Sunday September 10, 2006

Well, the past few weeks this blog has been more like a tea travelogue, where I’ve recorded some of my visits to various places. I’ve sort of gotten away a bit from the tea tasting bit, but maybe it’s time to revisit some of them… as I can’t go to Maliandao everyday (too far) and it’s a lot of money to go to some closer-by teahouses. It’s just not the same with the free pouring policy at the Best Tea House.

So I went back to the puerh that sort of got me going again on a drinking binge — the Shui Lan Yin from Hou De. It got me to buy a lot of other samples from them, and also tasted a bunch of newer stuff. I remember I gave it a so-so review, so here I am again, a lot of puerh later, giving it another try. At that time, I was off drinking puerh for quite a while, so I didn’t have much of a reference point. After all this, I think I have a better sense of what I’m drinking, so I think I can give it a fairer shake.

And the result is a confirmation, more or less, of what I said last time — the tea comes out nicely in infusions 1-3, with a burst of flavours and promises of more, then it settles down a bit in infusions 4-6, and then sort of fades beginning from infusion 7 onwards. I used the remaining of my sample — I think maybe 5-7g? Not sure. I brewed it in my shiny new pot:


This was infusion 3.

The first burst of flavours is quite convincing, in many ways. Camphor, wood, a bit of I think what they call lotus fragrance, etc. It’s complex, and it’s nice. There’s a hint of sourness, just a hint. There is also the ever present bitterness — something that tea books seem to talk a lot about in reference to this cake. They apparently used a somewhat bitter based tea, resulting in a brew that will come off with a bitter undertone.

Then the infusions 4-6 the bitterness sort of takes over, while the flavours that initially seem so attractive go away a bit. The tea now tastes more metallic, and sharp. It’s a bit like a darjeeling going through a second brewing, but without the strong astringency. Then the tea becomes milder, softer.

Not bad, and I might even buy a cake if the price is right, if nothing else to observe how this thing changes.

However, I think for the price that it’s sold in the States, it’s not cheap. I can buy a much better tasting cake (overall) at this price. I remember I liked the 8582 better. I might try that tomorrow.

Speaking of which…

Not all water is created equal. Look at this:

Both Nestle, right?

Wrong. They’re both Nestle, that’s right, but the taste are very different. One, the big bottle with the navy blue label, is fairly heavy in minerals and tastes like it. The other, the light blue one, is very light in minerals and tastes like that too (sweeter, less body). I tend to favour the light blue one, although I was mixing the two today. These are both better than most of the bottled water in China, which are basically Dasani like — filtered water with minerals stuck back in, or distilled water, or something. Either way, I’m glad I found a place that sells the small bottle ones for a reasonable price (about 15 cents USD per bottle — beat that!).


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Sunday September 10, 2006 — 1 Comment

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