Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blind tasting....

Blind tasting tea is always a lovely idea. I can always let my imagination run wild, testing you taste level and learning from a wide range of speculation. So far, Mr. M (MarshalN) is on top of my list.

The careful planning and the skill of drama shown in the arrangement of these samples were artfully executed. I am not sure how deep his knowledge is to all his samples – meaning the understanding of what exactly the grade, storage condition and age these samples are. But I do believe he is fully aware of the effects of these tea. A job well done!

I received 4 samples a couple of weeks ago, numbered by 1 to 4. After a week of tasting with various tea heads from the Tea gallery, or still continuing the last sample. Here are the results:

Number 1: Hey, this is not oolong! This long and SX like 10 yrs +- leaves may perhaps be Luk An? After 4 cups of it, Michael and I were very puzzled. He then pulled out a 1976 Lui An for a comparison. Overall initial character is sweet and amber-like with a bite to it, the liquor appears to be a little cloudy. The ending notes both presented with a beet-like taste and wheat-like favor. Is there a storage problem? Too much circulation when aging or been air-out too long? Is LA popular in Taiwan? Specially the full grown (big leaf) version.... hmmmm.

Number 2: Classic fired Min Nan Oolong. Judging on the de-stemmed leaves, this could be TGY grown in Anix and brought to Taiwan. or Taiwan TGY but using traditional Anix method to process? Good solid classical Kung-Fu, but only last a quick satisfing 4 cups of it. I guess the roasting skill is more enjoyable then the grade. Well aged also! Overall taste is sweet, mid-roasted TGY. Sticky/dry mouth, numbing to lips with talc-like rose fragrance and clean finish.

Number 3: Here is Mr. M's skillful arrangement level (in my opinion). This tea is a filler! The cleanser of the course. The sour sorbet that balances back your palate from the starter and the appiteizer. A not so well aged Oolong from Taiwan? The first cup of this promising fragrance light/mixed up/re-roasted/aged/Taiwanese/leftover Oolong didn't deliver on its taste. Tricky but clever steps.

Number 4: This is the MAC! I would say 35+ years? (Michael predicts 50 yrs.) Long leaves Min Na Tea. Could be a Taiwanese cultivar? But have Cliff tea structure to it. Both Michael were convinced that this is a type of puerh in the beginning! Well, tricked again by Mr.M. and Really Good Drama, I have to say. The dark liquor was mellow in the first 5 brews, enjoyable with very very good Chi.

Then the ride began, after the 6th brew. The floral unleashed with an well aged puerh taste! Talc/grandma's face powder overwhelming the palette. Well stored tea, no sour or fire taste at all. Great throat effects. We stopped on the 12th brew last friday and been brewing one overnight steeping until this friday. The end result is Korean red chili powder the kind that you make kimchi with! No joke.... Michael from the Tea gallery has not given up this tasting yet, we'll see if we can break the record of 4 week-long brewing. We'll continue...

The third week of tasting #4, ending with sweet floral notes. The body of the tea is still holding: Mild pepper, earthy and spicy. I hope Michael from the Tea galley can help me with more details. Not done yet.

1 comment:

Bill said...

It really sounds like you had fun! This is what tea is all about!


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