; Cwyn's Death By Tea: All the Better to Smell You With ;

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All the Better to Smell You With

Just before Easter I decided to treat myself to some tea ware and purchase a fragrance cup. I didn't own one before, and lately I'm getting more immune to certain tea scents. What's a puerh drinker who doesn't notice that unique note of unwashed laundry in a wet-stored tea cake? I could lose all credibility. Not to mention all the emails I might get from people who bought a cake I like and oops, I failed to mention that teensy weensy storage issue because I quite frankly don't smell tea properly without that fragrance cup. Oh yes those floral fragrances might be nice to smell too. Now that I think about it, maybe I need two fragrance cups, one called Naughty and another called Nice. I must also mention that my tea ware shopping episode evolved into purchasing a matching teapot too as well as a couple of cups. Yes, you know the slippery slope once you start looking at tea ware. I can only tell you that once you get older and feel like you're running out of time in life to enjoy your tea the shopping excuses get harder to resist.
The fragrance cup on the slippery shopping slope is by Lin's Ceramics, and that led to getting the fairness cup, two drinking cups and a tea pot. I'm attracted to the purity of the cream color and the set matches the gaiwan I own from white2tea as well.

100g Silver Needle by Mandala Tea
To test my new set, I picked this 2012 Silver Needle tea cake from Mandala Tea. I've had the cake for almost a year now and haven't tried it. Just an oversight since I bought it around the time of other spring teas and it just got lost in the shuffle.

On the puerh news website puercn.com, I read sometime last year a prediction that white tea cakes will be the new hot collector item. I don't know if this prediction will come true. Perhaps it might if puerh sales continue to accelerate on "drink now" tea cakes, because I don't think many of us believe white tea has much aging potential when the floral fragrance fades so quickly. But old people like me need tea we can drink now since we don't have time to age anything aside from ourselves. Also, I'm starting to turn to things like white tea cakes more often, because I'm getting a bit more acid reflux from sheng. My days of drinking the harsher stuff are numbered.

Teapot holds about 100 ml at the very top.
I've had this Silver Needle cake in my puerh storage with other regular puerh cakes, and I'm surprised it hasn't picked up any odors from those cakes. Also, I'm surprised that the fragrance and flavor in this is quite fresh. Got lucky.

And of course I enjoy the experience of a fragrance cup. I smell the tea in the cup, and then empty the tea out. The tall narrow shape of the cup forms a tunnel of scent, preserving it longer. I should think that anyone can benefit from a fragrance cup, sometimes we need to smell tea for awhile to figure out just what notes are coming out of the tea. Even more on a bad sinus day.

My Silver Maple tree outside reflecting in the tea.
But what really surprises me are the drinking cups in this Lin's set. I've never put much money into drinking cups for tea, not like what I put into tea pots. The clear cups and the white cups I use for my photos are literally all I owned before now. Somehow I missed out though on information that a proper cup conducts heat in a particular way. This cup by Lin's stays hot much longer than even the double walled clear glass cups. By that I mean the tea stays hot. I'm getting a completely different mouth experience with the tea, more of a larger mouth feel because the tea is uniformly hot. Whereas with my other cups the tea at the top of the cup is cooler, so I'm sipping cooler tea off the top. What a big difference a more evenly heated sip does for the mouth feel!

I used a far too hot temp for the Silver Needle cake than is probably recommended, I went with 208 F degrees (97 C). However, the tea is still very sweet and peony floral at this temp. I also prefer a bit of a bitter note to my tea, I don't care for cool/sweet tea. The fragrance cup must be rinsed out with hot water between teas because it retains more scent than other cups. The clay is supposed to get a patina over time too, though how much time I have for that remains to be seen.

Requiescat in Pace

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