The other day I jemmied the padlock off the coffer housing the tea purchasing pennies, and had a peep inside.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a fair amount therein, enough in fact to fund a raid on some lucky tea retailing establishment or other. But what to buy?
It should come as no surprise to regular readers to learn that my first port of call was old favourites House of Tea.
My recent encounter with Panyang Golden Needle had put me in the mood to find out a little more about the black teas of Fuding.
After a quick search I had two candidates.
One of them, Hong Ya, allowed me to follow up on a vow to buy a proper portion of said tea after an earlier free sample had convinced me that giving those leaves some gong-fu action sometime in the future would be an enjoyable and profitable experience.
The other, Bai Hao Hong Cha, sold me on promises of a generally roasty flavour heavy on chocolate notes.
One of the great dangers of reading many tea blogs is that you invariably find yourself nodding in agreement with the general thrust of a post, and muttering “aye, I’ll have mesen a slice o’ that action…“, or words to that effect.
I’d only recently read Eric of One Man’s Tea Journey’s encounter with Japanese black teas, and decided to see what House of Tea could do for me on that score, seeing as the tea money purse still had a few coppers rattling away inside of it.
Two lots of lovely leaves leapt off the page and into my shopping cart, “Kocha Benifuki” and “Kocha Satsuma“.
Expect posts about these four in due course.
Four black teas. It felt right – even though the days are now starting to get noticeably longer, it can still be bone-crushingly cold out there, and a pot of ruby red hot and sweet malty goodness sure does help to reinvigorate the old carcass after a sub-zero bike ride to the supermarket.
Well, the teas arrived bang on schedule, some 26 hours after the right amount of electro-brass had been shot down the appropriate pipes.
As per usual, House of Tea were kind enough to include a free 3 gram sample in my order. This time I got to play with some 2019 Dong Fang Mei Ren, AKA Oriental Beauty.
I also received a 3 gram sample of this tea back in November of 2016. I was impressed back then, and the 2019 vintage also did the business.
I went with boiling water and a 200 ml pot, and three Western style steepings of 1½, 2, and 3 minutes.
In a nutshell this wee sample displayed a floral, fruity, almost candy like sweetness that was tempered with a flick of astringency and a roasty, burnt sugar thing.
As the previous sample had done it too made a strong case for buying a full cargo of these leaves, but I’m going to have to hang fire until I see the state of the stash once Spring has sprung and the grass is riz.
Watch this space, etc…