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
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)