This tea is sooooo special. Probably the tiniest whole leaves you can find. After having spent previous days with the samples of loose Pu’Er and its big leaves, now it feels like moving from Lego to Nanoblock… These leaves are exquisite and tender. Observing their irregular rolled shape this morning, I found that they remind me of calligraphy made with the finest possible brush. I opened an album by Qi Baishi ink paintings and – yes, it’s exactly that!!!
Making sense of tea means, among other things, learning to better talk about the experience of tea tasting. Here again, we can borrow some wisdom from the world of wine. Below are some ideas from the book “Wine: A tasting course” by Marnie Old. Basically, […]
This tea is the greatest dancer. Full stop. If this is not enough to guess, let me add that it on its own it can compete and win against overloaded green tea latte, like David against Goliath, in a battle for good health.
What else? Taste wise, this tea can make you time travel to spring and summer: Superb vegetal, herbal, vanilla and nutty aromas, supported by mineral notes. It tastes sweet with just a little touch of astringency for a balance.
Of course, I am talking about Long Jing(西湖龙井）
This morning it made a fantastic pair with a quick and healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs, avocado, asparagus spears and a few nuts – I made it just without bread.
Because Long Jing really likes to be seen, just use the most beautiful water glass you have. Throw in just a small pinch of dry leaves (less is more here), steep and enjoy the ballet while you are preparing the rest of your breakfast.
For the music, to get a little kick in the butt, an oldie – He’s the Greatest Dancer by Sister Sledge
Have an excellent start of the week
When I think how a good tea should be defined, a quote by Chekhov comes to my mind: “People should be beautiful in every way–in their faces, in the way they dress, in their thoughts, and in their innermost selves”. I think the same of a good tea – it should be good in every way: from dry leaves to liquor.
And what if one of the aspects disappoints? Discard or give it a second chance? One of the loose leaf raw Pu’Er samples I tasted today was a disappointment. Well, rather a rollercoaster.
Not that I had high expectations. It was spring tea 2016 from Yi Wu mountain, but not the highest grade, besides long dark spiral leaves, it had quite a few twigs.
However, the aroma of dry leaves was good, mineral warm, with a few animal undertones.
And then – boom! – infused leaves, besides mineral, marine and slightly smoky aromas let out an odour of stale dump cloth, you know when you forget a dump swimsuit in a bag and take it out one day later… the defect was small, but enough to be slightly off-putting. I hesitated whether to throw the sample straight away, but then decided to give the liquor a chance.
To my biggest surprise, the liquor tasted very balanced and rounded. I even compared it to a few other samples, and it was good or better… So, we went from good to bad and good again, yet not enough to get a great tasting note – i stick to my opinion that every aspect should be good. However, i think we need to taste not so good teas from time to time to better appreciate really good ones… what do you think?
So, no food pairing ideas today. Instead, music pairing: two nice ladies singing about the same thing – things getting from bad to good thanks to our loved one – in slightly different manner:
Aretha Franklin – Natural Woman
Dido – Thank you
This is a tea whose looks maybe confusing: you can take it for pu’er while it’s not. The cake smells like a dark chocolate bar, with some vegetal and animal hues like tobacco and wet leather. Wet leaves aroma reveals stronger végétal and spicy notes. Liquor whose colour resembles that of Sauternes is amazingly delicate and smooth and rounded, without a single touch of astringency. It’s aged white tea compressed in a cake – Fuding Bai Cha, 2012.
It will be interesting to compare it in a face to face battle with Bai Hao Yin Zhen and Bai Mu Dan – stay tuned!