Keep Moving Forward… 08.09.10


Méndǐng Huáng Chá, 蒙顶黄茶, Mending Yellow Bud Tea

2020 & 2021. #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

I just recently took delivery of a 2021 Handmade Yellow Tea from Sichuan. I still have tea left over from last year, so it’s a great opportunity to compare the same tea from the same farm and the same tea master, where the difference is one year to the next. Happy!

Nán Jīng Yǔ Huā Chá, 南京雨花茶, Nanjing Yuhua Tea, (Rain Flower Green Tea)

Early Spring, 2021; var. Camilia sinensis; Jiangnan Tea Market, Nanjing, Jiangsu; bud and leaf, traditional hand-made tea, pine needle shaping; 20-50m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 3g in 200ml for 30-40sec.@85 deg. C

Dry Leaf Aroma: short bread biscuits or Danish cookies with a pronounced, buttery greenness;
Wet Leaf Aroma: watermelon rind, with a hint of Clementine segments, pasionfruit, and Monstera deliciosa;
Liquor: pale yellow-green liquor with light, sweet, fruity scent;
Mouthfeel: thick, viscous, creamy, mildly stimulating and fresh, with a sweet finish, followed by a lingering, gentle, minerality;
Taste: bready, biscuity, buttery, fruity, sweet;

Opinion: This tea… this tea has me chasing down the rabbit hole of a faint and ancient childhood memory. My mum had a Monstera deliciosa which fruited once. She told us kids it was a Fruit Salad Plant. Eventually it ripened and she picked it. Tropical fruit salad, pineapple, banana, mango, mildly sweet smelling, and surprising taste.

ITA Certified Tea Somelier Certificate

#ITA Updated their online courses and Assessment procedures. It has been two years since I last did their courses. I have reviewed the changes and refreshed areas in which I appeared to have become lax or deficient. I am happy to say I am glad to have redone this course after the last two years of personal exploration into Chinese Tea, and I am glad that I have grown and developed enough to pass ITA’s new Certified #TeaSommelier Certification. 😊😊😊

Yě Shēng Qī Yè Jiǎo Gǔ Lán Chá, 野生七叶绞股蓝茶, Wild Seven Leaves Jiaogulan Tea

2018; var. Gynostemma pentaphyllum; Dayao Shan, Guangxi; leaves only, sundried; 800-1500m;

Infusion: 5g in 200ml for 10 sec.@85deg. C

Dry Leaf Aroma: herbal, raisins, prunes;
Wet Leaf Aroma: strong, sharp, spicy;
Liquor: golden yellow with a faint mineral aroma;
Mouthfeel: thick, viscous, sweet with a prominent bitter finish on the tip of the tongue;
Taste: sweet, oily, medicinal, vaguely fishy, with a sharp, mineral pungency, and lingering mouthwatering finish;

Opinion: Known as, “Southern Ginseng“ and the Tea of longevity, this tea does have a ginseng-like character to it. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with this tea, I know it’s good for me but it tastes like medicine. I guess this is one of those teas that, like a new pair of shoes, is uncomfortable at first, but grows on you with time.

Shú Pū Wǔ Jī, 熟普五级, 5th Grade Shu Pu’er Tea

Autumn, 2020; var. Camelia sinensis (blended sub-varietals); (Lucy Wang YNteas Agri Tech Co., Ltd.) Menglian, Yunnan; bud and 1-2 leaves, EU Organic, Pu’er Wo Dui process; 1400-1800m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 3g in 150ml for 40-60sec.@100deg. C;

Dry Leaf Aroma: musty, damp, compost;
Wet Leaf Aroma: damp, wet, muddy;
Liquor: deep amber color with faint red-pink tongue & slight wet forest floor aroma;
Mouthfeel: viscous with a watery finish, minerally, dusty, tingling, biting, slight sweet and fresh finish;
Taste: earthy, slight retronasal hints of camphor, mildly sweet;

Opinion: This is the third of a set of pu’er teas that differ only by tea grade. This particular tea has a closer profile to the 1st Grade tea and is a little more funky compared to the 3rd grade tea.

These three teas have really challenged my views about tea and my rationale for drinking particular styles of tea. Clearly, I am still a Tea Newbie and need to spend much more time sampling Pu’er teas to get to know and appreciate their challenging aromas and flavors. Don’t get me wrong though, I have enjoyed drinking them.

Shú Pū Sān Jī, 熟普三级, 3rd Grade Shu Pu’er Tea

Shú Pū Sān Jī, 熟普三级, 3rd Grade Shu Pu’er Tea; Autumn, 2020; var. Camelia sinensis (blended sub-varietals); (Lucy Wang YNteas Agri Tech Co., Ltd.) Menglian, Yunnan; bud and 1-2 leaves, EU Organic, Pu’er Wo Dui process; 1400-1800m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 3g in 150ml for 40-60sec.@100deg. C;

Dry Leaf Aroma: earthy, touch of malt,
Wet Leaf Aroma: damp earth, forest leaf litter;
Liquor: browny amber colour with a dusty, dried tangerine peel aroma;
Mouthfeel: viscous, mouth coating, minerally, grainy, tingling, biting, slight fresh finish;
Taste: earthy, with a short vaguely malty hit, followed by a lingering fresh aftertaste with murky retronasal aromas;

Opinion: The primary difference between this tea and its First Grade (Grade 1) counterpart is in overall aroma and flavor.

This is possibly due to the bag of tea sitting out on my table for the last 2-3 days or so allowing for some of the funk to gas off. Whilst it hasn’t won anything in the “Favorites” stakes, it is definitely not umpleasant to drink, far from it.

I’m curious now to cup all three at the same time to see if there is any discernible difference purely due to Grade.

Méi Zhàn Jīn Jùn Mèi, 梅占金骏眉, Mei Zhan Golden Eyebrow Black Tea

Spring 2020; various cultivars; (Hydron Gao Tonglin Tea) Nanping, Fujian; bud only; elev. unknown;

Infusion: 4g in 180-200ml for 20-30sec.@100deg. C;

Dry Leaf Aroma: rose, lychee, hint of soft citrus;
Wet Leaf Aroma: slightly acrid like cold fire place, slightly floral, slightly sweet;
Liquor: pale amber with a slightly vegetal presence;
Mouthfeel: thick, creamy, viscous, tongue tingling, metallic;
Taste: buttery, pear, melon, some honey notes, hint of breadiness;

Opinion: Compared to yesterday’s tea, this couldn’t be more different, colour, flavour, aroma, texture; is like chalk and cheese. On first impressions, this tea kinda reminds me of Turkish Delight. It is quite noticeably floral but subtle. It has body and understated elegance. It is indulgent, like a full body oil massage, under the shade, in the mountains, on a warm Spring afternoon. In essence, it is a rather contemplative tea.

Wǔ Yí Hóng Chá Jīn Jùn Mèi, 武夷紅茶金骏眉, Bohea Tea Golden Eyebrow Black Tea

Spring 2020; var. Wuyi Caicha; (Lester Paul (Doctor of Judicial Science) ) Wuyi Shan, Nanping, Fujian; buds only, (xiao chi gan?) unsmoked; >1200m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 1 sachet (4.68g) in 180-200ml for 20-30sec.@100deg. C;

Dry Leaf Aroma: malty, bready, hints of rose, prune, and dates;
Wet Leaf Aroma: sultanas, raisins, currents, a hint of apricot;
Liquor: red amber colour with strong, malty and carob aroma;
Mouthfeel: thick, viscous, oily, stimulating, with a late, bitter onset;
Taste: carob, bready, raisins and dates, hints of rose, with lingering mineral after taste;

Opinion: It is hard for me to express how I feel about this tea. Everything about it is strong, brash, opinionated, “in your face” aggressive, and, … perplexing. I was never a fan of carob, and this tea has it all over from aroma to taste, it screams, “carob!” like some demented child overacting its floor-time. However, once past that the tea has a subtle, sweet, lingering, and enticing charm. I’m really quite flummoxed. I will definitely have to drink more of it.

Zá Jiāo Bái Chá, 杂交白茶, Hybridized White Tea

Autumn, 2020; var. Camelia sinensis (hybridized sub-varietals); (Lucy Wang YNteas Agri Tech Co., Ltd.) Menglian, Yunnan; bud and 1-2 leaves, EU Organic, Dianhong black tea process; 1400-1800m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 3g in 150ml for 20-30sec@85-95 deg. C

Dry Leaf Aroma: spicy, sweet melon, fragrant;
Wet Leaf Aroma: sweet, palm sugar, vanilla, pleasent;
Liquor: pale amber with a soft, loquat scent;
Mouthfeel: creamy, thick, peppery, stimulating, moderately thick finish and mildly fresh, bitter aftertaste;
Taste: dried tangerine peel, pomello, ginger, with a hint of star-anise/licorice, and very soft honey sweet finish;

Opinion: This is a pleasant, spicy tea with vague, faint sweet and floral retronasal hints. It is fresh and stimulating on the palate, and drinks easily. I would go so far as to say this is a good candidate breakfast tea.

Fó Xiāng Bái Chá, 佛香白茶, Buddhist Incense White Tea

Autumn, 2020; var. Camelia sinensis (blended sub-varietals); (Lucy Wang YNteas Agri Tech Co., Ltd.) Menglian, Yunnan, (YNteas Agri Tech Co., Ltd.); bud and 1-2 leaves, EU Organic, White tea process; 1400-1800m; #TodaysTea#今天的茶#JīnTiāndeChá.

Infusion: 2x 3 finger pinches in 200ml for 30-40sec@90-100deg. C

Dry Leaf Aroma: sharp, touch of apricot, and molasses;
Wet Leaf Aroma: sweet, honey, musk stick, candy cane, sharp, minerally;
Liquor: dull amber, with a slight candy floss scent;
Mouthfeel: thick, viscous, syrupy, stimulating, tingling, mouthwatering, astringent, spicy, savoury, with a late onset of sweetness;
Taste: hints of tangerine, licorice, lychee, with a mild, melon-like sweet finish;

Opinion: This is a dark, murky, “savoury” tea, that invokes fantasies of walking through a burning coil-draped temple hall into the sunlight. Although it has a balance of sweetness, it’s hallmark is its pronounced, spicy, savoury presence.