Morning Crane Tea – Dong Cheon Red Tea: Dan Cha (Hong Cha) small leaves second pick-

This tea comes courtesy of Morning Crane Tea, who celebrated the ending of 2011 with an online tea sale. The tea is beautifully presented -as you can see from the following photo- arriving lovingly outfitted in a silk bag made of Korean Hanbok.

While I didn’t have any previous experience with Korean red teas prior to this session, I have been a devoted admirer of Dong Cheon‘s green teas I have been fortunate enough to taste. Needless to say, my anticipation for experiencing this tea was running high in advance.

The leaves present a pronounced dried cocoa scent with a trace of smokiness, and the faintest hint of hay. It should be said that I appreciate the need to reference hay during any tea session, as years of being in the company of rabbits really warmed me to the scents of dry grasses. I certainly do not view it as an issue with a tea’s aroma. The leaves are a beauty to behold, as you can see from the image below.

Early steepings yielded a medium bodied burnt caramel toned broth which tasted exceptionally clean in the mouth. The flavor fluctuated from smooth notes of cocoa, to what my subconscious kept telling me was orange flower, to the slightest hint of tobacco.

Later steepings found the tea stretching itself from cream and honey like coatings of the mouth, to exhibiting traces of crispness that would align it with higher grade Darjeeling teas. The broth in subsequent lengthier steeping shed its deeper copper highlights, as well as its fullness in the mouth; though it refrained from becoming insipid in taste. The hui gan came in gentle waves, rising and falling. The tea provided an enjoyable, and calming session.

I was not a fan of what are classically categorized as red teas prior to a pivotal steeping session with a Sun Moon Lake from Tea Trekker this past year, and more recently an extraordinary experience with a Laoshan Autumn plucking from Verdant Tea out of Minnesota -both of which I plan to post about shortly. I generally found the teas to be overly brisk for my personal liking; however the two teas mentioned in addition to this wonderful Dan-Cha have altered this perception greatly, and for this I will always be thankful.

(steeping listening: Oren Ambarchi “In the Pendulum’s Embrace”)

Tea Urchin -Luo Shui Dong: Autumn 2011-


I have now had two sessions with this tea –Luo Shui Dong: Autumn 2011– of which a sample was kindly forwarded by EugeneTea Urchin.

Both sessions found the mellow nature of this tea present, with a hint of bitterness following at the back of the mouth -a punctuation mark. The tea possesses a rounded sweetness, which is a characteristic I enjoy. It is present throughout my mouth, particularly around the upper palate and gum area, and is lasting. (My enjoyment of teas with a sweet profile is assuredly a hangover from the days when pastries were never far from me. My sweet tooth is such that I once downed a full dozen Pierre Hermé macaron on a flight home from Paris.)

During this recent session there was a stronger awareness of floral notes than I remember from the initial round of steepings, though they were definitely present. Letting my mind wander off, I kept relating it to the floral profile of a recent Wenshan Baozhong. I am certain that this is the tea speaking, but I still question it due to the lingering memory of that particular experience.

The tea feels active in my head… not in a brutish manner, more flirtatious. On both occasions, my body relaxes greatly with this tea as it sinks into me.

My mouth is still salivating a good 45 minutes after the last steeping as I type this down.

A very enjoyable experience from a recent Tea Urchin tea.

(steeping listening: Air Texture Volume 1 – selection by bvdub)


Forthcoming review: Tea Urchin -Luo Shui Dong 2011: Autumn-

I know, I know, “another tea blogger”. I’m certain you must be saying this to yourself as you log on/stumble across/link in to this site. However, please do hesitate long enough before clicking back or away to read a post or two, and even comment; and share in the conversation of what is assuredly one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences out there, tea.

I do feel that each individual viewpoint is important to the discourse regarding the varied aspects of tea culture -and I say this not only because I am starting this blog. There is a substantially greater area of grey when it comes to taste and preference than it may seem at times out there in the cyber world. I have learned this, sometimes the hard way, in my 40 plus years of breads, pastries, chocolates, and now teas.

My interest is to engage in this constructive dialogue via this site with others who share my passion for tea culture. I can only hope that my viewpoints are varied, and/or entertaining enough, to keep you reading while I provide one of the various shades of this discussion.

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