In my previous post I sampled House of Tea‘s Keemun Congou, which is currently battling it out with the tea featured in this post to become my early morning pre-breakfast beverage of choice once my current stocks of Bai Mu Dan run out.
House of Tea’s notes tell us that this tea comes from Qimen in Anhui province.
The dry leaf had a faint aroma of golden raisins, but once it had been allowed to sit in the warmed up pot for a few seconds it then started to sing a song about high (90%+) cacao content dark chocolate. My nose also found tantalising traces of an “is it really there or am I imagining it?” smokiness.
Apart from a minor tweak to water temperature (down from 100°C to 95°C), I went with House of Tea’s own steeping suggestions…
|Water Used:||Filtered tap water|
|Weight of dry leaf:||3 grams|
|Steeping vessel:||200 ml ceramic teapot|
|No. & duration:||3 infusions of 1 minute, 1 minute, and 1½ minutes duration|
That dark chocolate note dominated the first infusion, but there was also a pleasant touch of bitterness, which was very close indeed to the kind of bitterness that you can taste in a high cacao content dark chocolate. I picked up a peppery, spicy aftertaste, and a burnt brown sugar and honey flecked mineral sweetness clung to the inside of the empty cup. The liquor was laying down a good, thick mouthfeel.
The second infusion saw the intensity of flavours ratcheted up a notch without adding anything new or taking anything away from the flavour mix, or altering the relative proportions of things.
The third round was kind of like a mirror image of the second. The taste levels slipped back to a point below those of the first infusion, but this time with a slight twist – the bitterness levels were raised slightly. Unlike the third round with the Keemun Congou in my previous post, this one wasn’t a “drink and be damned” job – it was still perfectly drinkable – but having said that it was still quite clearly all the leaves had to give, and I didn’t push the session any further.
As with the Congou I think my curiosity is going to get the better of me sooner or later, and I’ll have to give it some gaiwan action. With those slightly larger, more evenly sized leaves I think it should work out quite well. Watch this space, etc…
As far as the breakfast battle goes, I think the winner has to be the Keemun Congou. Its easy going nature makes it a shoo-in for that kind of uncomplicated, casual swigging.
This tea, the Mao Feng, just feels as though it would be somewhat happier doing its thing during a mid afternoon break – the perfect accompaniment to a quiet spot of balcony based boat spotting, maybe with something sweet, sticky, and vanilla-ey on the side.