Inspired by Yumcha's Gaiwan post: Remnants of a past I decided to document some of my inventory, collected over a period of short tea time. I hope this could serve as a visual history for my future reference. Never know when will be the next victim of my floor....
I have recently stop collecting random Gaiwans, but my interests in collecting Korean pottery have grown... specially the edo style tea bowls. Thanks to MattCHa from his passion and dedication to this rare and emerging art form.
My Wuyi SX finally gave after 11 days and a long last night session... or shall I say, I gave up? This morning, I tasted the last overnight steep. The fragrance still attracts my craving, it will go on and on like rose/sweet corn water if I continue.... But I guess Phyll and Sal had enough of this experience : ) Should we try a vintage puerh next... for a full month : P
This is a gift from my lovely wife. We found a very nice tea/pottery shop in Seoul this year and this is the result of our visit, plus fond memories of course.
What's in it? Korean tea from Matt's kindness gift. What else will be more suitable? I think I will age this ddok cha at least for a year before consuming. I'll be patient and it should be rewarded by more great memories ; )
Per Eileen's request, I am explaining step-by-step method of "Detail Tasting". This is by no means a traditional method, practiced by tea master. It's simply a method I and Michael developed, based on our try with success and errors.
First of all, you need 3 vessels. A brewing pot/gaiwan and 2 tall cups which hold the same volume of the pot. Why two cups? The 1st is to pour the brew in, then transfer the brew into the 2nd cup for drinking. After the transfer, 1st cup becomes the smelling cup which one can appreciate dry cup smell of the fresh brew. The second one is for slow drinking, after consumption, you can then compare the dry cup smell from the 1st cup to the 2nd cup.
Always smell and look at the tea after a overnight or 2 days brew. Smell the lid first and look for signs of oil or mold developing at the surface of the filled pot. Instinct and intuition play a big part in tea drinking, at least for me. If your gut feeling tells you not to drink, then just try a tiny slurp and discard.....
A step-by-step pic. for a flush steep after a overnight session. From Left to Right: 1. Pour out the overnight brew to the first cup and drink slowly. Enjoy the smell of the dry cup afterwards. 2. Refill the pot with boiling water. 3. Close lid and seal the pot with another pour. 4. Observe the surface of the pot, until all the surface water is sucked up dry. (You kinda have to feel it for timing) 5. Pour and drink the flush brew. (Traditional Cantonese Kung Fu will always dry up the previous pot by hanging it vertically (as shown on the far right pic. This is to drain out all the remaining water from the pot before the next steep.)
PeekABoo! What's in the tub?
After the first flush steep, probably after the 3rd day of "detail tasting". I will then do a double vessel brewing for the overnight or 24 hr. steep. This double heating technique can extend the high temp. inside the pot for a longer period of time. Tea addicts will apply this technique to vintage puerh. Also works with good quality Long Jin, instead of boiling water and a yixing pot, I will use luke warm water for the brew and a gaiwan. Then fill half way up with boiling water for the outer vessel. (That will be another pots next May : )
This is the 7th weeks brew at the tea gallery. Michael used 18 grams of this 04 SX tea in this large Gaiwan for the test. The back is the 2008 harvest, on its 2nd weeks.
After a long journey to find the origin of Kung Fu tea, from Chaozhou to Anxi and Wuyi mountain in China, the frustration of a deeper understanding of what Real Kung fu means still lingers.... Until 2 years of testing and tasting with Michael at the tea gallery, the result is this SX from Wuyi San....
Second day of tasting. The tea made a turn from masculine to scholastic this morning. Cigar to floral, acacia flower fragrance to be exact. First thing I did is to taste the overnight brew: lychee and floral notes, hint of tobacco sweetness around my mouth. Following with a rush of sandalwood coating my throat, creamy apricot aftertaste. I then pour boiling water into the pot, awakening the leaves again. The distinctive aroma of this refine fired SX covered my tea room, what a talent this tea master processes.... The man who is responsible for this addiction is under 40 yrs of age!
Wuyi or Anxi (high fired) is "crafted tea", or perhaps "Real" Kung Fu tea.
Why? From picking trees to aging such tea involved skills and experience every steps of the way. The reason why this tea outlasts every others is that, the master firing had penetrated to the core of the leaves, without changing the nature of its character. Almost "preserved" it. It tastes very normal for the 08, but if aged properly (btw. Storing/aging this kind of oolong is 10 times more work than puerh.) The tea will develop like fine wine.
Traditional Kung Fu tea drinkers might brew only 3 steeps, ending the session in less than 30 mins. For my experience, if you can find a tea which can outlast more than a month, does that mean I have been wasting all the precious ones for my entire tea drinking life? Or is it only a mere 1 % of the tea I did crossed path with deserving this kind of treatment?
How could a tea keep on going after days of days of abuse, without fading or molding-up, but continuing to develop? Will find out how this marathon ends. The subject is more than 200 yrs old SX bush from Wuyi, refine fired 4 times from May to September 2004. The Kung Fu of this firing had penetrated into the core of the leaves without distorting the character of the tea.
3/4 filled, 1 sec. brew until the 5th brewing. Tastes like Summer mountain spring water stream, passing along the hot sun soaked moss growing next to rock. Clear, fragrant, and full of energy. What will be better to pair with an 1990 vintage Cohiba Robustos.