Friday, February 27, 2009

The Tea Gallery

My alluring tactics using this blog had paid off.... After the first success of inviting MarshalN to the mandarin's tea room, I am honored to have Michael and Winnie from the tea gallery to pay a visit. What a lovely President day's tea gathering. Michael's family and financial consultant Jay joining my family to have an early dinner/tea/cigar evening.

What's on the menu? 80's wild loose pu to start and a 06 refined fired SX after, paring with dry aged rib-eye, 2001 aromani and Cohibas to finish. Of course my lovely wife had prepared butterfly sugar pie for the sweet tooth. Paring tea with food, wine, smoke and sweet is quite a task. But this will be my next goal in tea drinking. Perhaps that is why wine aficionados have been adding cheese to their tasting? Ah... cheese and tea! Brilliant.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Chan Master Sheng Yen

Master Sheng Yen who we did the "Footprint in the Snow" book design for, passed away on the 3rd at 78.

He wrote a poem before he passed:

"Busy with nothing, growing old.
Within emptiness, weeping, laughing.
Intrinsically, there is no “I.”
Life and death, thus cast aside."

Art courtesy of Ros & David Cuthbert /

Monday, February 02, 2009

Unknown Aged Traditional Taiwanese Oolong

Haven't really written any tasting note the past year, so I decided to keep a small pocket journal starting this OX year. Did wrote tasting more often when I started this blog in the beginning, but somehow, got tired of it.... Why, perhaps when I started drinking tea in a tasting/evaluation model, it can go knuckle-head really fast. In other words, boring and uninspiring.... All I wanted is what I want in a tea with my expectation, over-control or even selfishness, and that's no tea drinking fun.

So, my 2 years of re-education, appreciation and humbleness hope will bring me closer to the light.

Stéphane ( sent me this in the Spring of last year along with the Eastern Beauty swaps.
I've been keeping it in a safe place, because I want to enjoy it more when I had re-evaluated myself and trying hard not being a hypocrite.

No Idea what this tea is, or the detail history... I think it is a high elevation oolong, and very old.... really well aged. Could be something more than 20 years? Looking at the leaves and smelling the dry tea, I decided to pull out my High Fired, medium thick walled Taiwanese pot.

1. From which vendor, farmer, source.
2. Date of Harvest
3. Elevation
4. Soil based
Soil not rock
5. Which area
Lishan or Dong Ding
6. Kind
Traditional Oolong
7. Fired level
8. Bush age
30yrs +?
9. Grade
medium high
10. breathing tea before brewing
1 week

Brewing vessel, water:
1. Water source
Poland Spring
2. Aged or fresh
3. How you boil your water
4. Temp. for the first 5 steeping
Full Boiling
5. What kind of brewing vessel
Taiwanese clay/high fired/15 yrs old
6. What kind of cup to drink from
Small Japanese Sometsuke 18th Century.

Brewing Parameter:
Amount of leaves / half pot
Rinse time / Flush
Set time / 3mins
Infusing time / flush
Height of water pouring / 9 inches
hitting spots / rim

Result of the brew:
Color / Bright Brandy
Aroma / Chinese medicine. Chan (aged) smell
Texture / Light, clean
Mouth feel / Sweet and refreshing, hitting the sweet spot back of the throat
Effects of the brew / Great mellow chi, like drinking a sheung aged puerh
how many brews / 20s an on going

Drinking time of the day / Sunday, 40 degree, 2pm ish
High/low humidity / 50s
Rainy, Snow or sunny / Sunny with snow on ground, light wind.

1st brew tasted like a vintage puerh, even smell like one. I prefer the effect of the brew after drinking and a nice dry cup smell, more then the initial front of mouth taste.
2nd brew is minty, clean and refreshing, with intense floral started to build up at the back or the throat
3rd brew is amazing fresh sweet prune. Floral, Youth, Pure high mountain shower, light but complex, magnolia flower, very fresh effects
4th on aged citrus peel and lingering sweetness.

Thanks again to Stéphane for another wonderful High Quality Taiwanese traditional tea.
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