Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Afternoon Lift: Rising Orchid

Lightly Roasted, Spring Harvest 2010, Superior Grade Iron Bodhisattva - Single Estate Oolong.

A couple more spring harvest teas were delivered while I was on vacation. The one Winnie and I were most excited about was the TiKwanYin that deserves it's own special name: Rising Orchid. It describes very well the haunting aroma of old-fashioned orchids that saturates the air. It's times like these I almost feel guilty that I can go on vacation and drink tea for a living.
For this tea, Winnie prepared the Mandarin's gaiwan sans saucer.
The mythic illustrations of dragon and phoenix on the sides fit our mood; anticipation of an ethereal experience. Once the leaves were poured into the heated gaiwan, the soft aroma stirred from it's sleep.

Winnie used 4 grams of tea and used boiling water to quickly rinse the leaves. Now the famous fragrance was climbing out of the cup and filling the air between us. The first sip was was sweet and perfumed with more florals. Already, a garden was blooming in my mouth. The finish was clean and minty. More flowers and fruit appeared with each exhalation.

The palest spring green color suspended in water.
The color never deepened more than this, even though the flavor intensified with subsequent steeps. The ghost of the tea's fragrance waited at the bottom of the cup.

Winnie decided to heat up one of her teapots and transfer the tea leaves from the gaiwan. She does this often, auditioning the tea in the gaiwan before deeming it worthy of a teapot.

After three steeps, the leaves were not fully open. We could expect a few more steeps once they were in the teapot.

We tasted three more steeps in the teapot.

The elegant bouquet of flowers was starting to fade by the last cup.

After the last steep, Winnie cleaned out her teapot and gently but thoroughly dried the pot with a tea towel. The slightly rough texture of the cloth also buffs and removes dried tea stains. This is how Winnie communes with her teapots. Only after she felt the pot was "happy" did she put it down and we moved on to the next tea.


Unknown said...

Sounds like an amazing TGY, I only recently realized how great the unroasted versions could be.

yumcha said...

Thanks Adam! I hope you get a chance to try it. I love this season for the light roasted tikwanyins like the Rising Orchid but I don't believe I've ever had the un-roasted versions you mentioned.