Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Changes in Tea Drinking & China Chadao Event: Zeta (2011 Douji "Pashi") and Eta (2010 Douji Pure Series "You Le")

Most definitely my style of drinking tea has changed with the move to Saskatchewan. I wake early and drink simple tea from a beautiful buncheong five person tea set by Korean ceramic master Kim Jong Pil, then at the office I drink tea from a ceramic one cup pu-gak style tea maker by ceramic master Huh Sang Wok while enjoying the view from the window, then a few times a week I travel two blocks down the road to Life with Tea & Art Ltd. to drink from a full Chinese Tea set up on a wood table with yi xing pots and porcelain cups. These last two samples from the China Chadao Event were sampled with tea shop owner Bill Hanbiao Ye. They were done over conversation and very informally. The following notes reflect both my and Bills opinions of the samples...

The Zeta was the only sample that I didn't get to try before reading Hobbes posting. In the posting Hobbes explained that it is a 2011 Douji "Pashi" Special Maocha.

The very long dry leaves contain lots of vibrant sweet smells in the mix of many light hairy mao cha. They smell of deep perfumery sweetness balanced with a slight light sugary pungent edge.

The first infusion delivers very light, sweet taste, very pure tastes. There is lots of odour in the cup with florals and full sweetness taking charge.

The second infusion was left for a good minute (oops) over lively conversation. The result is full of deep tastes of malty depth as well as sugar cane and wild flower high notes. A cool sensation is left in the mid-throat as it opens gentley. A malty-sweet sugar cane taste is left in the mouth. This long infusion delivers a nice balance of depth and sweetness.

The third infusion is another long steeping (double oops) once again caught up in good conversation! Again this pot displays a nice balance of deep bitter-sweetness and mainly sugar cane high notes. The qi of this tea is very calming on the mind- it has a profound impact on ones perspective.

The fourth infusion is much the same as the third but deeper notes are now exploited even more. The throatfeel reaches a deeper level in this infusion. The mouthfeel is fine but full.

The fifth infusion shows fatigue from the longer steeps at the beginning of the session. It stars loosing its kick but still has a very nice throat feel. There is a barely melon sweetness linger in the mouth.

The sixth and seventh infusion are much the same, watery now. The qi from this session is very mellowing.

The next tea sampled the following day was coded "Eta". This tea was also steeped up in the teahouse.

The dry leaves contain only a weak, distant odour. The faint smell is almost mushroom with a faint ambiguous sweetness that is hard to grasp in this mix of a few longish hairy leaves mixed with dark browny-greens.

The first infusion is very rich, velvety, and buttery. This creamy initial taste is somewhat expansive in the mouth and throat- finishing cool in the throat. There is a butterscotch aftertaste on the breath. This first infusion has only a bit of depth- mainly just smooth tastes.

The second infusion gives us a strong bitter-creamy initial taste with a slight rough mouthfeel. The creamier, malty tastes are drowned out by the bitter heavy edge.

The third infusion is much the same with bitter tastes becoming even stronger now. A single malty sweet taste underneath emerges more in the aftertaste.

We steep this tea for a few more infusions and conclude that this tea is likely of single mountain origin because of its monotone taste. We surmise it is likely around 2010.

Guess: Either 2010 Douji Pure Series "You Le" or "Yiwu"
Actual: Pure Series "You Le"


Monday, August 26, 2013

China Chadao Event: Epsilon (2013 Douji "Phoenix Tour")

This was the fifth cake from the China Chadao Event. Okay, so we know right away that this is a shu puerh right?

Its brown-black medium large leaves are contrasted by smaller rusty coloured furry leaves. It smells of a fishy-gamey-meaty stench.... Mmmmm... shu puerh.

The first infusion delivers a flat-smooth taste with very light mineral aftertaste. There is still a bit of very light meaty-gamey tastes in the background. The mouthfeel is very slight and mineral on the tongue. A soft coolness enters the throat.

The second infusion is still quite smooth with slight mineral taste but much more of a strong cool sensation in the throat. The gamey tastes have disappeared leaving a very vibrant cool menthol in the throat to be enjoyed.

The third infusion delivers with a slippery, mineral mouthfeel that is mainly on the tongue. It has a deep clean-meaty taste with a lingering cool throat feel. The qi of this tea is strong and induces palpitations, and darting rushing thoughts. The mind feels free, if not a bit edgy from this tea. Wanting to sleep tonight, this tea is left until tomorrow morning.

The fourth infusion prepared the next morning has a smooth mineral, barely fruity edge to in now. There is a slight barely noticeble creaminess then a very cool finish in the throat.

The fifth infusion is fairly flat and washed out now. It tastes of faint-flat dirt-mineral. Much of the cooling sensation in the mouth has left.

The sixth is flat and tastes of bland metallic earth.

Guess: 2012 "world peace" or "phoenix tour" shu?
Actual: 2012 Phoenix Tour


Friday, August 23, 2013

China Chadao Event: Delta (2008 Douji "Hong Da Dou" Brick)

This is the fourth mystery sample from The Half-Dipper's China Chadao Event. The dry leaves smell of distinct bitter-sweet cherries.

The first pot delivers a mellow grainy taste initially then slight creamy-fruits move under this base grain taste. It has almost malty-aged edge to its sweetness and more of a golden-browish colour. Its mouthfeel is thin and only coats the front of the mouth.

The second pot is much the same with malty-sweet notes mixing with a subtle grainy taste. The mouthfeel is a touch more full now and coats the tongue and roof with a light sticky-dry sensation. There is a chalky-bland berry taste that shows itself just for a flash then disappears. The aftertaste is mainly a bland taste in the mouth.

The third pot gives off a mainly malty-sweetness initially then makes its way to a blandish and very subtle fruitiness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel stays mainly in the front mouth or tongue. Its qi is very mellow, almost unnoticeable. This is not a complex tea but simple and easy to drink, a very mellow tea.

Fourth pot has more of a creamy edge but is much the same simple, sweet-malty aged flavour. It is starting to become more consistent across the taste profile as it slowly fades into a bland taste in the mouth. The qi is barely noticeable, very simple, and very soft on the stomach.

Fifth infusion is much the same as the others- a simple malty taste now a bit watery and even more simple. There is a slight menthol edge and fades quickly found in this infusion.

Sixth infusion is the same but with no menthol taste and a slight melon fruit taste. Seventh is mainly a bland taste with the faint fruity melon taste becoming more distinct but still very muted. The mouthfeel has weakened now. There is a faint bland grainy aftertaste minutes later.

Eighth & ninth infusion are much the same.

Guess: 2008 or 2009 Hong Da Dou
Actual: 2008 Hong Da Dou


Thursday, August 22, 2013

China Chadao Event: Gamma (2013 Douji "Hong Da Dou")‏

This is the third tasting of Hobbes' China Chadao Event.  Dry med-large leaves give off a sweet mint and melon like odour with some fresh pungent notes appearing later.

First infusions gives off a creamy-sweet almost corn pop initial taste backed by a thick creamy mouthfeel which swells in the mid-throat as saliva pools their. This taste develops a pungent edge and coolness in the throat. A large amounts of saliva fill the throat even feeling like reaching the deeper areas of the throat.

Second has a fuller, heavier initial taste which is still somewhat creamy and sweet but also thick and full taste. The mouthfeel is quite full in the mouth and deep in the throat. The taste finishes with a menthol aftertaste in the throat then to a mellow fruity taste in mouth. It evolves nicely throughout the profile.

Third a thick creamy, sweetness greets the mouth and turns into a strong menthol on the breath then fades again to faint creamy and distinct heavy fruit tastes. The mouthfeel becomes heavier and thick in the mouth while the throat is still stimulated but not as strongly as before. The cool sensation still lingers in the throat. The qi of this tea is mainly felt in the head, as it distends lightly under the influence of this tea. It is mildly reactive in the guts as well. The shoulders feel lightened by the effects of this tea.

Fourth the taste has mellowed out a bit now with a somewhat heavy but indistinct initial taste that slowly turns into heavier fruit tastes. A cool menthol is left in the mouth. The mouthfeel is slightly drier now.

*** left the leaves in the pot overnight as something came up...

Returning to the leaves in the morning a thick, bitter, heavy fruit tastes is left now- not representative of the tea for sure.

Was meaning to try this tea again uninterrupted but that didn't happen. So we will just leave it here.

Guess: ???
Actual: 2013 Hong Da Dou


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

China Chadao Event: Beta (2013 Douji "Hong Shang Dou")

This is the second mystery sample from the China Chadao Event.

Deep, penetrating raw pungent notes are observed deep into the sinuses. The smell is strong and vibrant, a deep rain forest odour.

First pot delivers an initial taste of foresty, mushroomy, slightly smokey tastes. There is an almost unnoticeable honey sweetness that skates underneath. A slightly smoky aftertaste covers most tastes. A light slightly expansive mouthfeel is felt in the throat and mouth dipping down to the mid throat.

The second infusion gives off a thick-strong smokey taste mixed with deeper forest notes. There is a flash of sweeter high notes that are suppressed under these heavier tastes a appear just briefly. The mouthfeel is thick- mainly sticky and the mouthfeel is slightly opening with the mid throat being slightly stimulated here. There is slight menthol taste is left in the throat among smokey overtones. Qi is medium-strongish feeling the chest open and the mind calm, this tea offers a nice balance.

The third pot offers thick softly bitter smokey tastes. There are suppressed suggestions of melon sweetness underneath that fade quickly. A slight rubbery, then sweet pea-like tasting aftertaste is left in the mouth along with a thick mouthfeel and upper throatfeel. Minutes later some hardly recognizable sweet notes pop up in the overall heavy-smoky taste. The menthol taste in the throat is very faint, almost unrecognizable now. The raw qi of this very fresh cake beats slightly at the digestive system.

The fourth infusion begins with a deeper, smokier, heavier taste but then starts to reveal a slightly coco sweetness. This muted sweetness evolves into a slight melon taste to it as it lingers late into the aftertaste. The heavier, smokey taste drops off earlier now leaving more room to discover some muted sweet melon tastes. (This infusion reminds one of Bu Lang but different somehow)

The fifth infusion much the same as above. Now almost sugary sweetness left in the mouth. Mouthfeel still remains full and the upper and mid throat opens under a light menthol taste. The sweetness is much more pronounced in the fifth infusion and lingers for minutes on the breath, much less impeded by heavier, smothering tastes encountered earlier.

The sixth and seventh infusion delivers a coco robust taste initially with hints of hidden fruit. The fruit taste has a barely creamy edge to it. The taste is mainly thick and deep with a touch of sweetness bringing it closer to balance. The mouthfeel and throatfeel are full with just a bit of astringency to it.

Eighth infusion is a muted fruity slightly bitter tea experience with deeper fruit tastes playing out in the mouth and aftertaste. The ninth infusion starts more with that coco deep taste then fades to fruit.

Tenth is more light and not so sweet fruity notes more showing up now still full mouthfeel.

Guess: Hong Da Dou
Actual: Hong Shang Dou


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

China Chadao Event: Alpha (2013 Douji "Xiangdou" Brick)‏

This is one of several puerh samples that was apart of The Half-Dipper's China Chadao Event. One had sampled Alpha- Delta months back before things got too busy with the move. They happen to be the only samples in the tasting even that one had managed to go though. Hopefully the other will get due attention in the coming days. For the next four days one will be posting the samples original unedited notes. The guess as to which cake/brick each sample was follows each post.  With a lot of experience with Douji cakes, the guesses were closer to the mark.

Small-mediumish dry leaves kick up a sour-pungent odour berry like odour. The smell of sour is noted. It has a meaty, sweet sour cherry smell to it. It also has a meaty-savory note as well.

The first infusion pours a clean green light green tinged soup which has a mild berry taste which softly expands into creamy-slightly metallic-mushroom like taste. It is not overly sweet but does carry a slightly creamy edge. The mouthfeel is fluffy and full, even expanding the upper throat. The taste is delicate. A very slightly fluffy aftertaste is left in the mouth that has just a slight creamy edge.

The second starts off quite sweet with a soft pungent tone underneath. The sweet drops off revealing a slight pungent taste. The taste is clear. The aftertaste is just an edge of sweetness. The mouthfeel is soft and fluffy now it develops a very slight coarseness on the tongue. The taste is somewhat simple but clean.

The third carries a muted pungent start with a heavy mouthfeel. There is a slight smokiness underneath. The sweet taste has a floral edge to it as it also lingers underneath and is more apparent in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is heavier now like a creamy-mud that is mainly on the tongue and mouth and up into the teeth.

A touch longer fourth infusion gives more of the same a blandish, slightly pungent, taste emerges. The sweet taste is creamy and fruity now and appears as the initial taste drops off. The mouthfeel is thick and muddy, slight gritty in the mouth. The upper throat is slightly simulated but most of the action is in the mouth.

The qi of this tea is mild, it opens the chest, and deeper breath is had. It is generally mild on the stomach and in the body. Ones head feels mildly lighter, ones mind, relaxed.

Fifth infusion delivers smooth muted sweet notes first with a slightly bland base taste. The sweet taste is not to strong and lasts a few minutes on the breath.

Sixth is a creamy, muted, bland taste. The mouthfeel is still quite satisfying with a thick muddy feeling in the mouth. A not so noticeable slightly sweet edge develops in the aftertaste.

Seventh light, juicy barely sweet initial taste has a bland base taste. There is not much left of this tea.

Eighth, is mainly bland with a very soft cinnamon spice knock to it. It has a bitter edge of sweetness as well. The mouthfeel remains as heavy as ever. There is hints of fruit in the aftertaste as well.

Guess= 2013 Xiangdou Brick
Actual= 2013 Xiangdou Brick


Monday, August 19, 2013

MattCha On The Move to Saskatchewan!

Regular readers of this blog probably noticed it slowly grind to a halt over the past few months. This was not due to a disinterest in tea or blogging but rather due to wrapping up in coastal Victoria, British Columbia and a move to the dry prairies of Regina, Saskatchewan. Through it all one has still been drinking lots of tea, in fact one is sipping on a 2013 Kim Jong Yeol Saejak purchased from O5tea.

One has already found that drinking tea in the prairies already has its challenges. Firstly, the most obvious is that it is so dry here one is a bit concerned how the aged puerh and Korean teas will do. Secondly, the water here has altered the taste of most of ones teas. The tap water is so hard even with a off odour to it. It makes all tea carry a funny taste and does little for the mouthfeel and qi. All residence of Regina combat the hard water with booth water softening devices and by drinking large amounts of almost completely purified water- both which are not great for tea. There will be extensive articles about how I approach this water challenge in the coming months.

One first thought that there would be no one to share and learn about tea here in the middle of the prairies. In Victoria one had Jared and Mi Yu Ki from Jagasilk, the urasanke Japanese Tea Ceremony circle, my puerh drinking bud Antoine, and my new found Korean tea drinking guru Greg Demmons - so many people to share, learn, and experience tea with (Never mind Pedro of O5tea and Daniel of The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver 3 hours away). As Fate would have it, an old Chinese tea master opened up a modest storefront tea house just two blocks from my office. We have already shared many older cakes of puerh together in the teahouse which is so similar to many unpretentious Chinese tea shops that it truly feels like you have left to China when visiting. There will be many posts on him and his tea shop in the coming weeks and months.

Tomorrow one has planed to post on The Half-Dipper's China Chadao event.

Until then...