Attempt #2 with the water boiler today. The nasty odor is more or less gone, although there’s still that ethanol lamp smell that won’t go away. I suspect that’s here to stay, so unless I want to live with it (I don’t), I guess I have to get a new burner until I go back to HK to fetch one of those electric coils for my glass kettle. I reduced the size of the flame, but that proves unworkable — takes WAY TOO LONG to get the water to boiling temp. Sigh… I was hoping to avoid metal burners, but I guess I can’t help it.
I went to check out some of the local places that sell these metal boilers today. They range from $15 USD to about $100 USD, with no obvious difference in quality. I also saw the exact same combo of glass kettle+alcohol lamp, at Ten Fu, selling for a lovely $30 USD (instead of the 10 that I paid). At least I got a good deal. I might have time tomorrow afternoon, and can head to Maliandao again to do some kettle shopping as well as a little tea buying. I realize I have very little other than puerh right now. I also need a few tea canisters (empty) so I can actually break out the few oolongs that I do have with me. Without a canister, it’s a bit of a waste to open them to air.
As for today’s teas — I first tried a new tea that my uncle gave me. He specifically told me that this can of stuff is a year old — i.e. not very good. It’s an oolong made in Yunnan. I thought maybe I can drink it casually as a tea that I can brew without too much attention. I added about 1/2 full leaves into the gaiwan, and brewed it normally…. and it’s nasty. Sour, sour, sour. That’s what happens when an oolong gets moisture in it and then ages a little. There’s precious little other than sourness. The tea flavours is mostly gone. Very little aroma. I couldn’t drink two cups before throwing the whole thing away.
So I broke out another puerh — drinking the 1999 Xizhihao sample, or what’s left of it. Somehow, this one seems a little more aged than the 1997. The 1997, however, shows more depth. Then again, I didn’t brew my tea under ideal conditions today, so all this may be off.
So far I haven’t gotten any work done since I got to Beijing…. have to start pretending to work :/