Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Yunnans

More detail on yesterday's tomb.

Y'all know I really love Yunnan teas. To me they are unique and I have been waiting for this year's crop to arrive. I ordered a few from Uptons Teas and today I am trying their Huang Jin Yunnan. The long twisted leaves are a greeny brown with a goodly portion of silvery buds.
The aroma is that of a floral spice, with some cotton candy thrown in for good measure.

I brewed it up with boiling water for 5 minutes! Yikes, but those were the directions. It gave off a lovely scent of old wood and chocolate. I had high hopes for the taste. Sadly, this was not to be. There was some definite spice and a bit of chocolate, but it was overshadowed by the bitterness of too long a brew. I put some half and half in and that made a huge difference to the good, as it smoothed away the edges. Then I brewed some for only 4 minutes and it was a great improvement, as I could better taste the spice and chocolate and that indefinable something that says "Yunnan" to me. However, this too was improved with the addition of a bit of cream.

I have to note that 2 days ago, when I had no time or inclination to think about tea tasting, just time to enjoy tea, I brewed some of this for my usual 3.5 minutes and my memory is that it was so wonderful, even my husband commented on how good it was. So, I am going to take my own advice and do it 3.5 minutes in the future.

This illustrates something we need to be aware of when having tea - finding the one that suits you. Individual taste is unique to each of us. The folks who reccommend a certain temperature or length of brew may only be giving you a broad outline, however skilled they are in tea brewing. Often you can find someone equally skilled who disagrees completely. Case in point - most people say you should brew Oolong with water at 185 degrees and put a lid n your pot. Gingko Seto says to use boiling water and leave the pot uncovered. Who is right? Both work. You need to experiment for yourself and see what suits you the best.

I do reccommend that your first cup of a new tea should follow the merchant's suggestion, or go with what is generally suggested for a certain typeof tea and then play with it until you like it. Again, you need to bear in mind that merchants and their staff are people, too andtheir suggestions come from their tastes, which may not be yours.

Tomorrow will be my last post until next Monday. We are going to visit friends on our way to a family wedding. The men will all be in kilts, the women in clan dress of some sort, there will be a piper and this all will be in the Adirondak Mountains of New York amidst beautiful fall color. Such fun!

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