Found in a red tin in the back of my family’s tea cupboard. Had about 10 smaller red packets of tea inside, each about 10g, so I used one packet. I thought a packet was a gongfu brewing suggestion (or something like that), but in the end I think it was definitely too much leaf for my gaiwan!
We have some Japanese friends who kindly gifted us with some Japanese tea. I didn’t know what type of tea it was until I took a careful look at the kanji and looked it up in a Japanese tea guide booklet, which came in my Yunomi order of genmaicha. Kuradashicha – green tea that’s been stored? I think this is the correct tea, but as I don’t know Japanese, it’s just an educated guess. This is a kuradashi tea from Uogashi Meicha, a company which owns tea places in Tokyo. Our tea was given to us a while ago, so it’s a few years old already, but man. This tea is delicious.
Now that I’m gonna go for this serious tea drinking hobby, I think I might want to get some basic teaware things. In order of interest/importance:
A gaiwan for gongfu brewing. After witnessing gongfu-style brewing at T Shop, I know that I want to try brewing this way. Don’t need an expensive one – we’re going to a restaurant supply store in Chinatown in a few days, so hopefully I can find one there and sneakily buy it without having to explain or justify the need for it to my parents. >__>
A brewing basket, which would just be useful when I don’t want to do the full ceremony and just want to brew in a mug. I anticipate quite a few late nights over the next semester haha.
A digital scale for weighing out tea. Might not be strictly necessary, but I would like to be more precise, if only to better run empirical tea tasting studies. Then I could be like “5g of tea” as opposed to “two pinches and a tiny dash.”
A tea board, which certainly isn’t necessary but would make me look legit as heck.
These will probably cost… a fair amount of money… but it’s for tea! I can sacrifice for that.
Also, it’s a sign of my obsession that yesterday, when I went to the mall, all I could think was: if I don’t buy these $12 jeans, I wonder how many grams of oolong that will get me? My new tea obsession is actually restraining my formerly unrestrained habits of buying lots of clothes. Dang.
Found a red Chinese tea bag in our cabinet that had 普洱茶 on it! I hadn’t tried puerh tea before, so I brewed it (after finding, to my surprise, that the tea bag actually had loose sheng in it). A few thoughts:
Given that it was just from a tea bag I stumbled across in our cabinet, I don’t know how close that taste was to real puerh, and whether it was raw or ripe. I did like it, though. Now I’m even more excited to try real puerh.
Another one of my samples from Verdant Tea! After trying the tieguanyin at T Shop, I wanted to open another type of oolong. One of the things I love about tea is the variety – there are hundreds of ways to take tea leaves from plant to cup, and so many variables that all affect the taste in your mouth.
A few days ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to go into NYC and visit a tea shop that I’ve heard a fair amount about on Serious Eats and reddit. It was a cold winter day when I went in – maybe around 15 F, so I was looking forward to drinking warm tea.
It’s a small shop in the back of a long corridor. No one else was there when I went, except of course for the owners of the shop. I took a look at the menu, then decided on a tea tasting session – $10 for 5 brews of a tea done by an “expert.” Because I don’t know my oolongs one from another, I asked for her suggestion, and we ended up with the tieguanyin.
The tieguanyin was delicious. Nutty and sweet, a milky milky mouthfeel. A taste that lingers in your mouth. The first cup, she told me, is like an introduction to the tea; in later steeps, the tea matures and produces a much fuller taste. At one point, another customer came in so she left to help him, so I sat there, enjoying the taste of the tea left in my mouth from previous cups.
After the tea tasting session, I bought 2 oz of their Four Seasons Oolong for $12, which is about as much as I can afford right now as a student. Note to self: when money, buy that tieguanyin. She generously also gave me a bit of her Roasted Nantou, which she had suggested when I asked for an oolong that wasn’t tieguanyin. (It was $20 for 2 oz, out of my budget.) Can’t wait to try the Four Seasons Oolong, which unlike my tieguanyin, isn’t roasted.
I didn’t take pictures because somehow, it felt like taking them would be an interrupt to this tasting. But I’ll definitely go back there at some point.
Maybe I should stop labeling everything “TTT” (Tea Tasting Tests). Then again, I’m not really writing reviews of tea – don’t think I’m experienced enough for that. This is literally just documentation of my progress from “only drink tea from tea bags, and sometimes Vitamin Water” to actual tea-hobbyist/amateur. Hence the steep-by-steep thought log. More thoughts: maybe I should post things on this blog that are not about tea. After all, it’s eat drink draw code and not like drink drink eat drink. (Har har. I’m so funny. I may be a senior in college but I’m always going to be middle school child.)
Chocolate chili chai tea, from my DAVIDsTEA loose leaf stash. I’ll be honest, I taste a little chocolate, just a hint of chili, and just about no chai.
Which might be a good thing. I had chili chocolate once, Lindt. The combination of spicy and sweet confused my tongue. Not an experience I’d like to repeat.