Monday, January 25, 2016

2015 Huang Guanyin - Yellow Goddess of Mercy

I'm seriously backlogged on getting teas up on the site, but that means that things are busy and that is a good thing. I've been prepping for the upcoming Assessing Assam Tasting, which will be this Saturday at 1pm for anyone that wants to join. It's a free tasting during which we will compare six different orthodox Assams from the 2015 second flush harvest. Should be fun!

This is a look at Huang Guanyin (Yellow Goddess of Mercy) from the 2015 harvest. Huang Guanyin is a relatively new hybrid cultivar that comes from a cross between Tie Guanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) and Huang Jingui (Yellow Gold). The cultivar was developed by the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences - Tea Research Institute in the late 1980s and adopted in the Wuyishan area of Fujian Province in the 1990s. The cultivar name is ART.NO.W003A (or WYA38): Huang guan yin. Picked only in April, this oolong is roasted and rolled unlike the two varietals that it comes from - Tie Guanyin and Huang Jingui are usually ball-rolled, with Tie Guanyin being either medium to heavy roasted (traditional style) or light roasted (more modern style) while Huang Jingui is usually lightly roasted (for an excellent version I often buy the Yellow Gold from Teance). 

This is perhaps one of the best Wuyi oolongs to get people excited about these amazingly complex teas. Medium roasted, with a nice sweetness and floral orchid notes, this tea is hard to go wrong with. The one exception is if you try and brew it in a pot - I really don't think Wuyi teas respond well to pot brewing, and need/must be brewed in a gaiwan with lots of leaves and quick steeps. I like 7grams in a 100ml gaiwan with ~20 second steeps. On this one, the charcoal roast notes dropped off after the first 3 steepings or so, but the honey and melon flavors persisted well into the 7th steep. Wuyi oolongs are not cheap, and if you do find a cheap one, it will probably be a disappointment. You pay for what you get, and in this case, paying for a quality Wuyi will make all the difference.

Beautiful leaves.

Nice quality plucks.
Couple of other teas that I got with the Huang Guanyin.
For this tea, the readings were:

TDS - 67
PH - 7.07

Brewed Tea
TDS - 310
PH - 6.06

TDS - 243
PH - 1.01

Monday, January 11, 2016

1998 Menghai Area Pu'er

Ahhh, the mystery and fun of older pu'er (puer, puerh, etc.). I recently bought a tong of this old pu'er - the only information I got on it was that it was harvested around 1998 from the Menghai area. Obviously it is a Menghai pu'er based on the paper wrapping, but beyond that the only other information I have is that it was stored in Guandong until 2008 under "wet conditions" and then brought over to the United States where it continued to age in "dry conditions." Some may not like the lack of information, others may not approve of the storage techniques, but one must taste the tea to make an ultimate decision.

The tea is very good in my opinion. It is what I would call a "classic" Menghai pu'er - deep, smooth, semi-sweet at the end. Some earth flavors, but really a mellow, all day drinking tea with a very slow rising cha qi. The tea can handle many steeps, and can either be brewed with flash steeps for a lighter cup or let sit for a dark, thick brew. I prefer the flash steeps myself, but one of our regulars loves to let the pu'er sit until it is nice, thick, and dark.

Measurements on this tea are:

Temp - 165
TDS - 73ppm
PH - 7.34

Brewed Tea
Temp - 165
TDS - 288ppm
PH - 6.48

TDS - 215ppm
PH - .86