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Tea Appreciation

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Mandrake9072, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    what's taiping houkui like? i've been working my way through some taiwanese tie guan yin and am almost done
     
  2. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    I have not really dialed in on the optimum way to make it, mine may be a little stale, and my gaiwan may be a little small.

    So far I would say it has a very mild, smooth, lasting astringency. Its sweetness is more like that of wild flower honey, but the taste is not aggressively floral. I gets notes reminiscent of bourbon. It tastes more grilled (like vegetables) than toasted. I really have not gotten my head around this tea yet, so take this with a grain of salt (though the tea is not at all salty).

    Edit: Which tie guan yin? I have found that of the Mandarin's Tea Room quite enjoyable

    Big leaf (each is about 3 inches long):
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
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  3. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    honestly my chinese is pretty bad. i can only read the letters that say tie guan yin and am too lazy to google every thing else. from what i can tell it just says that it's really good tea on the back. was a gift.

    sounds good i'll keep an eye out. i find it hard to trust anything that claims to be long jing, but never had any really bad ones
     
  4. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    I must have tried a dozen of the best shi feng long jing tea providers known to teachat (so online merchants; mostly in May of 2011). Postcard tea and Hojo tea were the best but are quite expensive (about $1.5/gram and $3/gram), and it takes about 5 grams for a 100ml pot/gaiwan (my best pot is 140ml so I need about 7 to 8 grams). Jing tea shop has some cheaper options but for their best it is also about $1.5/gram, also if the pot I got from them is any indication of quality, they know how to spot high quality clay. I have bought from lifeinteacup for a few years in a row, and they are slightly cheaper and have the traditional cultivar (as opposed to #43; well at least in past years).
     
  5. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    I can't recommend Postcard Tea enough. Excellent tea made exclusively at small farms. All organic which is actually a big issue in certain seasons in China when pesticide spraying is rampant.

    Lifeinateacup is also good, but I have just found Postcard to be an easier option.

    From what I know of the Mandarin in NYC no one has heard from the operator in a bit.

    You are pretty close for the Houkui, although if I recall there shouldn't be a lasting astringency and the veg taste should be somewhat lite. I don't think it was a tea that responded well to very hot water, although I haven't made it in a while.
     
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  6. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    I think it was that I was using water that was too hot (maybe 180 to 200 °F), when I used cooler water (160 °F) it turned out more as you said. I also used a larger pot to give the leaves more room to open up, though I don't think that would have as large an influence as temperature.
     
  7. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    I've brewed it in small and medium vessels so it shouldn't be too much of a problem, but glad the cooler water helped.

    Just to give some general recommendations.

    The Lapsang by Postcard is easily the best I've hard by far. Long delicate leaves with a sweet but delicate smoke. Never had another one like it.

    The "Nath Assam" is the best all around Assam I've had. Lots and lots of maltiness with no bitterness. Very reasonably priced too.

    The Summer Darjeeling from Subarna is also excellent, but a bit different than your standard Darjeeling. Very little to no astringency. Almost like a muscatel with hints of assam maltiness and oriental beauty sweetness.
     
  8. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    I'll remember to look at Postcard when I am buying more tea but I have about a kilo I need to get through first. Just checked and saw I had #43 and Trad cultivar from the same Meijiawu producer; that could be a fun comparative tasting.
     
  9. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    Yes I would be. I've tasted the producer's tea and it has a whole range of flavors depending on which batch and harvest.
     
  10. Yardsale

    Yardsale Senior member

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    I started at tea company called Tea People: http://teapeople.us

    If you guys ever need a discount, let me know!
     
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  11. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    Any recommendations for a good tea room in London that is not too formal or expensive? About 30 GBP a person or less.
     
  12. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    Are you looking for afternoon tea (the one with all the cakes and stuff) or just tea?

    Still recommend Postcard for just tea.
     
  13. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    Tea at a place that I can sit down at drink it, afternoon tea is fine, but it does not need to be afternoon tea. Definitely will be going to Poastcard, so maybe another place to try as well?

    Edit: I will also likely be going to Kent Wang, and they have tea, as well as many other nice items.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  14. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    That is cool, I didn't know that.

    Chinese Tea Shop by Portobello Road is great, but very small.

    There used to be a nice shop in Spitafield that closed unfortunately.

    Sharps, by Tottenham Court, is a great tea and coffee shop that is also a barber shop.
     
    2 people like this.
  15. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    Thanks. The Postcard Tea site had a ton of places listed in London, and I had no idea how I could figure out which ones were worth checking out (maybe most), but it is great to have recommendations from a fellow tea lover. The "Chinese Tea Shop" looks very interesting, and I saw Sharps on the list on Postcard's site.
     
  16. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Can someone rec an online store that sells full leaf Ti Kwan Yin at a reasonable price?
     
  17. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    Jing tea shop is where I would get it. It is under wulong and an xi. The address is jingteashop.com
     
  18. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Thanks have you tried it from this vendor?
     
  19. indesertum

    indesertum Senior member

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    Could you explain a little bit about long jing cultivars? Also what makes a high quality clay/how would you spot it?
     
  20. BenjaminZeev

    BenjaminZeev Senior member

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    I don't remember if I have had their Tie Guan Yin, but I have had a number of thier Wu Yi oolongs, as well as Dan Cong, Shi Feng Long Jing, and a number of others over the years. For the past few years I have mostly ordered green teas from LifeInTeaCup, but my friends that are more into oolong and red tea have gotten good stuff from Jing.

    There are a number of Long Jing cultivars, but most are either fall into the category of traditional cultivars (of which I have only had Jiu Keng Group) or the #43 cultivar. In Long Jing tea the earlier the harvest date the more valuable the tea. #43 tends to have early harvest dates, pretty leaves, and in taste many people think it is just as good as Jiu Keng Group.
    Here is a picture of Meijiawu village Long Jing tea from one farm. The top is group, the bottom is #43. The group leaves are larger but (I don’t think you can see it in the picture) some have small amounts of white fuzz. The #43 is small but I didn’t see any fuzz. Small size is generally considered better, as is the presence of fuzz (which can form small balls).

    Given that this is the first time I had two tea made in the very same farm, same season, both from about the same date, differing only in the cultivar, I’ll be comparing them based on the wash and the 1st cup.

    #43 has a warmer sweeter taste, its characteristic chestnut flavor is obvious.

    Group has a subtler, dryer, and more complex taste. It has the chestnut but also undertones of almond.

    I like both very much. And tend to order from Da Fo, Meijiawu, and Long Jing, both traditional and #43 cultivars.

    As for the quality of clay? I think the only way to really tell is to smell it. Some clays have characteristic smells, and it should be obvious if it smells that way. Also if it smells bad, that is bad. I have two Duan Ni pots. The first is very well made but didn’t have much of a smell. The second is a complex design but not as well fitted, it is made of clay that smelled like hot rocks/sand which is what I read it should smell like. It was a very pleasant smell, I was very surprised how notable it was when I stuck my nose in it. I don’t think you can tell the quality of clay without smelling it in person.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway I'm am an amateur at this so look around on other forums, like tea chat, and tea related blog, to find out more. LifeInTeaCup has a really good blog with much written about Long Jing tea.
     
    3 people like this.

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