Last Sunday I invited a group of friends over to Paul Rosenberg’s tea temple for a tasting. Paul runs Sacred Teas, a service for those who want to learn more about tea, its properties and how to appreciate the brew for all of the good things it can bring you.
In attendance were John and Louisa, Qusai and Roopa, Nicole and Emily, Bonnie and her daughter Donna and Willow.
We drank the following teas, in order:
Qing Cheng Bitter:
A tea that actually comes from the leaves of trees that grow wild on Qing Cheng Mountain. Qing Cheng Mountain is a Daoist refuge and for some the birthplace of Daoism. It is a very beautiful and magical place set in the Qingling Mountain Range, alongside the Min River. a very strong bitter taste with an even stronger sweet and smoky aftertaste. good for digestion!
A classic green from Mengding Mountain in the Longmen Mountain Range not far from Ya’An. Tea has been in cultivation here for more than 2000 years.
Mengding Gan Lu:
A very high quality green tea from the same mountain (and grower)
A very tasty Tie Guan Yin oolong infused with osmanthus flowers, from Fujian.
Da Hong Pao:
a very smoky, earthy Wuyi oolong also from Fujian. The quality and duration of this tea was especially surprising.
Aged Tie Guan Yin:
a treat to drink and pour. a 1991 oolong aged to perfection … a very complex tea with different shades of earth and water and fire depending on brewing method and most likely also pot material. I used glass for all of these teas.
Mengding Huang Ya:
another feat of craftsmanship. This is a rare yellow tea made from an old Tang Dynasty recipe. This tea was “tribute tea” to the Emperor from the Tang to the Late Qing Dynasty.
Still the belle of the ball. A delightfully aromatic, sweet and somehow refreshingly cool rose hip tea from Gansu Province. A winner.
I had a great time and really understand the amount of energy and mental strength it takes to do a good pouring. It might seem far-fetched, but each of these teas demands respect and adoration — its very palpable and if you ignore it, they will taste it.