Queued post, written June 11th 2014
Auggy sent me three different kinds of Lahahaha touchas, so let’s try this again. This one has lotus in it, which… I’m not sure I’ve ever had before. I think I might have, but I can’t remember what it would have been in, so I’m going to assume that I haven’t. I can’t remember anything about whether or not I liked it anyway, so either way I’m pretty much starting with the beginning.
This gaiwan business went relatively well last week, so I’m going to try it again. I’m still not sure how to go about deciding how long or short each steep should be, but this time I started with
5 sec (or so. I counted elephants instead of using the timer): Just to get it to start breaking up a bit. I understand that lots of people do this and discard it, but as I’m not afraid of puerh flavour in general, I thought I might as well see what was what.
At this point it becomes clear to me that I’m possibly somewhat handicapped due to grass pollen. Apparently I’m developing a sensitivity. It’s been very high lately and making me a bit sniffly. It’s worse for Husband, who can sneeze an incredible amount of times in a row after having mowed the lawn. Having a shower and change of clothes afterwards helps him a lot, but yes, in general, we’re both being pollinated. Even now, first thing in the morning my nasal membranes feel a little bit swollen.
Caveat aside, I’m getting sweetness from this and a little bit of a floral aroma. Not something that screams flowers, but it’s just sort of hovering around the edge a bit. The flavour is the same. It’s a bit sweet and a little tiny bit floral, but other than that it strikes me as default mild puerh. Not particularly earthy, mushroom-y or farm-y, but just puerh. It’s actually very very pleasant.
10 sec: Still quite sweet in the aroma, but I’m not getting that floral touch now. There’s much more puerh-y notes coming out now as well, but again it’s that sort of default one without any of the other notes that I associate with it normally. I’ve never considered puerh to be a particularly sweet type of tea before, but I’m beginning to change my mind a little bit on that. Mind you, I’m still slightly nasally handicapped, but perhaps there is a little bit of fresh soil notes in it now? Not the sort that you dig up in the garden. I mean the sort that Husband uses to grow his seedlings in.
Oooh gosh, there’s an awful lot of flavour in it now. It suddenly stopped being so mild. It caught me completely unawares and I wondered for a brief moment if I had over-steeped. Then I remembered the ten seconds… It’s got a smidge of bitterness and floral musty notes now. Especially when swallowing. It really does taste like something that was given ten minutes rather than ten seconds. That first rinse-y step? I liked that a lot better than this one. It’s really very floral. I wonder if lotus falls under that category of flowers that I just can’t really enjoy. Like jasmine.
10 sec: It’s more floral than sweet now, but it’s not perfume-y as such. Underneath that I get the same default puerhness but still with no real characteristics of its own. I can’t even find that smidge of soil notes now, so perhaps I was merely imagining it before.
It’s very darkly coloured, though, so I expect it’s going to be a strong flavour again. At least this time I’m prepared for it!
Yes, it’s still quite strong, but thankfully that near-bitterness that made it difficult to drink before is somewhat diminished. We’re back to something quite sweet, but also quite floral. Not actually the kind of unpleasant-floral that I had feared, though. It is however leaning in that direction. I’m not certain what I think of lotus at this point, really. (I don’t think I could recognise it in a blind test either. I can sometimes do that with jasmine. One supposedly orange blossom oolong that was really actually a stealth jasmine blend proved that.)
12 sec: I can’t really make myself go from 10 seconds and straight to 15. For these short times it seems like an enormous jump.
This seems to be chameleon tea. It went from slightly floral and quite puerh-y to quite floral and slightly puerh-y and now back again to… well. Not slightly, really. Moderately floral and quite puerh-y. It’s quite sweet again, too. The taste is still very floral, though, but that sweetness and default puerh-ness is coming through a lot more. It’s actually reminiscent of the very first five seconds wake-up go. Mild and pleasant again.
15 sec: Quite nasally challenged right now, but I’ve done all my housework for the day in an hour (I timed it), except the tasks that are to do with cooking dinner and clearing up after, so I deserved a cup of tea. In other words, while not really sniffly or sneezy, I can’t smell plock all.
I can’t really taste much either. Seems like a milder version of the previous steep though. Perhaps a little less floral too, but I’m uncertain about that. One sip I think it is, next sip I think it’s the same proportions only milder.
This is as far as I got today. It’s a hot day and I lost interest in favour of Ribena.
The following written June 25th 2014
Trying again but with a Western steep this time. I thought I should do both kinds since I’m far more familiar with (and likely to use) a Western steep.
Here it smells quite puerh-y; mushroom broth-y and earthy. There isn’t much of floral notes to speak of though. Perhaps a little bit, but not much.
It’s quite floral in flavour though. Flower is the first note I get and the last one too when I sip, and in between it all the mushroom notes.
Reading back through what I wrote on the gong-fu session, I find that this is a fairly accurate average of what I discovered then. Which again leads me to conclude that by foregoing that process and using a Western steep, I’m not actually missing out on that much. With such a small difference between the end results, I’ll prefer the more convenient method.
Because I’m that lazy. There, I said it.