Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going for the Gold

Ballenberg - the balcksmith's forge and inn

I let the Indigo Dreams from Madam Potts cool and it was delicious! More of the Jasmine came out - a winner every which way!

I discovered that I have two types of Yunnan tea from Adagio. One is Golden Yunnan, the other, Yunnan Gold. I think the former is now Golden Monkey. I didn't buy them that long ago, maybe in the late summer/early fall. Since I had the two I thought I would compare them.

Both of these teas are beautiful. Golden as their names imply. The GY is more gold and has less dust and bits of leaves. However, there is a very fine very golden dust on the underside of the top. Both have big somewhat fat leaves and buds. They smelled similar - like Yunnan, of course. The Y G was winey and smelled like an old house. Not unpleasant or moldy, just one that had been lived in a lot. To me, it was quite pleasant, reminding me of my grandmother's or great-aunt's houses. I guess where there had been a lot of good cooking. The G Y was also winey, lighter and more like a winery, in the room where the wooden casks of wine are stored. I brewed them both for 3.5 minutes with boiling water, using about 1.5 teaspoons per cup because the leaves are so big.

The YG brewed up darker and more intense with somewhat more depth of flavor. There was more of the slightly peppery flavor of Yunnan. However, the G Y seemed more complex, setting off more parts of my mouth with flavor. There was more nuttiness, more leather and wine barrel in it. Both were quite smooth and I would be hard-pressed to choose between them. I generally go for the most gold, as I usually like those Yunnans best. Here, there really isn't enough difference. As a side note, they both went very ,very well with a ham salad sandwich.

I am sure that those with a better palate would be able to discern many more differences and layers of flavor than I. I like to think I represent the average drinker of good loose teas. I really admire those with super palates and wish I had one, but there I am, along with most of us, I would guess.

Today's mail brought me a new book from Amazon – Mary Lou and Robert Heiss's newest – The Tea Enthusiasts Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best Teas. It was $11.55 plus shipping. I haven't had a chance to look at it, but I am eager to, as their last book was excellent. This is quite different, more along the lines of Harney's book.

No comments: