10 March 2008

Handcrafted tea

My very favorite teas are (not in any particular order):

  • sheng pu-erh
  • dan cong oolongs
  • wu yi oolongs
  • anxi oolongs
  • first flush darjeelings

And I especially love high quality teas. They are mostly much better than those of the low grade. And still, one gong fu session of very high grade tea can cost less than a bottle of so-so wine.

This evening I had very high grade of Rou Gui I obtained from Guang. This is a highest grade of spring Rou Gui, literally Cinnamon, from famous wu yi oolong producer, who was elected as one of the twelve "Wuyi Yen Cha Da Hong Pao Heritage Inheritors" in 2006.
This tea claims to be entirely hand processed, from beginning to end. The handcrafted teas tend to be stronger, more aromatic then the machine processed.

While the modern way of processing emphasizes the fruity side of Rou Gui leaving lots of the leaves greenish this tea was processed in more traditional way. Small dry leaves are uniformly dark giving nice roasted aroma.

The first infusion smelled of old wood, fire, spices and malt. While the tea was clearly roasted it wasn’t too robust, the aroma was strong but elegant. Big minus for some oolong is, that they smell much better than they taste. Not this one – the taste followed the aroma leaving long, round aftertaste in mouth and throat.
In later infusions the taste become even sweeter, the roasted bouquet was slowly cloaked by aroma of ripe fruits. Especially the aftertaste become better than most of the candy you can buy.

The tea lasted in way I like it for some 6-7 infusions – it was a short but intensive experience. On the other hand, I used less leaves, so I can enjoy this very special tea for longer.


Salsero said...

"...better than most of the candy you can buy" Ha, ha! Funny, but so true!

Just out of idle curiosity, why does that blue squiggly mark appear in many of your photo? It looks like a ball point pen mark made by a child.

Tuo Cha Tea said...

Hi Salsero,

what do you mean by blue squiggly mark? If it's the drawing in the inner side of my teacup, I believe it's a very stylized cicada... I have a set of four such cups, each one with a different picture. Cicada, flower, chaotic lines (grass, maybe) and even more chaotic lines :-)
I use the cicada to sharpen the foto, because my camera sometimes can't focus on top of tea in plain cup with macro correctly.


Salsero said...

Oh my gosh, it is a cicada - or grasshopper. How charming! Well, thanks for clearing that up. Once we get used to seeing something as one thing, it is sometimes hard to start seeing it as something else.

On the subject of photos, do you use exclusively natural sunlight to photograph your cakes and dry tea?

Some of the photos are really a pleasure to look at.

Tuo Cha Tea said...

Thank you for asking. Well, I prefer sunglight, but in winter months I usually get home when it's already dark, so most of the photos are under artificial light (well, my night-light :-)

The sunlight photos are for example those I made yesterday of Nu Er Cha.