25 Tasting Notes

300ml zisha yixing

probably why they came out more sour & metallic than roasted


INFs started at 2min (by accident; was going to try 1m)

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~300ml xishi zini yixing

Dry Leaves: Grey brown scattered with the burnt sienna of the open end of a broken stick. Appears be a handful of miniature twigs.

Wet Leaves: Auburn & green stained brown. Chopped leaves and stems. Ode to a Nightingale.

Liquor: Rich auburn

Mouthfeel is smoother than creamy. Too bad it finishes with a sour tightening of the salivary glands.

Under the lids smells of roasted marshmallows. Elsewhere, it’s all campfire. Warms the entire belly.

I keep coming back to this tea because it takes me on those walks through low mountains that turn enjoyably into speed setting records due to rain.

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120ml shi piao

Dry Leaves:
Spectrum of acorn browns. Look compressed rather than rolled. Dried prunes (酸梅) and a single unmistakeable flower end note.

Wet Leaves:
Olive green, edged and veined with brown. Sweet, perfume rather than flowers, hot sawdust, wet woody stems. Interesting, there are indeed what look like bug bites.


Brewing steps:
15s rinse 205°F

INF1: 15s
More mouthfeel (smooth & substantial, tenderest meat) than aroma or taste, although the orchids & eastern medicine are already there. Massive dull pins and needles all over inside the body chaqi.

INF2: 30s
Odd dried roots, like in a Chinatown pharmacy. The dried or cured fruits in Aji Ichiban bins.

INF3: 50s,
A woman’s dressing table littered with concoctions. The large white framed window next to the table is wide open to the garden. The sun is shining but the ground, stone path and rhododendron are still damp from the earlier morning shower. Mild honey coughdrop. The scent at the bottom of the cup is sweet, very sweet nectar.

INF4: 20s
A watermelon’s unripe white seeds. Syrup. Heirloom cedar trunk. Not much of a taste, maybe citrus if the peel in christmas cake could still be considered citrus. Maple syrup at the bottom of the cup. Chaqi is like a tube of wind from the center of the chest right through the back.

INF5: 30s
Under the lid is somewhere outdoors a young girl can’t explore alone yet. The leaves are also feminine, old Europe when a 35 year old unmarried woman wasn’t really acceptable & her independence thought stubborn. Wet tobacco? The taste is all sweetness, something that leaves the fingers sticky with juice. Maple sugar candy at the bottom of the cup.

INF6: 50s
Now I am almost outdoors. But still not in nature, just not trapped by some woman in a corner. Tobacco at the bottom of the cup.

I drink tea because my favorite teas take me somewhere. This tea takes me somewhere I’ve never been, exotic. It seems, however, that I have an inner sense of where I want to go. This place is beautiful, and I don’t mean in a superficial way. There is an allure, and here for a layover, I’m definitely curious, but there’s nothing irresistible.

INF8: 60s
Under the lid is cigar ash. In the tea as well, as comforting as Father’s.

In tieguanyin’s, tea experts look for yin yun (音韻), where yin is both the character in Guan Yin and resonance/sound; in Wuyi’s, yan yun (岩韻). I guess tea could be about a combination of opening up the senses of smell & taste, and the finishes. I haven’t gotten there: where the fragrance isn’t overpowering, the taste not too sweet fruity et al, and the finishes equal a peaceful state of mind. With most tea, I’m in a heightened observational state.


There is nobody as ostentatious, or as persuaded of his own refinement of taste as the man who performs the tea-ceremony. He deliberately reduces the wide world of poetry to the most cramped and limiting proportions. He is self-opinionated, over-deliberate in his actions, and a fussy old woman about trifling niceties.

If such a jumble of petty rules and regulations can be said to constitute elegance and good taste, then the boys in the regimental barracks … must be fairly wallowing in it. —Soseki Natsume, “Kusamakura”

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100ml thick walled gaiwan

Leaf color: olive green chocolate brown
Dry aroma: heavily perfumed flowers (roses?) passing their peak; pit fruit
Steep color: caramel
Wet aroma: flowers passing their peak, maybe even some dead bugs
Tea aroma: herbal
Tea base: eastern medicine
Steep taste: manuka honey
Steep texture: full mouth light around the tongue
Throatiness: long & enduring, as if the tea were milk (late: bright almost metallic)
Quenchless: dries the tongue, dries the throat, warms the belly
Chaqi: makes muscular the area in the center of the chest & between the shoulder blades

Keeping this tea going.
After an overnight, the flavor is all longan/lychee family sweetness.

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drank Gao Leng Jin Xuan by Fu Guang
25 tasting notes

100ml thick walled gaiwan

Leaf color: olive green chocolate brown
Dry aroma: perfumed crackerjacks
Steep color: wheat
Wet aroma: orchids! popped corn hulls, warm milk, seaweed
Tea aroma: orchids; when cooler, milk
Tea base: popped corn hulls
Steep taste: leafy greens
Steep texture: silken flint
Throatiness: enduring
Quenchless: firm, substantial
Chaqi: undeniably relaxing

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drank Gao Leng Jin Xuan by Fu Guang
25 tasting notes

100ml ruyi yixing

Leaf color: olive green chocolate brown
Dry aroma: roasted grain, caramel popcorn, matured flowers, warm milk
Steep color: late autumn/early winter meadow
Wet aroma: hot sugared milk, grill burnt buttered corn, crab, garden of flowers in full blossom, steamed leafy greens
Tea aroma: flowers!
Tea base: vegetable stock
Steep texture: bright, flinty
Throatiness: enduring
Quenchless: brothlike (light, slightly oily), tongue curling, warms belly
Chaqi: enveloping, well-deserved sleepiness; like sunlight playing on a body of fresh water throughout the body behind closed lids

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drank Gao Leng Jin Xuan by Fu Guang
25 tasting notes

aka golden lily, milk or silk oolong, nai xiang

120ml shi piao yixing

Leaf color: olive green chocolate brown
Dry aroma: dry roasted corn husk, orchid! afterthought suggestion of milk
Steep color: winter sunlight
Wet aroma: perfumed crackerjacks, fresh cut field grass & carnations, as if the sea were milk and seaweed flowered, green tea cookies dipped in nut milk, the later the infusion the longer the dip the more dairy the milk
Tea base: warm milk
Steep taste: spring vegetables steamed, complex leafy greens soup with a dollop of cream
Steep texture: light, wet
Throatiness: long & enduring, as if the tea were milk (late: bright almost metallic)
Quenchless: brothlike (light, slightly oily), then slippery
Chaqi: brightens eyes, relaxes shoulders

The tea lasts (final infusion at 30min). From initial infusion to final, the upfront flavor goes from being floral to milky and back to floral. All good, and the tea could probably be pushed to 2hrs and then overnight; however , the milky huigan of the last infusions tasting like a watered skim isn’t terribly motivating.

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~100ml yixing

Leaf color: spectrum from brown via green to silver
Dry aroma: nutty, then rich with muscatel
Wet aroma: sweet, sweet muscatel
Steep taste: faintest tropical fruit, flower, not complex ( is that camphor at the back of my throat, in my chest)
Steep texture: light, dry
Quenchless: mouthwatering, then descends to rest & warm a sweet spot in the belly
Chaqi: buzzy, feels like my ears are about to pop

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~120ml shi piao yixing

Smell of the dry tea in the warmed pot is so delicious, delightful. It’s summer. It’s sweet, nutty (odor of baked nutfruit bread wafting out a window?).

Chaqi is strong & bright, like getting hit with a tidal wave of freshwater.
Or a vigorous massage with tingly oil.

Mouthfeel makes the cheeks, then both sides lower, salivate.
Dries up the roof of the mouth, then the front half of the tongue.

The aroma is simultaneously light and rich; gushes up the back and out the nose.

Wet leaves look like freshest red leaf lettuce.

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