Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1995 Rou Gui

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      Lately I keep finding myself reaching for aged oolongs. Today I reached for the 1995 Rou Gui  from Essence of tea.It is hard to find a good rock tea. I think it may even be harder to brew rock tea well. I have had several sessions with this tea that where incredible.  They left me in a state of cha qi filled bliss. The flavor of the tea was complex, and enjoyable.  I have also had sessions with this tea that left me wondering if I had used the wrong leaf.  I believe That my inexperience in brewing yancha is to blame.  Several times I have been let down by tea’s that are purported to be of the highest caliber only to feel completely underwhelmed by them as a result of my inexperience in brewing (the early 60′s GuangYunGong and Snow Mark  both come to mind). I feel like this tea has helped my Gong Fu progress do to  its demanding nature.

        I am using ten grams  of leaf in my 125 ml Zisha shi piao. This I don’t feel is enough to do this tea justice but it is the last of the leaf  that I  currently possess.

        First infusion is has a strong organic flavor reminiscent of some aged shou  pu-erh with dark over ripe apricot hiding just beneath the surface. There is a medicinal flavor that is sometimes found in certain aged teas that seams to be the base flavor with a healthy bitterness. The  cup is a polished Mahogany. The cha qi is intense making its presence felt by the third sip.

     The second infusion brings a brew with some spice to it. There is a slight drying sensation on the tongue. That is counterbalanced by an almost anesthetic activity in the mouth.  There is a tea flavor to this second brew along with what could be construed as a cinnamon flavor but I would more say just a general desert spice flavor. The overripe fruit flavor of aged oolong is still there hiding just below the surface. I get Qi overload after this since I am drinking all this tea by myself (lonely me).  I really need to get a smaller Yancha Pot.
                After running off in search of breakfast to calm the qi rushing though my body, I climb back in the ring for round three.  A lemon essence appears in the first sip of this infusion and remains present through the remainder of the session. Also the slight drying mouth feel has faded considerably.  I also notice a floral honey aroma coming from cup. The qi comes rushing back with intensity. This tea keeps evolving over the coarse of the session with a cooling huigan developing in subsequent infusions.

This tea is  a Gong Fu master in its own right. It is a TEAcher that requires skill attentiveness, and patience from its student. But when given the attention it deserves it will bring out wonderful things in the cup and the drinker. Rewarding mindfulness while brewing with an excellent cup, and mindfulness while drinking with layers of flavors that seem to change with each sip. But it will also be quick to punish carelessness with a bitter or bland cup. This is  not a tea for careless every day brewing.

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