Monday, January 24, 2011

Norbu Tea 2010 Spring Yunnan Mao Feng Green Tea

In my short career/hobby of tea drinking, I can definitely say that I've learned one thing:

Price is not a determinant of quality.

With this in mind, I found some inexpensive greens on Norbu and I figure that I would give them a shot.  4 bucks for 50 grams?  Sign me up!

The leaves were pretty, and had an aroma not unlike tropical fruit and walnuts mixed with ascorbic acid(Vitamin C).

Lots and Lots of buds.

The first cup was close to what I associate as 'Green Tea'.  Sweetness and light, bright flavors that seemed to be overcome by muscatel flavors as well as a flavor that reminds me of the smell of the birdhouse at my local zoo.

"But wait, crazy tea reviewer!" You exclaim.  "Green tea with muscatel flavors?"

Yes, my sane tea blog readers.  This tea tastes very similar to a First Flush Darjeeling.  Every infusion had that flavor, with others fading in and out.

The second through fourth cups gradually faded from light honeysuckle, Muscatel and steamed vegetables into a bitter, rough liquor with a sweet flavor that I can only describe as bizarre.  Imagine a strawberry sitting on top of raw spinach leaves, doused with black pepper.

It only looks innocent.

Cup five continued down that strange path, now with a distinct spicy flavor akin to nutmeg - raw nutmeg, ground up and dumped into one's mouth.  Needless to say, I quit after this point, simply baffled.  Inspection of the leaf showed slight oxidation on almost every leaf.


Different sessions with this tea gave similar results, despite using different parameters each time.  Personally, this isn't my favorite tea in the world.  I'm sure there is someone out there who loves this stuff - more power to them!

Next time I'll be back with more blabbing about green tea.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The New Name

Hello there.

I'm going to be referred to as The Green Poet on this blog from now on.  More tea blogs will of course follow.


-The Green Poet

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2008 Menghai Dayi "Autumn Aroma"

Menghai Dayi is that sort of company where most of us sink our teeth in when we’re learning about sheng pu, or maybe even shu pu.  For me learning about sheng pu meant plenty of young menghai samples.  And while I know better now of the effects on the GI, at least I have a decent working knowledge of quite a few menghai cakes.

Larger leaves than the usual menghai blend

This sample was acquired from JK teas, of which many sheng-pu samples can be acquired for pretty cheap.  I don’t remember how much the sample cost, but at that time, I didn’t care.  I just wanted to try another raw sheng from menghai.

The second cup

5.2 g | 185 | rinse 7 seconds | 5s, 3s, 4s, 4s, 5s, 5s, 7s

While this tea seemed promising with it’s big-ish leaves and sweetish aroma, the first few cups brought forth a moderate smokiness that seemed to prevent other flavors from appearing.  While the bitterness was expected, the harsh mouthfeel and powerful drying effect on my tongue weren’t exactly good attributes.

The most interesting cup of the bunch was the third infusion, where I noted flavors that I hadn’t experienced in a pu-erh before: …”tomato ketchup, smoke, herbs like oregano”.  Smoky tomato sauce pu-erh?  Whats next - Clamato infused leaves?

Cups four through seven were practically not needed, but recorded simply for the experience.  Typical menghai mushroom and sweetness, now paired with smoke, powerful roughness, and  acidity.

Overall, I can’t recommend this.  In my inexperience, I’ve had plenty of teas just like this one, some better than others, some not.  The smoke flavor present seemed to negate any flavor that may have been there before.  I noted a good bit of redness in the leaves,  which could mean oxidation , but I’m no expert at this - I’m a student, as we all are.

A little redness in the leaf.

I’ve kept this sample of this to taste it again in 2015.  Save your money, buy something that hasn’t been monkeyed with.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Yuuki-Cha's 2010 Spring Kanayamidori Sencha

I was brought into the world of Sencha with teas quite similar to this one.

I keep all the bags "Just in case"

The leaves are the largest I have ever seen on a light steamed sencha, or any sencha for that matter.  The aroma, as I recall it, is an intense bright sweetness with hints of flowers and no toastiness to speak of.  If there’s one thing that I actually don’t like in a sencha, it’s the acrid roasty flavor that is seen in some of the inexpensive stuff, and some of the nicer stuff too.  To me, toastiness belongs in Genmaicha and some Taiwanese Oolong.

Long, Aromatic Leaf

140 | 3 grams | 60s, 5s, 8s, 11s, 15s, 35s

I won’t make excuses here.  My brewing on this one was horrid.  Not enough leaf, the temperature was too low, and the infusion times were lengthened to compensate.  Even though the infusions actually came out okay, I resolved myself to never brew tea when I wasn’t feeling well and/or wasn’t thinking clearly due to fatigue.

The first infusion actually turned out fine, with a warm, buttery and sweet combination of flavors accented with a touch of vegetal bitterness in the throat.  I usually swirl the first few sips around in my mouth for 30 seconds or so to get the best flavour from it.  The liquor was smooth, which to me is an indication of good quality.

The second cup had a nice, brothy liquor with fruity accents, much akin to tropical fruit like mango or pineapple.  Along with the hit of fructose(for those of you not familiar, that is fruit sugar), a little bitterness in the back of the palate balanced things out.  The same flavors continued through cup four until cup five, where it dropped off suddenly, turning into pale, sweet green water.

I placed the liquor in my cha hai for better colour

Overall, this tea was just fine.  Later sessions with this tea really brought out immense depth of flavor and a rather powerful sleep inducing theanine rush.  Also, the one-cup at a time rule, which means only brewing enough tea to fill up one of my yunomi - seems to help as well.  If you’re an asamushi fan as I am, give this one a try.