Another Round of Blind Taste Tests
Courtesy of China Cha Dao, this round of taste tests are all Douji teas. Same rules as before, I have no idea which tea is which and all of my writing and notes are written before the identities of the teas were released.
After a rinse and a quick first steep I was expecting a gentle session. There was a gentle fruity feeling in that first quick steep, with a little body and a sweet aftertaste. Then, the second steep was a tide of tobacco and bitter flavors that were under my radar. Never judge a book.
The Beta continues in this same kuwei [pleasant bitter] vein for several steeps, without much deviation. The flavors and feelings are not complex. Just a straight forward bitterness that transitions into huigan [sweet aftertaste]. Not a bad tea. In the later steeps there is a slight harshness that is akin to the acidity of white wine. The huigan is lasting, and there is also a mineral fuzzy feeling on my teeth, like after eating spinach.
Again, my cover judging was off about this teas complexity. I was about ready to give up after it was static for several steeps, then the kuwei subsided and some subtle white fruits started showing up and a new dimension materialized. White peaches in the cup and a surprising amount of interesting aroma in the gongbei [the glass serving pitcher] even after 8 steeps, which is uncommon. Maybe I misjudged the amount early on.
This is an interesting tea. There is enough going on to keep a session interesting with a range of characteristics. A few odd red flags, like various woody stems of all manner, even with some small chaguo buds [tea seed pod]. Looks like they picked the tea with a thresher. The leaves are not visually pleasing, some are a tallow hue as in the picture above. But, who cares? If there are stems and a tea looks like junk, but the tea itself is pleasant, then who am I to pick fights? Only big complaint is a scratchiness in the throat mid to late session. Otherwise I give it a passing grade.
My sample is maocha [loose, unpressed leaves]. The dry leaves are dark in color and smell like autumn tea. Some show various reddish marking even on the dry leaf. The first steep is floral and sweet, similar again to a fall tea with a fall tea feel. Sticky in the throat, smooth and pleasant.
The Zeta’s soup is reddish in hue, as opposed to the beta’s golden color. It prances around in black tea territory. It has a strong hongcha [oxidized black tea] element throughout the entire session.