A German street scene in Bacharach, a Rhine River town.
Cold and gray today, perfect for tea. I have some samples from Gingko at Life in Teacup to try and I thought I'd do her 2010 Red Tea Dan Cong. The leaves are huge and wiry, about 2.5 inches long. In the packet they have a rich strong grain-like smell, with some tree bark thrown in.
I covered the bottom of my Vietnamese mug's infuser with leaves and then threw in a few more, as I wasn't sure at all of how many to use. I brewed them for about 2.5 minutes, with boiling water. As you might expect, they barely unfurled. But they are wondrously large and some are only 1 bud and a leaf, while others are the more usual 2 leaves and a bud.
The brew is an old gold color and there isn't a lot of scent. What there is still smells of grain with a bit of floral and citrus. The taste is unlike any tea I've had, it is very light, again with a grainy taste and a little bit more of the citrus/floral coming through. Intriguing. It almost doesn't taste like tea, but with the next sip, I think, definitely a China tea. As it cools, more of a woody flavor comes through.
I brewed this a second time, for about 3.5 minutes. The color remains the same, but the scent seems to have faded. This one's taste is definitely woody-floral with just the barest hint of citrus. Definitely a really interesting and very good tea. I would not serve it with food, as its nuances deserve to be noticed all on their own.
A while ago I was trying to name my ten favorite teas and failed miserably, as there are far too many of them. But I can do my 10 favorite merchants: Upton's, Simpson and Vail, Life in Teacup, Aura Teas, Culinary Teas, Thunderbolt for Darjeelings, The Tea Spot, The Tea Smith, Harney's, Damman Freres. There, only 10. I won't mention the others, since I said I would do 10. Now it is your turn, I would really like to hear from you, dear readers, about your favorite teas or tea merchants.