Our virtual meetings had been long overdo. It seems life and summer follies had interfered with our online meetings.
For those of you who are not aware, a few of the tea bloggers meet periodically online through G+ Meetings to discuss all things tea along with a few distractions.
The group, a wide section of personalities, palate preferences and resident locations that cross international borders, our relationships prompted and solidified by the leaf.
This session was attended by a few regulars; I Heart Teas, Tea For Me Please, AmazonV aka The Devotea, USA, The Tea Enthusiasts Scrapbook, The Devotea & Lady Devotea, Lazy Literatus/Steepstories, and included a few new faces, An International Tea Moment, Tea Happiness, and The Tea Stylist .
There were a few more bloggers invited that were unable to attend and were sorely missed.
Our gathering, for this occasion, tea samples I received from Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea.
Seven Cups based in Tucson, Arizona distinguishes itself by sourcing traditional, handmade Chinese teas directly from growers and tea masters who make them. They are also dedicated to promoting Chinese tea culture.
Most of us were familiar with the teas offered by Austin Hodge and consider him one of the knowledgeable, reputable tea suppliers and highly regarded leader in the industry.
The chance to sample a few of his teas, along with us getting together, was all we needed to make it happen.
This evening’s menu included two yellow, Mo Gan Huang Ya and Meng Ding (Yellow Buds) along with one black Jin Kong Que (Golden Peacock).
Geoff Norman, Lazy Literatus suggested the order of our flight beginning with the black and moving to the yellows, Meng Ding and ending with Mo Gan Huang Ya.
Jin Kong Que (Golden Peacock)
This organic black tea was sourced from Jing Mai region, grown and processed by the Dai people.
Upon tasting I experienced the full-bodied flavor I look for in a black tea. Yes, it packs a punch. One attendee, The Devotea/Robert made reference to grizzly bears and the conversation proceeded to take on our usual light-hearted fun filled tasting experience.
My palate delighted with essence of this rich black tea was sweetly highlighted with chocolate undertones. Lazy Literatus mentioned he detected reference notes of Jing Mai, he has such a well-developed palate.
Our discussion continued with mentions of taste in the air when lightening is about to strike and bed sheets. We were off to the races and a tea drunken state.
The second infusion brought out a hint of smokiness still without astringency. This tea I would include in my “go to” black tea collection.
From the Meng Ding Mountain in Sichuan Province this rare yellow tea, upon opening the packet, greeted me with a lightly grassy scent. One attendee described it as lawn clippings.
Upon the first sip my palate picked up notes of asparagus and artichoke and much different from other yellow teas I had explored. Another attendee mentioned orchids and spinach.
We began discussion regarding the creation and processing of yellow teas.
Clarification and facts regarding processing provided by both, Geoff and Tea For Me Please, Nicole Martin and paraphrased below from various sources.
A general processing of yellow tea: after initial firing (Kill Green), the heated softened bud or leaf is removed from the firing pan, covered with thick paper for buds, a cloth for leaves (Men-Huang) and allowed to rest, sometimes for hours or days depending on the tea masters process. This allows the softened leaf to reabsorb its own aroma. Then the leaves are slowly roasted until they attain the dryness needed at the finish.
If you would like to read more about yellow tea Seven Cups gives a history and description here.
On another interesting note, found on Wikipedia in the section regarding tea processing:
“Although green tea was the most popular in Lu Yu’s time, he personally considered yellow tea to be superior to green.
I found this tea quite unique to my palate. It has prompted me to investigate further, as it stimulated my penchant for food pairing.
Produced in eastern Zhejiang province, I was immediately struck by the creaminess of this tea as well as the light sweetness.
One attendee compared it to a milk oolong in the smoothness, one stated it would be a good accompaniment to a Chinese meal, another mentioned it being a more familiar flavor reference to the yellow teas she had experienced.
Mo Gan Huang Ya is a delightful cup, and one that was perfect end to our tasting.
We continued our conversations that ran the gamut focused on tea blogging, industry affairs and such. As time went on many exited this gathering as it was becoming late (It began for me at 8:00pm EST and I stayed on until about 11:30pm).
Totally tea drunk by the finish, I made the mistake of combining the Mo Gan Haung Ya with the Meng Ding at clean up. Now that is going to be one interesting cupping.
Thank you Seven Cups; Austin, and Andrew for making this tasting possible.
I so enjoy our online meetings and look forward to our next event. Thank you all who participated and see you soon.
By the way, glad pet tea snails were present and accounted for.
Thanks for reading