An old favourite

When I was trying to think up what to drink, I saw my little pot for nongxiang tieguanyin. It’s been underused this year… so, why not, I still have some of that tea.

I brewed it simply, filling the pot about a quarter full, and then just going through the motions. About 6 or 7 infusions later, the tea was done. It’s a tiny pot, so each cup takes only a little time to drink. I can be done with it in half an hour.

The tea was fine, not great, as it is pretty low grade stuff. It’s also been aged just a little. There is also a slight note of sourness, although managed properly it won’t show up at all. When I was done with the tea though, I felt dissatisfied… I think the infusion after infusion of puerh is, in some ways, quite nice, and an oolong, especially a tieguanyin or the like, just don’t cut it.

Looking at the wet leaves, I have my suspicion that this is a pretty thoroughly mixed tea, with some benshan involved, if not mostly benshan. I am terrible at telling apart the various varietals that are used in these mixtures, and it is not a surprise that almost nobody will label their tea benshan, or maoxie, or something other than tieguanyin. I really ought to go to a reputable store and learn. Yet… it’s a difficult question to ask. “Do you have benshan?” Sometimes I think even the vendors don’t know what they’re selling.

I did conduct an experiment today — I brewed the tea again, using fresh leaves in a gaiwan, and then pouring it into a fairness cup. Half went into my drinking cup, while the other half went into the now empty pot. I wanted to see if I could tell any difference between the two. I must say that it seems the tea that went through the pot comes out a little softer, and a little of the edge seemed to have been taken off. Yet, I wonder if it’s placebo. I really ought to do a blind test.


An old favourite — 5 Comments

  1. You may remember from my blog that the LA group did a side-by-side test of TGY (iirc) brewed in a silver teapot vs in a hong ni yixing.  The one brewed in yixing was decidedly softer, while the tea coming out of the silver teapot was crisp.

  2. Ah, right, that’s true, and I’d imagine a gaiwan is probably more like the silver teapot…

    Might be interesting to try the silver teapot versus a gaiwan, blind.

  3. It (the silver pot) might even be harder than the gaiwan, because one of us felt a “metallic” taste.  It might be “psychosomatic” as the one of us said. : ) A blind tasting is the best way to determine if it’s true or if it’s just in our heads.  So far, I can’t justify buying a silver pot (yet) based on my very limited experience with it.

  4. For years, Silk Road Teas, the company that pretty much introduced me to Chinese tea, carried both Ben Shan and Mao Xie. I just checked their web site – they didn’t always have a web site! – and they still have Mao Xie.

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