Author Topic: Chinese Tea discussion thread  (Read 10544 times)

Offline tsammyc

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4766
  • I think, therefore I am
Chinese Tea discussion thread
« on: May 17, 2011, 21:09 »
I have recently started to drink a lot more chinese tea and less Nespresso coffee. Pete and Francis gave me some good stuff recently so I thought that I would start a thread to see what people are drinking and where they get it from. Currently, I drink the following:

Various Tie Guan Yin teas (a form of oolong tea) imported from China. Most were gifts My favourite is Yuxiangzhen brand http://www.yuxiangzhen.com/tea.asp although the Ying Fa that Pete and Francis gave me was pretty good too. TWG in Singapore also sells a Tie Guan Yin in the shape of a large ball that opens up like a flower when you steep it. Its not bad but the ones that are individually vacum packed are better.

Jasmine Tea. I have a few, but my favourite is from Wang San Yang Tea Merchant in Upper Cross Street. They also have branches in Vivo City and Ion. The highest grade of Jasmine is very fragrant.

I also bought some 5-yr old Pu Er (Poh Le in Cantonese) tea from Wang San. It comes in a 400g round biscuit and can be brewed and brewed over and over again. Its much smoother than the Pu Ers that you get say in the Bak Kut Teh stalls.

I also drink some Green Teas. Generally I prefer the fermented teas, but sometimes I feel like a change.

Offline ootg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1969
  • Argh! Not Again!
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 23:54 »
I got the habit of drinking Chinese tea from my days in Shanghai. I like the green teas and the white teas are spectacular. Good teas are not cheap though.

Offline vajrasattvasg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 921
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 00:52 »
I'm a chinese tea freak! :) was into it since i was 13.

i spent half my life drinking green chinese teas and eventually developed a love for wuyi teas.

TKY is a hit and miss sometimes. too much commercialization has resulted in the deterioration of what TKY really is, a lot taste like vegetable sap or some over roasted teas. TKY comes in predominantly 3 manufacturing styles, the 清香,浓香,玉香 styles. The first, is my preferred style, but very difficult to get real fresh, real fragrant 清香 TKY. This style has a low oxidation, flowery and fruity, but no greeness, no smoky roasting etc. Requires premium leaf stock, careful 杀青,careful oxidation, careful drying and eventually proper packaging, else over time or exposure to air, the qualities are lost.

浓香 is bolder, more heavily oxidised and many times roasted, with several degrees of roasting. This is probably the more common TKYs that you can find everywhere in singapore in all corners.

玉香 is the lowest oxidation of all, almost a green tea like, fresh, lush and green, with light hints of florals but i personally dont like it, others do.

i have still a bit of some very good 清香 TKY left, the best i've ever tasted, stored in nitrogen. maybe some day when there is a hifi/chinese tea appreciation gathering i might bring it out :D i also have a pack of vacumned sealed 5gram TKY sample that my boss gave to me, a gift given by some bigshot.

pu-erh tea was formerly a love of mine but a short term one because I was increasingly disappointed with the tea qualities exported by china. tea factories go round all different areas to collect leaf stock, mix and match and press into tea cakes.. i still have about 10kg+ green puerh tea cakes that i collected in 2003. i've some good aged pu-erhs from the 20-30 year range that i collected before the sky rocketed~ 500-800%.. but it became increasing subjective as more and more "old" tea cakes surfaced.. but age is not a guarantee to good taste ;P proper storage is still the key..
maybe the human ear isn't good enough. we need measurements, figures, numbers, calculations to tell and convince us what good sound is. or do we have to satisfy an unspoken insecurity??

Offline pschia

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 7034
  • I love Cats !
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 01:01 »
I love 16 yrs old Pu Er... so mellow and smooth. One taste and I got hooked and now can't stand anything younger as the taste is so different. Unfortunately, we would probably have to sell a kidney to get a cake of it in Singapore if you can find it that is.

It is so much more affordable in China and I got mine during a trip to Yunnan. That is one local goods that is a must for a trip to Yunnan. The big-leave Pu Er is only grown in Yunnan and makes the best Pu Er tea. Pu Er is the only tea that will appreciate in value with age and gets better as it ages.
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Cecil Francis Alexander 1818-1895

Offline vajrasattvasg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 921
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 01:05 »
Some nice Bi luo chun.. bi luo chun from dong ting lake is the original, and premium. many nearby areas in suzhou do produce BLC, but lack the fruity, floral taste, instead such teas have more of a greener/beanier taste.







Some decent dragonwell / long jing, but unfortunately after the rains. this year's produce was not good due to an extended winter. good dragon well must have uniform leaf sizes, no broken bits, a sparrow tongue, i.e. one bud, one leaf. color when brewed must be lush, bright green as a sign of freshness, brew is a very pale faint yellow. deeper yellows are hints of oxidation.








maybe the human ear isn't good enough. we need measurements, figures, numbers, calculations to tell and convince us what good sound is. or do we have to satisfy an unspoken insecurity??

Offline vajrasattvasg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 921
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 01:16 »
I love 16 yrs old Pu Er... so mellow and smooth. One taste and I got hooked and now can't stand anything younger as the taste is so different. Unfortunately, we would probably have to sell a kidney to get a cake of it in Singapore if you can find it that is.

It is so much more affordable in China and I got mine during a trip to Yunnan. That is one local goods that is a must for a trip to Yunnan. The big-leave Pu Er is only grown in Yunnan and makes the best Pu Er tea. Pu Er is the only tea that will appreciate in value with age and gets better as it ages.
yup you are right. Big Leaf Pu-erh is the best for aging. they come from tall tea trees, some over a thousand years old. those that come from trees are known as 乔木 pu-erh tea.

pu-erh is divided between green and black pu-erh. green puerh is the original pu-erh tea, where green tea leaves, harvested are pressed into tea cakes and aged over time, to give a reddish mellow brew. in 1972 black pu-erh was first produced from forced oxidation by water and temperature treatment of tea leaves/tea cakes. however the result of this process is not consistent, and the taste is not very good, so some peopel do age black pu-erh for a few years to let it mellow out and less musty, earthy tasting. green pu-erh needs to age for 10+ years before the brew is considered "drinkable", although very high grade green pu-erh tea leaves on its own at any time is quite good, rich, fragrant etc, minus the astringency and bitterness that needs to be tolerated.

i have some 80's guang yun gong bing




and some 70's zhong cha tie bing




the rest of the tea cakes i have are still not of the age for drinking although i have this 乔木早春一牙 1kg tea cake that i shake it annually for some leaf to enjoy
maybe the human ear isn't good enough. we need measurements, figures, numbers, calculations to tell and convince us what good sound is. or do we have to satisfy an unspoken insecurity??

Offline petetherock

  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 21943
  • Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato
    • My Music, Movie and Equipment Musings...
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 03:23 »
Glad you found the tea nice bro...

I like green tea, but will also enjoy good Chinese tea.
I bought good teapots for the job, and drink a cup or more each day - more like a pot!

From Jiu Fen in Taipei District



Flower tea in Beijing  - remember to wash the leaves! Nice to look at, but not too tasty...
Please post instead of sending a pm, so more can learn.

My gear:
http://peteswrite.blogspot.com/2019/04/my-setup-42019.html

Offline petetherock

  • Trade Count: (+8)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 21943
  • Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato
    • My Music, Movie and Equipment Musings...
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 03:29 »
There is a tea street in Beijing, with a huge DVD warehouse close by.



北京宣武区马连道

Please post instead of sending a pm, so more can learn.

My gear:
http://peteswrite.blogspot.com/2019/04/my-setup-42019.html

Offline tsammyc

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 4766
  • I think, therefore I am
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2011, 09:12 »
Quite pleased to find some enthusiasts here like vajrasattvasg. Am now sipping some Jasmine tea in my office. I know its not for purist, but I like it and everyone who comes in comments about the nice smell. I've had some fantastic Pu Erhs in Hong Kong restaurants. My puny 5-yr old "black" pu erh is quite good but perhaps I'll go back to Wang San for some of the older stuff.

I know there is lots of tea in China :), but where to find the good stuff in Singapore?

Also storage in Singapore. I keep my Pu Erh and green teas in a vacum container in the cupboard, but the TKY and Jasmine teas go in the fridge. Is that correct?

Offline myhifisystem

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 651
  • Music is part of my life
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2011, 09:32 »
Just got back from WuYi San, Fujian last week. There are 2 local specialities that one grow from the rock n the other from the stream. Personally, I like all types of tea n each time I go for trips n I like to buy some.

Regards

Offline dsj88

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1529
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 09:37 »
I too began drinking green tea during my numerous visits to Hangzhou. My staff would buy all these Long Xing" tea from there which I still have and drink.  I can't read Chinese so can't tell you brand but they always come in nice looking packages in  tin boxes. It is great especially now in cold weather here. But it is also a diuretic and no fun going to loo in the cold. lol :D

Offline lewlian

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 3933
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 09:41 »
Nice thread. Took up tea drinking ever since my posting to Shanghai. At work, in winter my daily brew would usually be the dark pu-erh (8yr variant) or longjing. In summer I will alternate between the pu-erh and chrysanthemum with wolfberries added.

For leisure I also drink longjing and jasmine.
You'll Never Walk Alone

Offline armoury

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 6629
  • The lunatic is on the grass...
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2011, 10:39 »
I'm curious too: how do you store a cake of tea, meaning in what conditions: just sealed in plastic, in the fridge, freezer?

It's such a contrast to coffee, which is basically use it or lose it.  Almost like fine wine, I suppose, improves with age.
There is no dark side of the moon really.  Matter of fact, it's all dark.

Offline vajrasattvasg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 921
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2011, 10:45 »
Quite pleased to find some enthusiasts here like vajrasattvasg. Am now sipping some Jasmine tea in my office. I know its not for purist, but I like it and everyone who comes in comments about the nice smell. I've had some fantastic Pu Erhs in Hong Kong restaurants. My puny 5-yr old "black" pu erh is quite good but perhaps I'll go back to Wang San for some of the older stuff.

I know there is lots of tea in China :), but where to find the good stuff in Singapore?

Also storage in Singapore. I keep my Pu Erh and green teas in a vacum container in the cupboard, but the TKY and Jasmine teas go in the fridge. Is that correct?

Jasmine tea is nice, the finest/tastiest grades usually comes in the pearl form i.e. jasmine dragon pearls. The non pearl form highest grade is 银毫 jasmine, scented 7 times, but can taste quite astringent as they take small tea buds for it. Other grades such as 春风 jasmine is scented 3 times.

If you want exotic teas, you can try my favourite tea shop at liang court level 3, liu hsiang tea craft. his green teas are the freshest in sg for all i know, air flown straight from source, into SG into a series of fridges, foil sealed.

for good pu-erh teas, ong fatt hong at smith street has one of the best pu-erh varieties in singapore. he has run out of most old tea cakes, but he still has some occasionally, at very high prices... but even without buying its still nice to pop by to take a look. he had this pu-erh white tea a few months ago.. yumyum.. delicious.

been a member of wang san yang for many years already.. their membership card is worth getting if you shop there often, gives a 10% discount. their TKY and Oolong teas can be considered, after all for TKY they do own some plantations in anxi if they havent sold it yet.

tea chapter along neil road has some teas too, i prefer to shop there for tea pots and cups as they have a huge range, sampling their teas in the teahouse upstairs was not too exciting nor pleasing, considering their high grade teas came in a pre-packed small zip loc bag, and tasted a little stale.

in taka basement, bugis junction basement there's this chinese tea house company, they have decent teas from time to time too. my first tea journey started off with a purchase from them actually.

in chinatown area there's also pek sin choon tea merchant, has quite a variety, some blends etc. similarly in the same area, there's a guang zhen tea merchant that boasts some old pu-erh teas.. but their teas, despite old, does not agree with my taste, and they are very pricey.

green teas, jasmine tea, light TKYs with no roasting, should go into an airtight container into the fridge. roasted TKYs can be stored in metal canisters outside. Pu-erh tea is best stored in a container with a loose lid so that there is some airflow.. the tea needs to breath. best to store in a cool, dry and odour free place.

maybe the human ear isn't good enough. we need measurements, figures, numbers, calculations to tell and convince us what good sound is. or do we have to satisfy an unspoken insecurity??

Offline vajrasattvasg

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Full Member
  • Posts: 921
Re: Chinese Tea discussion thread
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2011, 10:51 »
I'm curious too: how do you store a cake of tea, meaning in what conditions: just sealed in plastic, in the fridge, freezer?

It's such a contrast to coffee, which is basically use it or lose it.  Almost like fine wine, I suppose, improves with age.

for pu-erh teas that are meant to be aged, i.e. green cakes etc, it should be kept with no plastic wrap, or at most a cellophane wrap with punched holes, in a cool, dry odourless place.

for tea cakes above 20-30 years, where the taste has matured and if you want to keep it at that state/stage, seal it in a ziploc. its no guarantee that the older the tea the better after a certain time point, some teas of the 40-50 year ranges are almost "tasteless" bland, slightly medicinal, but very smooth. this is something that most tea merchants dont reconcile, the taste vs the age, and always touting that the older the better... it still boils down to the taste test. i have some 10grams of a 50-60 year old pu-erh tuo cha left... its tasteless! and i spent a couple hundred dollars just for 20 grams of it.

for black pu-erhs store them in a container with some air movement, this allows the tea to mellow out if the oxidation process left some undesirable tastes i.e. damp, earthy taste etc..
maybe the human ear isn't good enough. we need measurements, figures, numbers, calculations to tell and convince us what good sound is. or do we have to satisfy an unspoken insecurity??