 or 3 minutes. Hummm! Sergey had never tasted such sweet roasted Tie Guan Yin! He was delighted to finish with this warm tea (perfect for the cold winter of Russia, I think!).

As for me, I was happy and honored to know how much my blog is noticed by tea professionals as far as Russia!

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