Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature


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Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Aug 31st, '10, 12:51

Does anyone have any observations on the temperature at which they drink their Yan Cha?

A couple of days ago I opened some Tie Luo han from Jing (UK Jing), this was only the 2nd TLH I have had and the first about 2 years ago seemed like a fairly slight variation on the DHP theme, this Jing offering however did not.

The first evening as I recall, with 10gm in a 170 ml pot (very short rinse)and 22, 30, 45, 1:20, 3:00 and 6:00 infusions which were all drunk pretty quickly, and all fairly consistent with the mildest of roastiness and the mildest of charcoal and an underlying pleasant sweet mineral flavour with only the later infusions showing any great layering of other woodsy, vegetal flavours.

Today however to try and bump up the impact (despite enjoying the first session I wanted to see if I could get more out of it) I tried 12 gm in a similar 170ml yixing.

After a longer rinse and noticing how much less water fits in a pot with just 2 grams extra leaf instead of the strainer in the faircup being half filled - the pot was drained without any liquid reaching up into the strainer.

First infusion 20 seconds
The similar experience to my first session but more pronounced more obvious mineral flavours and sweet water but even less noticeable charcoal and roast.

Then I thought "hang on does not the Jing site give all sorts of fancy descriptive terms let me see what I may supposedly be missing"

Thick, glycerous, tongue-coating flavours of understated richness. The flavour repertoire includes burnt almond, minerals, apricot leaf and sandalwood.


A deliciously richly flavoured oolong with a long, lingering and richly textured aftertaste.

Finishing perfumes hint at the tea’s fresh, sappy, tea-garden origins.


Aroma: Earthy blend of ground metal and cinder overlaid with meadow sweetness



Taste: Thick, glycerous flavours of burnt almond, apricot leaf and sandalwood



Is
Wow, am I missing all that :shock:

The aroma perhaps, minerals and meadow sweetness yes, possibly a little earth - but none of the taste :(

Whilst pondering all this and leaving the fair cup alone for a good 4 or 5 minutes the brew had cooled considerably and the temperature was scarcely above room temperature -
double wow! :idea: The liquor was now incredibly obviously thick and glycerous with some bitterness edging it's way in! :!:

2nd Infusion of 30 seconds and the same disparity between quite hot and medium cold shone through!

Now I am signing off to attend to the later infusions.

Maybe I will find some apricot leaf from a sappy-tea garden though I am not sure what they will taste like.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby TwoPynts » Aug 31st, '10, 13:09

I have to laugh at those descriptives. :lol:
The wine industry is not the only one that puffs up the flavor profiles of its products. Or perhaps I just don't have the refined taste buds to appreciate such things. Also, I have never consciously tasted sandalwood...
:mrgreen:
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby mr. Less » Aug 31st, '10, 14:00

funny today i was pondering the same thing, when yancha is not drunk very hot, it becomes more thick syrupy, and the taste changes

in my case it was not a real good yancha, so i am still not sure if this would be better

but i will try this with better yanchas, maybe some nice thl from jing(the chinese one) 8)
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby brandon » Aug 31st, '10, 15:24

I like to use small, wide cups so that it cools off faster...
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Aug 31st, '10, 15:40

TIM wrote:200 + in wine:
800 + in coffee:
How many are in Tea? :roll:


Good reading there Tim, most of which I well familiar with. I have over 200 books on wine, and over a dozen on tasting wine.

The constituent elements alone may be 200 in wine, but the combination of these elements in almost limitless numbers also affect the perceived taste because similar shaped elements will compete to lock into the taste receptors that can accomodate them and different shaped elements will lock into different shaped taste receptors. The brain only reacts to what is being picked up by all of the taste receptors at the same time.

The last time I read any reading on this research (12 years ago) it was not understood if the different shape to taste receptors was due to inherently different receptors or just receptors at a different stage of their life cycle - continued research may have elaborated on this thesis.

I also fully appreciate that different wines are best consumed at different temperatures - and that room temperature was a term coined long before central heating when wines were usually consumed in barren dining halls - so they should not be allowed to warm up to the current norm for room temperature.


However my current excitement on this TLH was due to an extreme variation in impact between the two temperatures.

Currently I consume my Oolongs rather hot and experience both
taste
(Sour,Sweet,Salt,Bitter + Umami) and Texture
at the same time as
aroma
(flavour - too many to list e.g fruit, veg, mineral, leather and on and on)

Occasionally if the aroma is weak I can splash the tea (or wine) around in my mouth, and even chew it and get increased effects as the aroma goes up olfactory passage at the back of the mouth.

But with this TLH when the brew is hot I get aroma and only when the brew is cold do I get taste.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Aug 31st, '10, 15:41

mr. Less wrote:
but i will try this with better yanchas, maybe some nice thl from jing(the chinese one) 8)


Let us know how it turns out :D
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Aug 31st, '10, 15:43

brandon wrote:I like to use small, wide cups so that it cools off faster...


Do you distinguish between different yan chas, or even dan congs and anxi's - are there some you prefer to allow to cool and others where you prefer to drink at near brew temp?
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby brandon » Aug 31st, '10, 16:03

Herb_Master wrote:
brandon wrote:I like to use small, wide cups so that it cools off faster...


Do you distinguish between different yan chas, or even dan congs and anxi's - are there some you prefer to allow to cool and others where you prefer to drink at near brew temp?


Yes but I prefer the 'thicker' ones like lao cong shui xian, tie luo han, or da hong pao.

Rou Gui and Dan Cong dont thicken up as much for me the way you are describing. I aerate them by slurping and drink at a comfortable temperature.

But high fire anxi will change significantly as it cools off...
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Tead Off » Aug 31st, '10, 23:55

Contrary to the way many native Chinese drink their teas, hot is not only bad for your health but limits your ability to taste. It is believed that mouth and throat cancers are extremely high in Iran because of their habit of drinking scalding teas.

In the wine link that Tim provides, they mention that taste is confined to sweet, sour, salty, astringent, oily, etc. The tongue can only register certain tastes. It is the aroma and the sense of smell that identifies tastes as resembling this or that. The tongue doesn't make the connection to different foods, the smell does. It connects to memory which is stored in the brain and thought labels it plum, sugarcane, body odor, etc.

So, the question I have is are we tasting the tea or are we tasting what thought is telling us? Is it the same thing? :D

Herb Master: do you try to brew in smaller vessels? I like to brew yancha in 120ml or less pots filled halfway with loose leaf(I know many like to fill the pot completely). After rinse, I usually brew 10-20sec off the boil. I don't time it usually but wait till the water on the outside of the pot evaporates. This usually happens pretty quick as Yixing heats up well. My preferred Yancha is aged Shui Xian. Good Rou Gui is also liked. However, I have come to love Dancong teas which I consider some of the best tea in the world. They are more feminine teas in the sense of delicacy, aroma, and, leaf beauty. Unfortunately, the good ones are expensive.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Oni » Sep 1st, '10, 02:19

When I use 120 ml gaiwan, and faircup, for 3 person it equals 30 ml, the tea is always cold, it is immediately drinkable, when I do not use faircup, and I use 120 ml yixing (specially when I use boat and shower) and I pour immediately to the cups, the tea has steam floating above it and it is hotter, I usually smell the rising steam, and when the heat is comfortable usually it takes 20 - 30 seconds I start drinking.
Generally with oolong skipping the faircup and pouring directly to the cups gives better results, I do not use strainer either.
With darker oolongs I share the similar principle as Chao Zhou Gong Fu cha, the hotter the better. I also noticed that a tetsubin gives hotter water compared to a induction boiler, I assume so does a ceramic CZ kettle.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Sep 1st, '10, 05:21

Tead Off wrote:
Herb Master: do you try to brew in smaller vessels? I like to brew yancha in 120ml or less pots filled halfway with loose leaf(I know many like to fill the pot completely).


I vary from 140ml to 170 ml.

My brewing stations are not near my drinking stations. I find with 170ml that by consuming the first infusion near the brewing station and then taking subsequent infusions in fair cup to my reading position (reclining armchair :D )or to my PC location :shock: :) that I can just about happily enjoy the need for interruption to claim further infusions.

Going less than 140ml would make this somewhat tortuous. I use the 140 happily when outside in the garden and setting up my Chao Zhou stove, and am contemplating purchasing some smaller chao zhou clay pots to use when in this environment.

When drinking outside and brewing inside I sometimes use 210 and a candle warmer to keep the faircup warm

I don't like to go above 170 indoors because I rarely get round to performing as many infusions as the tea will stand when using larger pots.

I do weigh and time (for reference) but my pots too usually seem to be about half full (after I shake to let the leaf settle) sometimes even a little more than half.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby Herb_Master » Sep 1st, '10, 05:41

Oni wrote:

With darker oolongs I share the similar principle as Chao Zhou Gong Fu cha, the hotter the better.


I think it is the Gong Fu ritual that has implanted in my mind the notion that hotter is supposed to be better.
Pre warming the teapot/gaiwan is 1 thing, but that is a brewing parameter.
Pre warming the faircup and teabowls is another thing that should be a drinking parameter, but I had not consciously made that observation.

As you say Gong Fu is of Chao Zhou origin but I (we) apply it to ALL oolongs and even other types of tea. Perhaps I need to consciously adjust the ritual for different types, instead of blindly first testing each new tea in my time honoured way.

Already with just a few responses I can see different approaches being favoured by people who favour different elements from their tea. You are big into greener teas, Brandon favours darker teas.
I think those who go for Aroma will find the higher drinking temperature a more pleasurable experience and those who prefer body over aroma will go for a cooler temp.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby teaisme » Sep 2nd, '10, 14:48

Great thread.
I too have noticed, especially with oolongs, how the taste can change drastically according to drinking temperature. I have a very sensitive tongue so usually I let my tea cool to prevent scalding. I find when I do this in general it does taste better, me being a big fan of body (but it does seem to me that the lower the quality the leaf, the worse it will taste when cooler, esp greener taiwan oolongs).

Herb_mas... wrote:I think those who go for Aroma will find the higher drinking temperature a more pleasurable experience and those who prefer body over aroma will go for a cooler temp.


Yeah now that you mention it I can see how this is true. I'm all about some good body and thickness. But why does body appear to increase at lower temps??? Also for many teas it seems to get sweeter too, why?

Tead Off wrote:So, the question I have is are we tasting the tea or are we tasting what thought is telling us? Is it the same thing? :D

Maybe both? I don't think they are the same though.

brandon wrote:Yes but I prefer the 'thicker' ones like lao cong shui xian, tie luo han, or da hong pao.

Good to know. Any other teas you guys find have really good thick and smooth body? I'm taking a break from Fo Shou though.
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Re: Tie Luo Han :: Yan Cha - Drinking Temperature

Postby entropyembrace » Sep 3rd, '10, 01:54

Tead Off mentioned this too...

I notice that with all teas I can taste more if I let them cool off a bit...so they are just warm....not hot or cold is when I can detect the widest range of flavours. It seems to me that if the tea is too hot I don´t taste nearly as much as if I let it cool down a bit first. On the other hand if I get distracted and let the tea sit until it feels cold I can´t taste as much from it either....so there is a sweet spot and that sweet spot seems to be quite a bit cooler than what yancha is brewed at.
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