Burning Incense to Clean and purify tea rooms is a family tradition. Remember I use to help lit them every saturday morning.
For thousands of years in China, fragrant smoke has purified the air and comforted individuals who were in physical, emotional, or spiritual need. Building up a "burn" is an art all by itself, I call it "Kung Fu smoke". Tossing a few fragrant wood atop smoldering coals is the best way. Sound easy? One has to try and burn their finger tips off before a mild and continues stream will occur, much like using a gaiwan for first time brewing. Kung-Fu=Practices!
Here is my incense aloe wood. A choicest use in the family since I was little....
Toke this pic at the Tea Galley today. Michael was kind enough to break-out this 1995 SP. A limited edition made by the only living tea blender (80+ years old) from the original family, whom been making this legendary puerh from the Late 18th Century. Costing close to $900 per pound....
I must ask, what are the blends? Aged Citrus peel, camphor, mint, talcum.... a complex layers and notes. No Yiwu nor Nannuo characters.... Very puzzled but amazed.
Yesterday is 15th Day of the First Moon of the Year, It's the First Full Moon of the Year, and Chinese Valentines Day. And also my lunar birthday, since I do not have a birthday every year except this year....
To celebrating the full moon with my lovely wife, I broke out a little of the blue label for enjoyment : )
I did came across some amazing toucha before, mostly are mixed raw & cooked. But haven't try any interesting Mushroom yet... Dig up these few mushrooms and tou, which had been neglected in the storage for quite some time. Nothing interesting at all, no qi no layers, really, quite boring.... Best part is, the mushroom are good to look at and the box for the tou could be a good decor piece : )
I wonder if the raw materials which make such pressed tea are lower grade, or just not the best quality stuff?
This is a 15 years old Dahongpao, got it from a trip to Wuyi Mountain 2 years ago. I am lucky enough to be introduced to a 2nd generation tea farmer, from one of the biggest factory in the region. As a departing gift, he introduced me to this well aged tea from his archive.
Personally, learning to love and appreciate this tea take more time then puerh. My experience lead me to some interesting pointers:
1. Use a wide body yixing is a must. So the leave have enough room to expend. 2. A darker clay yixing will be better*. 3. Dedicate at least 3 days of brewing for each session. 4. Don't judge it until it is all finish. But do enjoy the ride.
After the first 7th steeping, usually I will call it a day. The tea should have given out the first phase of drama, and now should be rested. How? Pour boiling water into the pot. Using a deep tray as base and fill up half-way, so the pot is sitting half-way inside hot water. Leave it until next morning for 2nd phase. Taste the cold brew and repeat every 12hrs. until it becomes sweet water.
That's way a darker pot* will be better. If you use a red or lighter color pot, the rim of the lid will have a dark visible line. I know you can clean it later, but it will interfere the visual appeal of the session.... : P
A good age Wuyi or Rock tea should have a journey of a good drama movie. Bringing you up and down and to unexpected results and pleasure. But do not expect this ride for a younger tea. At least 5-10 yrs + before it can develop such characters, almost like a puerh.
Since is the year of the Rat (my favorite sign). I am revisiting one of my '05 most expensive purchase. 2000g / 999 limited edition from Menghai. Got the 1st and 6th cakes from this series. Even helped the owner to redesign their wrapper....
I did submitted this to the '06 taste-off on the puerh community blog. I don't think the cake been "Fever" much since my last tasting in June '06. But something interesting about the brew I wanted to mention.
I observed these color changes many many times. Specially when I neglected the brew or let them sit overnight.... The color certainly changes to a deeper hue, and the liquor usually thicken up, specially from aged oolong or sheung/shou pu. More obvious in Bad Cooked pu, it turned to a thick soup. I don't know if this is healthy or not. But I usually chuck it : ) If you thinking about bottle tea, ain't it the same?
Anyhow the top pic is the color changes during a 24 hrs. period. Why and what is happening within this transformation? I am far no scientist or any thing tech. expert..... anyone?
I guess these bricks can be considered as "puerh lesson" in my book. A mixed sheng (80%) /shou (20%) puerh bought in '05. Great color and complex body when first tasted.
But it's not what the label says: Pure Dry Storage / Menghai wild amber tree / Pure GREEN brick.