Compare and Contrast
Today began with helping Tsun Tsun setting up the tea house. She's there early in the morning, (10am) when the tea house opens. We helped her bring out chairs, sweep, and set up tables. We brought more gifts today, fruit and chocolates. We also brought tea; some teas we'd collected, and wanted to get more information about, others were offers from vendors. We wanted to get a better idea from Shi Fu about what we were tasting and how to put them in context. In the process of comparing these teas, we experienced sharp contrasts between the tastes of Xia Guan and Menghai (the two of the more famous puerh producers). This is what we learned: Xia Guan is more bold, astringent, like the taste of dandelion or bitter greens, and lingers. Menghai is more sweet and subtle, and has fresh and clean feel like celery. The Xia Guan and Menghai both were green or "raw" 2003 puerhs.
Later in the afternoon, I was given a traditional Chinese green tea ceremony lesson. I practiced with Hainan "white sand green tea", one of the lower grades of greens. No need to try my hand at the best yet. Not until I perfect this style of preparation. (Pictures to come)
In the evening, we looked at teapots. There are five main criteria for choosing a teapot:
1) Aesthetic 2) Functionality 3) Kind of tea you can use it for 4) Kind of clay it is made with and 5) the factory it is made from.
Stay tuned for more entries, we're looking forward to posting about our excursions to the spring where Shi Fu gets water for tea, and to Xieu Chao too.