Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 10-01-2004, 10:10 PM
Dog Ma 1
 
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Default Toe in the (dirty) water

OK, all this talk about Pu-erh got me interested in a new taste sensation. I
also happen to like dirt/mushroom-type tastes, like raw sulfur polypores and
wood ears. Fast foray into Boston's Chinatown on a seven-degree windy day
only revealed two grocery stores with any at all, and nothing fancy.

Most expensive I could find was a double-sealed tin (I thought this stuff
needed air?) of "Tin Find Brand - Nor Sun China compressed tea" for
$2.95/150g. Whole leaf and plenty o'twigs, nothing compressed about it.
First attempt was loose in a mug, three infusions of water well below the
boil, about 2 minutes each. Red-brown, dirty, fungal taste, not very
appealing. Loads of caffeine/theophylline, though - major jitters in a few
minutes. The smell was much more interesting than the taste. I came back in
a few hours later having made a pot of barley in my rice-cooker, and the
combined aroma was heavenly. Maybe I'll try cooking them together?

Next time I tried steeping the leaves in cold water for a few hours. That
rinse tasted dirty and not much else, was discarded. Taste of several hot
infusions about as before.

Third try: 20-second rinse in boiling water, then three regular brews.
Possibly a little smoother.

So far, nothing very exciting. Much like a cheapish oolong with a shiitake
tossed in. I also found one tuocha from "China national native produce &
animal by-products import & export corporation, Yunnan tea branch." $1.39
for a bird's-nest about 2" in diameter, even twiggier than the canned
product. Haven't tried it yet. Hope it doesn't contain civet-cat innards.

I have a feeling that higher grades might be tastier. I may be in NYC next
month. May not have time to get to IPOT across the bridge in Brooklyn, but
will probably be in Chinatown anyway looking for an inexpensive Yi-xing pot
big enough to serve six. Any recommendations on tea suppliers there? How
much need one spend for a brick of aged or just higher-quality Pu-erh to
notice the difference?

Thanks-

DM



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Old 11-01-2004, 12:24 AM
Phil Pierotti
 
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Default Toe in the (dirty) water

Oddly enough, I just purchased one of these ($3.70 Australian) in my local Chinese
Supermarket (Sussex St, Sydney CBD, Australia) just the other day.

Despite much searching, I failed to discover any civet-cat parts.

The only other pu-erh I've had (so far) is from Tao of Tea (mass-market commercialised
product).

(to my inexperienced buds) The Yunnan tasted more like a 'normal' good black than the Tao
(earthy flavors significantly more subtle)

Phil P

In article ,
says...
I also found one tuocha from "China national native produce &
animal by-products import & export corporation, Yunnan tea branch." $1.39
for a bird's-nest about 2" in diameter, even twiggier than the canned
product. Haven't tried it yet. Hope it doesn't contain civet-cat innards.

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Old 11-01-2004, 11:35 PM
Joseph Kubera
 
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Default Toe in the (dirty) water

Don't know about pu-erhs in NYC Chinatown. Big Apple tearoom there has one
puerh disc on display, but I don't know anything about it. Maybe Lew Perin
will see this thread and suggest places. He's our eminent Chinatown
explorateur.

Too bad you won't get to IPOT. My guess is they're the best local place to buy
pu-erh. Of course, they do mail-order too.

I was in Ito En (Japanese tea purveyor) on Madison Ave. circa 69th St. (or is
it 79th) about a month ago when, oddly enough, they had brewed pu-erhs for
sampling. One of them seemed quite good.

Joe Kubera
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