A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

Super-Fine Taiwan Dong-Ding Qing-Xiang Oolong........whew, I'm running out of space here!!!!

Damn, I love a high mountain Dong Ding, don't you? This tea just goes and goes, grows bigger in the pot, with a strong floral Osmanthus series of notes that are high-lighted, then muted as steeps progress.
Can anything be more fun than playing around with 7-12 steeps of 7 grams of a good Dong Ding?

Last few steeps I picked a few Jasmine flowers off the bush that covers my side yard and tossed them in the cha hai. NOT the pot, of course, I don't want a lingering of Jasmine in the pot but the cha hai was fine, as it's glass and I can wash away all traces of the sin of adding the flowers to my tea!
This Dong Ding is a sample from Teavivre which I've had forever, I am only now uncovering a bunch of samples I still need to 'hit', and this one is certainly not a disappointment. I like Teavivre, they were a good place to start as a newbie for samples of many new things as well as my first Yixing pot and Yixing cha hai to match. (which of course, I hardly ever use, glass is certainly preferred).

Damn good Dong Ding, my friends. Now off to play Undertale while sitting in  the sunshiny day of yet another perfect California morning. Life is hard!

Jalam Teas amazing Shou Puerh, Nannuo Summer 2014 Harvest

One of the sweetest, most welcoming Shou Puerhs I have had thus far, I admit to being highly bummed out when after my sample was at its end, not finding it for sale on Jalam Tea's website. This is a tea I would like to have a good supply of, and it looks like perhaps I will not get that opportunity.
For some reason I brewed this differently than other shous I've had and used 5 grams in my Yixing pot with the water temp at a relativity low 206f. This may be the cause of its mellow, sweet profile, its vanilla, chocolate, mossy goodness. All I can say in my defense for of not brewing it at just under boiling, is that the tea itself, dry leaves held to my nose told me what to do. It just did.
To my credit I will be brewing the next few steeps at 209f, so keep your hats on, I'm not deviating too much or for too long on this low-temp experiment. I only have a chunk of this left and will be very careful about when I try it again. Perhaps while in the company of a tea notable, like local friend Andrew Harto.
This is a lightly packed tea, and was easy, and quite fun to gently break apart whole leaf pieces from the hunk in the sample bag. What you see here is what I am left with.
I think I will treasure this little hunk of tea and remember it for a long time.
Me love you long time, Mr. Nannuo! Please come back and see me again?

Forest undergrowth or wet leaves on cement on a rainy city day. A Chinese tea aged in bamboo baskets beckons YOU!

Camellia Sinensis' Liu Bao 2006 Lao Cha Po is unforgettable. Many months ago after a sample was kindly sent, I bought 100 grams as I knew I had found something special and unique. I am almost at the end of those 100 grams, and had forced myself to try to forget about the remaining 20 grams until today. For today was one of those tea days where no tea worked for me. A decent Da Hong Pao, a well-liked High Mountain Oolong, and nothing pleased me. What the hell is up with my tastebuds? I gave up and had a ginger ale and decided to call it a day. A tea day. All done. Bye bye.
Then I allowed myself to remember the Liu Bao and I was saved.
This is a tea, I am told, that in China is brewed without even measuring the leaves,(they are insanely light) but with handfuls thrown in large pots and boiled and re-boiled throughout the day and night. With that spirit in mind I put 'large-ish pinch' into my favorite Jian Shui pot and started with the just-under boiling water, first and second steeps just rinses, third steep I remembered I was told to let it sit for a bit, so suffered through a seemingly endless two minutes before pouring out what tastes like steam from hot sidewalk mixed with forest undergrowth, resplendent with tones of pepper and peat, of rocks and what a low hanging patch of fog might taste like trapped high in a mountainous crevasse.
There is no acidity, no animal pee, the leather, no barnyard, nothing of the sheng or the shou. This is pure natural earthiness.
The leaves are amazing to touch after four steeps, like they have barely changed their density, still crisp to my fingertips.
I can only imagine what this tastes like when brewed right, for the chances of my having done it 'right' are fairly low. Someday I'd like a master of this tea to make it for me. Until then, I am absolute thrilling to the taste, smell and feel of this wonderful tea that awakened my senses so competently when I thought the chances were slim to none for a good tea session to end my day.

What does the German metal-band Rammstein and White2Tea's Rougui have in common?

Not all that much but the thing it has in common for me is I experienced both for the first time this morning at 7 am.
Why, you ask, would a 50-ish housefrau more inclined to Enya and Eno be introducing herself to this German, frankly rather terrifying band? It is because of the now-long-gone-viral video of these three little kids doing an amazing cover of one of their songs.You can find that here.

I am particularly impressed by the four years old's drumming. I've been watching this video with great pleasure the last few months, and now a newer video of them doing the same song has come out, they are now almost teens and its almost as amazing. Of course seeing really little kids rock was slightly better, but this is still awesome. So this morning as I was thinking of which tea to brew I did a Wiki search on Rammstein, learned enough to be interested, decided on opening the small sample of W2T's Rougui and sat back and watched my first taste of the actual band the kids have been covering. I saw some things I rather wished I hadn't but too late now. The tea, however, gave me no such regrets.
The combination of the power-punching W2T Rougui and the videos I saw was, well, a combined novelty to say the least.
I don't know much about Rougui but it looks like a DaHongPao so I brewed it with a light hand of three grams in a small hohin vessel which holds 4 ounces of water at most. Temperature was around 207f.
It is a intense, mineral-rich roasted flavor with really spicy notes, even with the small amount of leaves I used, and is viscous and thick with a long-lasting mouth-feel. Super good morning tea.
I think I will have a third steeping now but perhaps while grooving to some Dean Martin, I don't think I can handle any more muscle-bound German versions of Iggy Pop right now.
I will say however, that Iggy Pop, or Rammstein, or even a children's band version of Rammstein songs fits with this tea far better than Dean f'ing Martin, so maybe I was lying about Dean f'ing Martin and will meet myself halfway and put on Tom Waits, 'The Black Rider'. Oh yeah, now that is a match.

Nantou Four Seasons, a daily drinker Oolong with lots of personality and a smooth, tender taste profile.

Today's favorite tea, and I've had plenty so far, has got to be this Nantou Four Seasons Oolong I found from Floating Leaves Tea out of Seattle. It is just such a good tea for either a seriously appreciative, meditative session exploring parameters and paying full attention and intention to the tea, or to just walk around the house with in a big mug! Or both!
I like this one for its price but it doesn't hint at any lack of quality, this is one delicious Oolong.
Short and sweet, that's today's note to you, Dear Readers.

See you later on the sheng side.

A special Golden Needle from Zen Tea, Fengquing Golden Buds

This tea produces a brew that is coppery gold in color with a woody, sweet aroma. Brewed tea has a full-bodied, sharp nutty, and brisk tobacco taste. Totally luxurious with clearer and sharper tastes than other Yunnan black teas. This tea has a magic that will keep you coming back to this pleasant and unique experience over and over again!

This description is directly from Zen Tea's website, but since I helped write it myself I can fully agree and not even feel the need to use italics or quotation marks!
The 2015 Spring harvest is still available online and is totally worth the money, and priced very reasonably to boot!

Smacha's Alishan and a Phoenix Oolong to die for!

Well, maybe not die, but really, really good. Good enough it makes me glad I'm alive. And really that's the reason I drink tea. For those sips that make me go, "Oh, Yeah. That's why I do it."
(And by 'it' I refer, of course, to the mundane nature of almost everything else I do.)
Steeped both teas at a low-ish 190f as suggested by Smacha, flash-brewed both teas well into the 6 steep mark, lost count on both last nights Ali Shan and this mornings Phoenix Mountain Oolong.
I don't see the Ali Shan on their website, but I have had all these other Oolongs from Smacha, and each one is of superb quality. Check the whole Oolong collection and don't miss out on the magical little packet of awesomeness called Water Lily and their Bai Hao Formosa, also known as Oriental Beauty, my favorite Oolong of them all.
( Photo of Phoenix Mountain Oolong courtesy of Smacha)

And lastly, with the intention of full disclosure, here is a picture of who I feel I become when drinking a really good Oolong.
Far beyond the basic 'glad-to-be-alive' vibe, I actually internally turn into this goddess...

The little captive angel in my hand is my husband with the always ready credit card.

Not just ANY 'Duck-Shit Aroma' but the 'KING Of Duck-Shit Aroma' for this hard-working house-drone!

How to choose your Duck-Shit Aroma Oolongs? Well, for me, since there isn't, (as far as I know,) a Queen Of Duck-Shit Aroma, I am going with the King Of Duck-Shit Aroma.
I deserve the best after all the nonsense of moving my 'stuff' from one box to another larger box so that I can indeed collect more 'stuff'. I think it is possible, as a side-note, to have become too old to move into a two-story house, my feet are.....oh well, never mind.
I have been hitting my tea collection pretty damn hard since moving exactly a week ago today, and as of last night, every room is decorated, every item in its place and if it doesn't have a place, it has a closet to reside in until a place for it is found.
This morning I realized I have nothing I have to do, and so it is with great pleasure I dig out the jar of Yunnan Sourcing's King Of Duck-Shit Aroma Oolong Spring 2015.
Yum fucking YUM.

Moving into a new home creates stress and hideously sore feet. Answer? Quantitea's 'Spring Pekoe'

I will just say it. My feet look like those of a deceased hobo whose been fished out of the Hudson Bay in 1929. So, badly cared for feet to begin with, what with the hobo-status and the era, but I swear these are feet William Kennedy would have written about. (So much for my own personal foot fetish days now long gone. Such pretty toes I had, alas!)

If I could make a few gallons of Quantitea's Spring Pekoe to soak my tootsies in while breathing the wafting humid fumes( of the tea, not the feet) I think I would be healed. And while one of the few things I do have unpacked is a large plastic Home Depot utility bucket, I only have 5 grams of Spring Pekoe, and still have enough of my sanity to know drinking the tea and not bathing in it is a far more tenable option. Still. Damn good idea and I bet you dollars to donuts my feet would have thanked me.

If it weren't for Quantitea's packaging of their myriad 5-7 grams samples with clear directions on temp and steep times I would have gone mad the last few days. Might even have turned to the Keurig( husband unpacked that first, his favorite!) and just started guzzling Earl Grey out of those awful wasteful pods.
But I kept my Quanitea packets close-by and today, the first day I have no boxes to unpack and break-down, I realized I needed a green. A good, clean tasting green. Luckily for me here it is, a sweet, slightly vegetal, mild Chinese green.

Two steeps at 180f and going in for a third although have no expectations for this light green tea to give me more than it already has.

This is a green that makes me want more greens, and whites and yellows too perhaps, and I think tonight I will seek out some other greens, and now that I've moved in fully to my new house,(I have an entire room just for tea and tea writing!) I will let go of my death-grip on the puerhs, both sheng and shou and relax a little. Put on some Stanley Turrentine, sit back and try to enjoy the new space I've created. I can do that, right?