Revisited a Wu Yuan Jian rougui this afternoon only to find, to my surprise, that it now stands head and shoulders above a Hui Yuan Keng rougui from the same season. A Ma Tou Yan rougui turned out to be enjoyable too, until it pretty much gave up its ghost by the fifth steep (we were admittedly pushing it).
Chanced upon this kettle whose overall shape, craftsmanship, and finish I took to after a couple of hours. Trying to capture its elusive purple sheen with a phone camera is proving to be an impossible feat. Happily, it looks better now that I’ve started to break it in and gear it up for a sesh this Saturday. Yay!
Just hangin’ out.
Of the numerous varieties/cultivars we’ve had so far, capri and black thorn were two that stood out for me.
Catching up on this year’s durian run before it draws to a close in approximately 20 days.
Mid-Qing, c. 1800 – 1850.
Following the doctor’s prescription, I’m taking my Sauternes in the form of pills.
Also, it’s probably spelled rasin because i don’t wanna share this with anyone.
From an estate surrounded by primary forests — and which enjoys geographical advantages as well as a microclimate that allow for organic tea growing and management — comes this batch of outstanding material that would be put through a slow, long period of leaf maceration with frequent tumbling. It should yield the desired level of oxidation that would form the backbone of the tea.
On the shoulders of giants.
Numerous extant accounts have been particularly helpful in our attempt to reconstruct traditional gongfucha. Take for instance Lian Heng’s “山水之間見性靈，平生愛好是茶經；眾中陸羽今何在，把臂同來辨渭涇；若深小盞孟臣壺，更有哥盤仔細鋪；破得工夫來瀹茗，一杯風味勝醍醐。” The teaware of Lian Heng’s time departed somewhat from the more traditional “大彬之罐，大壯之爐，琯溪之箑，長竹之筐” we find in《龍溪縣誌》but were nevertheless venerated articles that are still (relatively) common today. Some items have for whatever reason virtually fallen into disuse, but it could be nice to bring them back to the tea table — if anything, the experience would afford us an hour or two where we can indulge in a little historical narrative, and perhaps relook at the pace of our lives.
Shuang Ru Feng rougui 雙乳峰肉桂. Enchanted by its exceptionally clean and pure expression of varietal typicity, with a slightly spicy nose and flavours that evoke orange blossoms and honey supported by nuances of osmanthus and fig. Eagerly anticipating the release of this year’s collection in mid-July.
For old times’ sake. So long, and thanks for all the fish!
“So much harm has been done already by the mutual misunderstanding of the New World and the Old, that one need not apologise for contributing his tithe to the furtherance of a better understanding.” — Kakuzo Okakura.
Just heard from a contact who claims she has verified with her sources that 20 haute branded Wuyi teas were sold in Shanghai this year at the following prices (given in RMB per jin/500g, based on retail 8g packs)
1. 九龍窠母樹大紅袍 Jiu Long Ke mother tree Da Hong Pao - 5,200,000
2. 遠香 Yuan Xiang - 480,000
3. 瑞泉聖匠 Rui Quan Sheng Jiang - 388,000
4. 無極 Wu Ji - 375,000
5. 天驛古茗 Tian Yi Gu Ming - 300,000
6. 鶴頂紅 He Ding Hong - 198,000
7. 西楚霸王 Xi Chu Ba Wang - 180,000
8. 莫問 Mo Wen - 180,000
9. 念念不忘 Nian Nian Bu Wang - 168,000
10. 一葉難求 Yi Ye Nan Qiu - 150,000
11. 不可言說 Bu Ke Yan Shuo - 150,000
12. 王威王 Wang Wei Wang - 139,000
13. 空谷幽蘭 Kong Gu You Lan - 128,000
14. 坑爹 Keng Die - 136,000
15. 曦瓜一號 Xi Gua Yi Hao - 96,000
16. 暗裡迷香 An Li Mi Xiang - 88,800
17. 心頭肉 Xin Tou Rou - 66,000
18. 一壺灌頂 Yi Hu Guan Ding - 38,800
19. 勾魂奪魄 Gou Hun Duo Po - 30,000
20. 默岩 Mo Yan - 30,000
Of course, further checks should be done to ensure the veracity of these claims — I, for one, am pretty sceptical. But if true, the teas are still cheaper than your DRCs and Moutons (I think?).
A dream came true, sooner than expected! I finally had a chance to try 南雲 主于三 Shuzo Nagumo’s tea cocktails and they are out of this world — immaculately crafted with a whisper of austerity, yet so approachable and straightforward it belies the amount of thought and effort that goes into each drink. Pictured: Uji gyokuro; gyokuro tea-tail with Islay malt and ice wine; soba cha with pineapple and dehydrated miso; houjicha Manhattan made with Ron Zapaca and high age Cognac; and matcha Godfather with kuromitsu and amaretto. Gyokuro spirit (which I didn’t take a photo of), made from grain spirit and gyokuro in a rotary evaporator, had me slumped on the couch wondering if this could be one of the most divine libations to touch human lips.
In addition to purples and greens, elusive shades of blue can also be picked up in some of Kamada Koji’s yohen shiko (燿変紫光). Of course, being yohen in the true sense of the word, this effect is achieved in varying quality and refinement.
Li Shu He’s tenmoku/tianmu or jianzhan (in the loose sense of the word). It’s interesting to note that the underlying layer of glaze beneath the oil spots retains a clear green-hued transparency not unlike that of 蓼冷汁天目, making it seem as if the coppery silver oil spots are suspended in mid-air. As far as tenmoku oil spots go, 浮萍肌理 is a hallmark of authenticity (understood as a working set of parameters since it appears the jury is still out on what is “authentic”; some “jianzhan” made in Jianyang can’t even be called that in the true sense of the word.)
Dehua porcelain, pretty little thing.
Quiet little sesh this afternoon involving a couple of easy-drinking oolongs.