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.