Monday, October 30, 2006

New Cha He and Oriental Beauty

It feels like it's been forever since I last posted. Work, home projects and chores had taken over my life in the past 2+ weeks, and not to mention the ongoing quarrel on Winexiles. It's always exciting when there is a quarrel of some makes everything more alive, but not when I'm being pulled left and right (literally, by the Republican conservative members vs. the liberal members) to resolve matter even handedly. Sigh.

Anyways, I met a worthy replacement of my cha he (tea leaves holder) that committed suicide on me a few weeks ago. While visiting the Bamboo Tea House near my office a few days ago, I found this Japanese-made bowl that is perfectly shaped as a tea holder. Its sexy lips guide the tea leaves into any vessel with minimum spill. For just USD $8, it's a beautifully made ceramic cha he.

2005 Summer Oriental Beauty Oolong
Source: Teamasters

Stéphane Erler was very kind to send me a sample of this Oriental Beauty oolong tea (aka: bai hao oolong, dong fang mei ren). Thank you.

This Oriental Beauty was quite refined. It reminded me a lot of some of the best 1st flush Darjeelings I've had, but without the usual astringency and bite. It's well rounded, soft and smooth in the mouth with a complex taste of various tropical fruits and of something subtly sweet.

This tea does not brew bitter, which is a good thing. When I was brewing it for the 2nd infusion, I suddenly had to help with my daughter (diaper change, yeah). As a result, the tea was brewed for a good 5 to 7 minutes before I decanted it (the previous 1st infusion was only for a few seconds). I expected a very bitter and astringent tea. But, no! Its taste held up well under such a long brew, and yet it gave almost no bitterness or astringency. Yes there were a little bit of bitterness and astringency, though the tea was still pleasant to drink. Thereafter, I was able to brew this tea for 7 or more times, which means it has good brewing durability.

4 stars (vg)


Stephane said...

Very nice Cha he, Phyll! Good to have you back! And thanks for the nice comment about my Oriental Beauty. It looks like it passed what I called the 'tea ghostbusters' test in my blog today!

Happy Halloween!

Dustin said...

Looks good dude. I ended up buying a cha he at Infusions of Tea here in San Diego. It's the same one Imen has over at Tea Obsession. I like it well enough. Yours looks nicer. I also received a sample of Oriental Beauty with my last order from Stephane. Now I'm even more excited to check it out.