Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Mandarin's Tea Room

We started with 2 new puerh cakes from Yi Dao. A High Mountain Wild Tree, and a High Mountain Before Ming. We had 3 rounds on each one and that was it... this factory is still at a very young stage searching for it's identity. We wasted no time and cleansed our palate with a late 80's 8582. A Hong Kong storage cake, but good enough to bring us back on the train.

Brian Kirbis needs no introduction to the Mandarin's tea although this was his first appearance inside the red room. Being the first timer here at the Big Apple, I played as a proper host to have dinner at the Katz's Delicatessen with their Pastrami on rye extra juice, Reuben, Knoblewurst and fries. Until our tummies were filled with grease and beer, great preparation for a long tea night.

My lovely wife passed on the occasion, since heavy tea and habanos will be our surroundings. She retired early and let us monkeys run the place.

We revisited the 8582 on its 4th steeping and then jumped into the hard items. Brian introduced one of the most amazing yiwu I've ever seen: 可以兴茶砖 brick from 1995, the original family recipe. The brick was beaming with energy, glossy surface and warm glow, the construction and the amount of pressure to press it is optimum. He brewed it with heart and concentration, making the Cha Qi welcoming, rather than aggressively imposing. 'It took me a couple of years to do this...' he said. 'More like winning the heart of a Dragon Lady', I kept the reply to myself.

Around 5g in a 150 ml pot, full boiled water, flash rinse and 5 sec. of 1st steep. Fresh Orchid, warm dry wool, bamboo forest, and dense liquor. The Qi surrounded us, instead of exploding inside us. 2nd cup, I was in a trend.... bright and focused, light and warm. Speechless on the 3rd..... amazing.

Feeling lost, but understood we can not do another young puerh after this yiwu. I pulled out a '83 DHP from the 2nd generation bushes, hoping the Yan Qi will cut the Yiwu, but it faded into thin air. So, a 80's high fired aged Anxi Xiping TGY, Kung-Fu style in a 40 ml blue pot. Crushed powder lining half the pot and filled with whole leaves on top. 'Bring It On!' Brian's '01 Cohiba Siglo II was kicking into it's 2nd stage. My 2nd 2007 Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 of the night was burning rapidly on it's 1st stage....

'How do you feel, Brian?' 'Good, good, good.' trying to keep the flame going. The smell of aged Habanos and high fired TGY filled up the room. The place felt alive again, after my 2 weeks of absence working in China. An excellent way to warm the house.

11:15 pm. We have to part.... my 3 days of insomnia and jet lag had taken its toll. A couple of amazing gift from Brian, tea for me and a Moscato d'Asti for my wife. Charming! Just Charming.

I was too drunk to clean up and the Qi from the yiwu put me to sleep right away. Thanks again for a wonderful event Mr. Kirbis, and best of luck to become a East Coaster again next fall. Till then, you have to pursuit your happiness, so that we could have more mandarin's (boy's) time once you move to upstate!

Previous Meetings: MarshlN, The Tea Gallery


Scott said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. Hopefully I'll be able to taste half the puerh that you do. And a quarter of the Habanos!

toki said...

Thanks Scott for your kind words. Glad that you are on board with this kind of paring : ) T

Zero the Hero said...

I'm always fascinated by the fact that you combine cigar and tea sessions; I find that smoking anything really dulls my olfactory senses to the point where I'd almost rather not waste good tea on myself. Do certain cigar/tea flavors complement each other better than others? Your blog is always a pleasure to read and look at...

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