Friday, January 08, 2010

Tea review - Jan 2010

I have fallen behind on tea review for a couple of months. Well, I have been busy with time and other interest, plus the holidays made me a bit lazy. So, as my first attempt of this new year, I am slowing posting my thoughts on new teas in stock for now.

Yang Mei Ye: got its name from the shape of the leaf when fresh. Here is a picture of the tea after 20+ infusions. Good looking leaves, thin large leaves, very soft and flexible, mixture of open leaves and still rolled up younger leaves, a sign of aroma with Yun both present in this tea.
Taste is sweet with a hint of plum wine flavor, with long lasting sweet after taste concentrating on the throat. It can last up to 20 some infusions. The Yun is what I love about this tea the most.

2003 Liu Bao Flower Buds. Yunnan open flower teas are quite easy to find, however Liu Bao flower buds only tea is not so common. These are all unopen smally flower buds that have been stored away for 6 years. The initial flavor is clean and sweet, the fragrace become stronger as the number of brews increases. Some times I forgot about it and left it brewing for a long time and cold, the fragrance is so delicately strong as it's blooming right in the mouth. Very lovely tea!
As my tea age increases, the more I look for in the substance of the tea. The Chinese name this substance Yun. It's how the tea make you feel, sweet, rich, smooth, stay in throat centering by the neck. The richer the Yun (substance) a tea has, the lower it reaches down your pipe. Tasty teas stay mostly in your mouth, good teas stay in the back of the throat, better teas travels down the neck, excellent teas reaches the chest, the best tea I ever had got all the way down to my heart.

*** to be continue with more tea reviews


Soïwatter said...

Hi Imen.
There is something that always puzzled me, the difference of tastes' system of references between people.

Plum wine is something barely known in France, and I never tasted it... But rustic plums varieties are very riches in my origin region, mainly turned into pies, jam and ... brandies.
So we have "developed" a certain ability to differentiate even the cultivars, with stormy debate inside families to determinate whether Hersingue plum can be considered as a Zwetchke damson or not (daughter variety!!!) And the debate in sot closed...

By the way, I never tasted flower teas (opened or buds). I wonder which kind of taste it can have, young and aged... But it's something hard to find in France.

Another question: you often speaks about Yun. What does it stand for?

Imen said...


For the lack of words, I find it difficult to convey the flavors of teas in general. This is the reason I can't portrait my teas glamorously which kinda unfair for them. Each person has different life exposures, hence the references are limited to those, otherwise imaginary.

Yun is the widely used to described the amount of tea substance can be felt physically as you drink it, each region has its own Yun, better teas have Yun vs low quality teas don't. But many case overused or misused.

The easiest way is to compare 2 teas, ie a commercial dan cong, and an old bush dan cong. The difference is quite obvious in terms of texture and your physical perception of such Yun.

Hans said...

Hello Imen,

Just opened up the 2003 Flower Bud tea not really knowing what to expect. The brew time seemed like a mystery. I went ahead and started with DC times.

Here are my notes from yesterday.

Flower buds are tightly wrapped with few that are just beginning to open. Clearly hand picked with care. Size of buds is quite consistent (+-3-5mm.) A few small leaves were present.

1st flush 30-40 sec
The first flush clogged my pot which has no strainer. Next time I will put it in a different pot. Was planning on 15 sec flush.

Liquor had a nice light reddish-purple-brown tint. In this and subsequent brews it consisted of quite fine particulate, almost like a very fine dust.

The teas buds had a woodsy smell. The infusion tasted of decaying oak chips with a bit of smoke. It was like a pu-erh perfumed water.

2nd flush 20sec and 3-4 30 sec.
Flavor remained quite consistent. It opened up a bit with each flush but nothing like leaf tea. It did not have those notable episodic events evolving from brew to brew. The buds produced not really a liquor but a more nuanced extract. Very pleasant experience and highly recommended.

Looking forward to more brewing today.