Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sharing a cup of tea

in the good company of a fellow tea lover.

I had been impressed that Rich had found out by himself that this winter's Oolongs (and Baozhongs) had some problems. (Note: In November, I had also mentioned the warm weather impact in an article in French.) During our meeting, he told me that he had worked in a tea shop before, which, I guess, explains his good tasting abilities.

Rich likes Oolongs and Tie Guan Yin the most, so we brewed the following teas (in a Taipei tea shop, using a white porcelain gaiwan and long brewing times):

- My November 30 Top grade light oxidized Wenshan Baozhong (luanze Oolong), not reviewed yet due to small inventory,
- My winter 2008 Hung Shui Oolong from Feng Huang, Dong Ding. Calm and sweet.
- Rich's spring 2008 light roasted Li Shan Oolong (very nice and very similar to the winter 2007 light roasted Li Shan Oolong I sealed in jar). Energetic.
- Rich's "old" Dong Ding Oolong. This one was fake (Rich had purchased it without trying). The leaves were simply roasted until they became almost charcoal, very hard. The result is sweet, but the tea is dead.
- My 2005 heavy roasted Tie Guan Yin were the roasting is similar but a few notches lighter and that doesn't pretend to be old.
- Rich's medium roasted recent Muzha Tie Guan Yin.
- My 1990 Hung Shui Oolong from San Hsia, the highlight of the evening.
- My 2006 wild raw Lincang Puerh cake to finish the Oolong marathon.

Drinking tea in another setting was also a reminder of things that are worth repeating:
- The importance of water. Over boiled water looses its liveliness and makes the tea rather flat,
- The importance of presentation. Using the same accessories for all these teas, it was more an exercise in comparison and analysis, less about pure enjoyment.
- Quality is more important than quantity. We spent very little time on the fake aged Oolong. The more we liked a tea, the more often we would brew it.

Note: The blog will be off next week due to Chinese New Year.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Hey Stephane, really great having tea with you! Thanks again for sharing all of your great stuff. The puerh was definitely fine, superior to any of the cakes that I'm aging.