Sunday Tea Hoots 26 – I Felt My Kidneys

I felt my kidneys yesterday.

Yesterday was a full on tea day and binge. The day started with me going to Floating Leaves Tea for a Bulang mountain puer tasting class. So far I have only wrote about the High Mountain tasting event, but I have also attended a Nannuo puer and Phoenix Dancong tasting class, all very educational with great tea! Here was the tasting pile for Bulang!

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Going in I expected some really bitter puer typical of Bulang, however we also had some Bulang area puer that had so much energy or feels of being jolted awake. The Bulang on the menu was a maocha picked by Floating Leaves Tea and friends on one of their tea tours. It was light tasting but it was most impressive that it was handpicked!

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Also up for tasting was 2010 Yunnan Sourcing Bu Lang Jie Liang (which was insanely super bitter), a 2009 Houde Bulang, Bana Tea Company Sheng and Shou Bulang. I got super excited as we followed those teas with a BanZhang, which drinking that felt like my body was so keened up to buzz around and fly.

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However….

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THE PINK GAIWAN. Whatever was in this pink gaiwan just wrecked me. It was something acquired by the Floating Leaves Tea shop owner. Apparently it had banzhang material and wet storage.

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I got tunnel vision, my head felt like it was getting attacked by one of those wire head massagers, my mayo brain was doing back flips within my skull, and crawly. Going to the bathroom after drinking this was a strange experience of walking into everything. This tea was amazing though, I recall loving the wet storage taste and needing a cake of it.

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That concluded the tea tasting class of Bulang puer. But wait, there’s more! I had another tea gathering to sit through! A couple out of town tea buddies came and we had more tea. I also got to admire this pretty silver tea pot!

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This sitting – Yunnan Sourcing “Green Duck Shit” Dancong, Crimson Lotus Tea’s Old Warrior, Crimson Lotus Tea 2014 Jiangcheng, and then Phoenix Tea Kenya Oolong. The Kenyan Oolong was strange as it smelled and tasted like a black, looked a little green and light brewed as an oolong. It was dubbed #blacklong and #blackblackdragon.

Bitterleaf’s Mad King made an appearance and this is when my body started screaming. I’ve never turned down a cup until this. I had a couple steeps then was getting way too jittery and tea drunk at this point – 3 banzhangs in one day was just asking for it. You know it is bad when after you drink White2Tea 1998 Numbers puer and it makes you chill out enough to mostly function. At this point my sides were hurting, this is what they are talking about when you have too much tea and you know you are drinking too much tea. I probably would of been fine if I had these two tea sessions day or so apart. My kidneys were protesting and I needed off the puer and some food.

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Shiuwen had the best idea and we finished with a 3 Roast Dong Ding Oolong. That Dong Ding was excellent, brought us down enough to buy a bunch of oolong and stumble into the streets. We somehow made it to Northern Thai food for dinner and Full Tilt Ice Cream for dessert. I’ve reviewed a few tea flavors of Full Tilt Ice Cream, but in person it was really cool as we got to taste all the flavors. I ended up with a big scoop of “Blue Moon” which tasted like childhood (Fruit Loops) but as an ice cream. The ice cream pleased the kidneys.

I actually slept after all this tea, though it was of dreams of people’s faces melting and dinosaurs at Costco. I spent the tea hangover at a Farmers Market tasting handfuls of salmon (literally, Ballard Farmer’s market sellers dump a handful of smoked salmon in your hands as a sample) and getting arnica lotion rubbed on me. The rest of my Sunday hooting will be snuggling with vat of Muzha Tieguanyin and cookies.

No regrets and I have a week to recover to be in good working order for the Northwest Tea Festival.

 

2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng from Denong Tea – Tea Review

I encountered Denong Tea at the 2016 World Tea Expo and greatly enjoyed their teas. Some of them I have had, as Bana Tea Company carries a couple of them. While at the World Tea Expo, I lost my mind over their 2015 Enchanting Beauty Sheng and stockpiled. After the Expo, Denong Tea was awesome to send me some samples of their other shengs and one of them was this 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng. I figure I review this Nannuo first so I got more Enchanting Beauty for myself, HAHAHAHA!

Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is sold in 100 gram bricks. Their wrapper art is very pretty, here is a picture I stole from their website of the brick of 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng.

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And here is my sample. They use pretty nice sample bags!

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

My 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng was a broken up already for me due to sample. The scent is vegetal and a little like menthol cigarettes.

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I used 1 gram of leaf to 15ml of steeping vessel. I had 8 grams so I decided to use the whole thing in a larger gaiwan. In retrospect, I should of used my tiny 60ml gaiwan.

Tasting of Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng Puer

The Nannuo puer steeps up an interesting champange colour. The wet hot leaf smells slightly of floral and vegetal.

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First Infusion: This first round is very light but I’m getting an oily body with a clean soft sip and a slight floral finish. This tea is sold in a brick and the pieces are pretty compact. That said, I am considering this a second rinse.

Second and Third Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng sips in light, but more developed in flavor and ramping at the end. Most of the flavor comes in at the end as a buttery artichoke heart and sticky rice. The body is oily but also sticky feeling in the finish. The aftertaste is killer with a long buttery floral which lingers in my mouth.2012-nannuo-denong-tea-oolong-owl-5

Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is still ramping up in flavor. This steeping goes to the max at end of sip. The sip in is buttery artichoke, the finish is camphor tabacco and bitter. The aftertaste is STRONG camphor and a peachy floral that never ends. Each steeping develops more bitter and gives a dry teeth feel, contrasting the oily texture. The tea is hitting me already as I’m getting feels of a giant attack crab is pinching my skull and making my eyes pop out. WHOO HOOOOOOT!

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Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: I got too tea drunk from dodging enemy crabs that I oversteeped the 8th infusion, making my cup a strong dandelion yellow.

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The flavor is back to artichokes but that more strong wild flavor of nibbling the outer leaves. The vegetal flavor also reminds me of those sticky rice things wrapped in leaves – as I taste that outer rice plus steamed leaf flavor. The end of sip is camphor and pretty bitter with funny teeth feels of dry and sticky. I like artichokes but they are a pain to eat. I rather drink this tea!  The aftertaste is vegetal, bitter steamed leaf and floral. Denong had tasting notes on the sample which I felt was accurate as I do taste some jasmine here. However the jasmine note more so reminds me of a jasmine green I oversteeped to death with that bitter cooked floral taste, but with more depth that a puer tends to feature.

After this infusion the flavor got light.. but the other steepings in this black I can still taste that 8th crazy strong bitter  steep.

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Eleventh and Twlefth Infusion: The bitter lessened, maybe it’s under steeped from whatever I did on steep 8 and my mouth finally reset. The flavor is slightly sweet, rich savory vegetal, mineral, and camphor. There is a slight incense essence to it to. The body isn’t as thick but I still get a lip balm feel. It is pretty dry and I’m aware of my teeth. The after taste is very long. I’ve made this session last long simply by sipping and walking away to do other things (making bread in my case), but still tasting the tea.

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is still going. I did long steeps here around 10 and 15 minutes. I was planning to have another tea after this but it isn’t happening. The Nannuo sips in butter, camphor and mineral, finishing off bitter, with a long lasting flavor. The texture is super dry, it has gone down to my throat and making me feel crunchy, causing me to sip more.

Fifteenth and Sixtheenth Infusion: I did a pair of power steeps, about 30 to 45 minutes. I was surprised I got a 16th infusion. The flavor is buttery artichoke and mineral sweet with a strong dry finish. After the 16th infusion, despite smelling close to dead, but I think I could likely steep it one more time. However, I’m feeling pretty chill right now and will snuggle with enemy crab and do some knitting.

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Comments

As of right now Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is one of the nicest young nannuos I’ve had. Last month I tried a 2016 nannuo and revisted a different 2012 nannuo I own and this Nannuo from Denong Tea one blows them both out of the water and through a mountain.

The 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng‘s body is great, the notes are complex and the aftertaste is super long. I had one shot with this tea as I only have a single serving, so I dunno if I butchered it on steep 8 as it got pretty bitter. I enjoyed the camphor notes and the feels of this tea, I wished I did two small sessions instead of one big solo one.

Oooofph. I just looked at the price – $62 for a 100 gram brick. I honestly didn’t know how much this tea was until after I drank it. Denong Tea’s 2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is really good tea and you certainly get your money’s worth with the longevity this tea has. If you love sticky rice nannuo, camphor, or an awesome quality sheng, this is it.  2012 Nannuo First Spring Sheng is certainly on my wish list doom cart or google alert me on future Denong Tea sales.

(tea provided for review)

2016 Jingmai Love from Crimson Lotus Tea – Tea Review

I always associate Crimson Lotus Tea for having excellent Jingmai sheng puer. Awesomely, Glen & Lamu, owners at Crimson Lotus Tea, gifted me a cake of the new Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE sheng puer.

Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE is an affordable 200 gram hand blended puer cake. Stats on this puer is it is from Simao Prefecture, 1300m elevation, and wood fired.

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I love the design of Jingmai Love wrapper and greatly appreciate the back that clearly states the tea and seller. It saves the front for artwork, and I don’t have to tape more information to the wrapper or open to see the ticket.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The puer cake has quite a bit of silver leaf in it than I’m used to seeing. The tea has a light sweet floral scent to it. Breaking off a serving was fairly easy to do.

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I went with 1 gram to 15ml leaf to vessel ratio. I used 200F/93C water temperature, starting after I did a quick rinse.

By the way, this Xi Shi tea pet pot and jianshui cup is also from Crimson Lotus Tea, which I bought awhile back. I use the cup for sheng, and as far as I know the teeny tea pot pet has never left my tea table. As of right now, the cups are sold out, but there are a number of different tea pot pets still left.

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Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE Sheng Puer

First, Second, and Third Infusion: Jingmai Love steeps up a pale yellow. The hot leaf smells like steamed sweet sticky rice.

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2016 Jingmai Loves tastes on the stronger side and is nicely full flavored. Right away I feel a change of pace as most of the other 2016 shengs I’ve been having are quite light. Jingmai Love sips in sweet, vegetal, with a hint of floral aftertaste. As I steep and drink, the flavor blooms more into honeysuckle with a thick creamy body. Some sips tastes almost under ripe apricots, others remind me of wheat barley. It has a nice refreshing quality to it as I get a cooling feel in my throat after each sip. I get a slight aftertaste that liners of that under ripe apricot. Phew, a lot going on!

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Fourth and Fifth Infusion: As I drink this puer I notice it gives me a tingling feeling in my throat, which when I breath it produces that cool feel. The flavor is dancing right before bitterness, but I mostly just taste under ripe apricots and honeysuckle. I get a slight dryness starting in my mouth, but still pleasant. This tea is like drinking in a spring breeze. Jingmai love brings me back a month to sitting on my deck, feeling the breeze, eating apricots, before I can them all into jam. I’m feeling pretty cool and chill.

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Sixth and Seventh Infusion: I take a sip and get tingle overload! SO MUCH TINGLE. It is like this tea is full of fine carbonated bubbles as it just dances like crazy in my throat. It is a really strange experience to describe as it really isn’t carbonated and no bubble pop, but gives off that sensation.

Dammit, did I have to say bubble pop?!?!?! This blasted kpop song is now in my head, which is also popping, summery, sweet like this tea – conflicting with my current mood of cloudy September Seattle and chill zen tea drunk.

Eighth and Ninth Infusion: The bubbling is slowing down. The flavor is switching to bitterness as I’ve essentially overcooked the leaf at this point. It has a tart flavor with a bit of steamed green bitter going. I got an aftertaste of tart apricot. The texture has some slickness left but I also got some dried ass teeth.

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Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: Long infusions here, about 5 to 20 minutes. It sips in creamy soft, then ramps up to really bitter and tart, but still got some bubble in. The bitterness is bordering a little too much for me, but I am still enjoying it. I’m too busy rocking out to bubbly kpop right now to notice.

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Bonus: I did have some Jingmai Love maocha I got as a sample when I bought that tea cup and tea pet. I did it straight up cold brew and it was very good! I don’t think the cake wouldn’t do as well cold brewed since it is compressed unless you steep it a few times or steam to loosen the tea. The cold brew Jingmai Love was excellent, refreshing, and honey tasting.

Comments

Crimson Lotus Tea’s Spring 2016 Jingmai LOVE is a great young sheng with a lot going on. It’s got some sweetness and honey, but a bit of sour rocking. The texture is the gem here with switching from cool to bubbly. This is a fun sheng to play with and have an energetic session with friends. I’d say this is a party tea or solo like me you get to a chill warm up before you dance around like an idiot around your tea table.

Jingmai love is priced very well, at $45 for a 200 gram cake. If you love sweeter jingmai teas you’ll likely need to check this tea out before Oolong Owl drinks it all.

I was also given a jianshui rabbit necklace with my tea. The Tea Owls quite like it as they think it wards off evil bunnies. They fear my rabbit as one of them got chewed by my holland lop.

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(tea provided as a gift)

Sunday Tea Hoots 25 – Puer Storage Drama

For the last Sunday Tea Hoot I mentioned briefly at the end that I got a new Pumidor. For the new puer people, a “pumidor” is a vessel that stores puer in a controlled environment. Fridges do well as pumidors as they are well insulated, thus make pretty stable environments.

Anyways, I am here to tell you all my tale of my puer storage drama. I have never talked about how I store my puer since it has always been in a state of learning, then limbo, or “something better was coming.”

In my early days of puer (which you all can see digging in the 2012 archives) my storage was pretty bad. I used two small cardboard boxes which I stuffed into a dresser drawer. At least the cardboard boxes were unscented, I have a good nose for those kind of things. My dresser was free of perfumes and I used the other drawers to hold my hand knitted scarves and hide Christmas gifts. As my dresser was starting to fill up and it got very scented of tea. I was able to smell my tea from my bed! Thankfully back then I didn’t buy too many puer cakes, I still held onto my rule of buying samples of everything before committing to large orders.

Immediately after Cwyn posted her crock storage, I researched my options for crocks and found none. I even had issues buying canning jars, it seemed SoCal people didn’t ferment or can things. That said, I went to Target and World Market Cost Plus and bought a bunch of giant jars and owl cookie jars. I found ceramic kitchen compost bins were also a perfect sice. I bought a bunch of tobacco buttons and stole my husband’s hygrometer from his charcuterie box to get more serious storage. Interestingly my house generally rocked around 55% humidity since we never turned on the heat, so despite my crap storage I was lucky.

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I used crock storage for awhile and it did quite well for me. I highly recommend it if you don’t have much puer. I had a plan for better tea storage though, especially since I was running out of room to store all these bloody crocks. My idea of taking my husband’s unused charcuterie box and turning it into storage, but I needed to do a few adjustments such as make it more insulated. That never happened because at that point I found out I was moving.

For about 3 months my puer was in ziplock bags in a suitcase. My puer cakes were either coming with me in a suitcase or sitting in a warehouse somewhere in unknown conditions. My crocks were in storage, and I couldn’t get anything better as I was in temporary housing with little space. This is where I think my storage was having issues. I noticed some of my teas not tasting quite right, a little too flat.

Once I got my house and my things out of storage, my teas went back into crocks. I had another amazing idea – a tea closet. I have a Harry Potter style closet in my house that I can stuff that ol’ charcuterie box in, along with my other teas. I discovered the charcuterie box would not fit in the closet. After that, I figured I’d just build something in the closet to store my puer. Then I had problems with the actual closet as it smelled. I used baking soda, vinegar, alcohol, vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet multiple times and got no results – eventually the closet got musty and strange. My puer stash was growing and I ran out of crock space at this point. I didn’t want to buy yet another giant glass crock from Target as all these crocks were taking up too much space.

I then had amazing luck – I found a bar fridge on the side of the road. It was encased in ice, it must of malfunctioned and the previous owners dumped it. It took 2 days to thaw on my lawn, and once it thawed the fridge contained someone’s injection arthritis medication. I then left the fridge outside for the sun to UV the smell out. Unfortunately I now live in the Pacific Northwest, which is damp and weird. A zillion critters moved into my fridge and I learned earwigs LOVE the cracks in the fridge. I had spent an afternoon bleaching a fridge door in a bathtub while freaking out at the bugs crawling out of it.

Of course, after all that effort that mini fridge stinks like chemicals and plastic. I can’t risk taking the fridge outside again as another bug cleaning will cause me to have a meltdown, so I have it resting with baking soda and charcoal in an effort to remove the smell. This fridge is now airing out, hopefully it will lose all the strange smells eventually.

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I then discovered the readings on my hygrometer felt off. I was watching my crocks swing 15 to 20% in a day, which shouldn’t be happening or I’m doing something very wrong in my crocks. After testing my hygrometer I discovered it was busted. Check your hygrometers often!

Again, I had another streak of luck – my husband’s work has an internal “craigslist” and someone was trying to get rid of a broken wine fridge. I had to borrow a car to get the wine fridge home as the thing is over 100lbs. I got it home and desperately hoped, prayed to the GONS that the wine fridge wasn’t stanky. Turned out the fridge was very clean.. and interestingly was two separate chambers as it was intended to hold wine at different temperatures. One side of the fridge smelled a little tannic but it was so slight I didn’t care.

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In goes the puer! At first I was planning to just put sheng in it, bigger cakes on one side, however it worked out all my cakes fit snuggly in this single fridge. My puer stash isn’t too big, but again, I seem to sample more than I cake, and I have never tonged anything. The puer scent overtook the tannic scent, so that became a non-issue. I got a new hygrometer from Amazon – a wonderful Ambient Weather wireless system with 3 remote sensors (shout out to Grill for the help). It took about a week to get the humidity up to what I was aiming for, the photo below was taken just after I loaded the fridge, I have been rocking a 64-67% humidity.

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I am really happy with this wine fridge and it is just what a puer drinker needs – 357g puer cakes fit perfectly and the shelves pull out for easy use. Reading online, this fridge in particular, a double chamber Vinotemp, is a lemon, many people have problems with it, and would cost $750 to fix the compressor. I do like the wine fridge design more than a bar fridge due to the more open design and shelving. My only complaint is those wiggly racks aren’t wired enough to keep my 100g cakes from falling through. Either way, there are broken fridges out there, and people have to pay to dispose of them – so keep your eyes peeled since you don’t need the fridge to be in working order.

So that was the drama of my puer storage and where I am at now. I will write more in detail later on regarding my current storage as I am sure some of you have questions.

Have a hooty Sunday!

(amazon affiliate link, the tea owls are hungry)

2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer from LongRun Tea – Tea Review

Today’s tea is the 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer. I snagged this cake at the World Tea Expo 2016 but it is available on Amazon! This puer is Lingcang material.

I had asked LongRun what was their oldest shou was and they directed me to this 357 gram cake. 2005 is actually the date they rewrapped this tea. They bought a factory and these cakes were part of that acquisition, so likely they are older. I went blind on this one as I got a deal and was hoping for some good old shou.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Method

The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou is a really compressed cake, it looks like a solid mass. The scent is wonderful like a well cared for library book.

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To my surprise, the cake breaks pretty well. The leaf gives way to the puer pick, letting me break off sheets like no big deal.

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I did nothing new for steeping this shou, boiling water, 1 gram to 15ml, and 2 rinses.

Tasting of 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer

Wow, a beautiful colour! The 2005 Ruyi shou comes out a ruddy mahogany that is nice and clear.

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First and Second Infusion: The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou sips in woodsy and bright. It is thick on the lips. The flavor is quite sharp of wood without being intense. Lots of oomph. It is a little on the stale side, like old drift wood. Sipping I can tell this has been dry stored, there is no humid or wet taste. The tea is not bitter or dry. There is no funk or fish taste.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: Smooooth. Lightly creamy and finishes bright, woodsy, and quite sweet. A very mellow taste and is easy to drink. The flavor is clean, crystal sweet like pure sugar cane. After each sip my lips feel like they are oily and melting. The aftertaste is a bit of library book and driftwood. It is like comfort food in a gaiwan.

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Sixth and Seventh Infusion: The wood is deepening in flavor, it’s barky and a little coarse, poking you to wake up after drinking rounds of smooth as baby butt shou. The aftertaste has cleaned up without a library book taste. This tea is mellow and smooth, I feel like I should be knitting all the Christmas gifts right now, snuggling up by the fireplace with my bunny… who will eat the ball of yarn when I’m not looking. That bugger rabbit, he chews yarn with this blank glazed look like he is possessed. It is in his blood to destroy everything.

Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Infusion: Wowza that is sweet! It is very strong, sweet mineral, sugary, bright, and super clean tasting. The 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou isn’t woodsy now. Not dry at all, still thick lip. So sweet, it is like I’m drinking dessert.

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Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: Long steeps here, a 10 and 30 minute run. Sips in like straight up only mineral sweet. really strong mineral sweet. The tea keeps going despite barely giving off colour. It is like clear looking down the filled gaiwan. The thick texture is gone. This tea is driving me crazy. I really wanted to switch to something else but it kept going and going. Longer and longer steeps, but just as sweet and delicious.

Fifteenth Infusion: Three hour steeping here. I left my gaiwan steeping for 3 hours. When I came back, it was room temperature. The tea still had flavor! It was actually a shift as it tasted like dates, but still sweet and mineral. Very good! Not a lick of dryness.

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Comments

If you want a clean tasting and never quitting sugary sweet shou, this is your tea. You don’t need sweet tea, just chill the final steeps of 2005 Ruyi LongRun Shou Puer and you are set. This shou is likely bombproof as it never got dry, funky, or overly strong. If you are looking to get some decent tea on Amazon, 2005 Ruyi LongRun and others are there!

This one is quite nice, easy to drink, super chill on the stomach. A good drinker for someone with a sensitive tea stomach and doesn’t want a weird wet dank basement taste. I love the sweet and oomph bright power of the notes, without being funk. It does seem pricey, but it is a full 357 gram cake with age on it.

(amazon affiliate links)