Posts Tagged ‘Anhui green tea’

Production Methods Cupping Event Results …. Week 2

bpDuring the second week of evaluations, Cuppers prepared and commented on a pair of Assam black teas from the Harishpur estate and a second pair which were CTC and Orthodox green teas from Yunwu tea factory Anhui, China. Cuppers noted the contrasts between not only the production method but also between the two tea categories. As before, Cuppers used modified professional infusion methods. This is in contrast to brewing the teas for pleasure. While black orthodox teas can withstand higher temperatures and longer infusion times, green teas would require lower temperatures and perhaps shorter infusion times if brewed for pleasure. It has been a very educational and exceptional experience thus far, being able to compare and contrast these teas. Here are the Cuppers’ comments for the Week 2 teas.

Sample #005 - Assam - CTC Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Large, dark brown granules. Uniform size and color.
- Grain size is closer to a small-grained rice but there is a lot of variation in the size of the bits. There is also variation in the reddish-brown color from light to dark.
- Tiny, very dark brown irregular shaped granules of varying sizes. Lt brown leaf fibers are visible w/in granules.
- Fine dark uniform pellets deep brown
- very dark brown tiny uniform pieces
- Black in colour, gravelly and gritty.
- Matte Black/brownish. Broken and not uniform in size
- wide variations in size but uniform in color
- grainy, dark brown, even balls with on some of them a small white "germ"
- Short and curly. Dark black purple

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Deep, rich, malty, oaky with slight sweetness.
- Very full aroma. Rich, sweet malt flavor. Suggests soft and creamy. Reminders of dried fruit and baked spices.
- Bready / Malty
- Sweet malty
- sweet, fruity, pleasant
- Malty with a hint of sweetness
- Deep, bold aroma
- Sweet like a heavy pastry
- malt, spicy, biscuit
- Sweet orange pekoe

Wet Leaf Appearance:

- Large, light brown, plump granules. Still not fully unrolled. Uniform
- The grains seemed to absorb and hold a lot of moisture, swelling and looking succulent. The surface also showed an interesting knobby texture.
- Dark copper-colored irregular shaped, spongy looking granules of varying sizes.
- dull uniform pellets
- milk chocolate brown, slightly plumper
- Dark brown, soft balls sticking together
- Reddish, uniform looking
- They really plumped up!
- brown, homogeneous
- Reddish medium brown tones , expanded fatter thick curly

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Earthy, malty, light sweetness. Some musty notes.
- An astringent wine aroma. Not unpleasant but bracing.
- Malty / Stewed sweet carrot
- faint caramel
- earthy, woody, old wet furniture
- Stronger malty aroma than when dry
- Floral and sweet
- Sweet smell is gone, replaced by a sour, cooked note. The liquor has a buttery scent, though the leaves do not
- malt, biscuity, dried fruit
- Orange pekoe

Liquor Color:
- Very dark red/brown. A bit dull. Thick. Not much sediment.
- Dark burnt-sugar brown but clear until it was completely cooled
- Deep red color, viscous. Made note of green/orange ring around liquor.
- mid amber
- deep dark reddish brown
- Dark, reddish brown
- Deep red, lots of tea dust at the bottom of the cup
- Deep, dark golden red
- dark orange, bright
- Orange pekoe with a vegetal taste

- Strong with some astringency but not bad. Not much complexity but oaky, malty notes come through.
- Pleasantly complex. A bit of bitter-sweet chocolate and some raisin with mace.
- Pungent / Smoky / Bold / Wooly mouth feel.
- Hard raw rasping mildly astringent lingering deep malty.
- didn't taste fruity, floral, vegetal or sweet like the dry aroma. Astringent, dry, dry aftertaste down the throat.
- Unpleasant bitterness straight up, very little flavour detected. Astringent
- Strong and rich, somewhat bitter and bold
- Fruity like dry wine with some astringency at this time/temp but not as much as I would have expected. Medium body.
- malt, toasted bread, astringent but not aggressive, a robust and powerful liquor, thick
- Smooth and slightly sweet

- Over all, a well-made CTC. Holds flavor and offers some complexity. 2nd infusion is less astringent and more drinkable but weak. Some hints of spice are more present in 2nd infusion.
- Upon examining the dry leaf, I was impressed by the variations in size of the bits and wondered if there is an advantage to this. Did the manufacturer want to schedule a time-release of color and flavor? And I would like to know more about how this is done mechanically. Are there CTC machines that produce variations in size per batch? Or are two batches mixed after they have been cut to different specifications. I realized that one of the reasons I responded so favorably to this tea is that it met my expectations for something familiar. From the first whiff upon opening the bag, I recognized the aroma and caught myself experiencing some sensory memories of other teas. I had to ask myself if I had really "cupped" this tea on its own merit or if I had been 'tricked' by my past experiences. But this led to questioning how much of our taste experiences are compromised by memories and expectations. Not just tea . . . but also when we select our teas.
- Over powering pungency. May be tamed with cream and sugar.
- Not my cup of tea. Even adding milk and sugar I would be hard pressed to sip. - Just an Assam tea, nothing outstanding, nothing noteworthy, but much better than Kenya #1. Second steeping not as dry as 1st, but dry aftertaste lingered and the infused leaves had a slight antiseptic aroma.
- The aroma is much better than the liquor tastes.
- I think this has potential to be a really nice CTC Assam if prepared with a shorter steep time and maybe a slightly lower temperature. I do wish those sweet, pastry like scents would stay into the infused leaf.
- A strong and robust tea, full bodied
- Did two infusion and the flavor remain the same as the first infusion. Nice and smooth. I did my first infusion the day before at night and the liquor tasted bitter.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 3   2 4 1
Leaf Aroma 2 4 3 1  
Liquor Aroma   5 3 2  
Liquor Flavor   5   2 3


Sample #006 - Assam - Orthodox Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Dark brown leaves and several whole and broken buds. Mix of sizes of leaves. About 40% tips.
- Nice twist to the lightly rolled leaf. Some buds. Interesting variation in light and dark browns plus the lighter colored, fuzzy buds.
- Dk brown - black wiry leaves w/ approx 1/4 golden tips present.
- Short twisted leaf tippy lt beige to Dk Brown
- mainly blackish green with about 20% straw color. 1/4 to 3/4" very thin straight and some curled leaves
- Uniform short, wiry black leaves with golden tips
- Mostly black with about 20% of golden leaves. Uniform and twisted
- Vary in size and color. Most are small or medium chopped leaves. There are a lot of gold tips in the mix.
- long leaves curled, brown with pale tips
- Mixed tan and dark brown. Thin twist. TGFOP

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Full, rich, nutty, malty, bready. Some sweetness but not fruity. Hints of cocoa.
- Like bittersweet chocolate with some spice
- Malty / Toasty
- Maple
- salty, grassy, malty
- Malty, sweet with a hint of caramel
- Smooth, floral
- Sweet like drying, new cut hay bales
- biscuity, malt
- Slight jasmine

Wet Leaf Appearance:

- Mix of light and dark brown leaves like a mix of milk and dark chocolate nibs. Leaves still firm and not flaccid. Lots of tips.
- Leaves opened fully and there was fairly consistent sizing of the broken leaf. Some stem.
- Copper to army-green colored broken leaves with many mid-veins present.
- Dull, Uneven
- whole small leaves and pieces, light brown and olive brown
- Reddish brown, open, uneven
- Uniform in color, open but broken leaf
- Leaves seem to have expanded fully and it is easy to see they are mostly small chopped leaves
- large pieces of leaves and tips, even brown
- Unrolled slightly. Reddish medium brown. Vibrant 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Strong, high fired. Some malty sweetness. Some strongly cooked fruitiness comes out but almost burnt. Tree bark.
- Over-baked raisin bread.
- Spicy / Malty / Stewed prunes
- Biscuity, Caramel
- woody, musty
- Bold, toasty
- Sharp, floral
- Roasted and slightly smoky with a sharp sour tang
- malt, biscuity, spicy
- More fragrance with orange floral

Liquor Color:
- Deep red/brown. Some vibrancy, sparkle and depth.
- Medium brown with dark red suggestion - remained clear as it cooled for quite a long time before it clouded.
- Orange-red / cloudy / viscous / noticed green ring around liquor
- Amber
- lighter reddish brown and slightly clearer than CTC #5
- Reddish amber in colour, bright, clear
- Brownish red
- Bright medium dark oak color
- copper orange, bright
- Medium brown. Slightly unrolled.

- High fired and astringent but more complexity than the CTC version. Bitter but also sweet. Some nutty notes. Thick mouth feel.
- Full bodied. Nice layers of flavor experience that lingered. Lots of the ripe, dried fruit flavor. Still creamy and a nice, smooth mouthfeel with no dryness.
- Smooth / Bright / Toasty / Spicy / Mouthwatering
- Astringent, woody sawdust, ample
- smooth, malty, full, very little aftertaste
- Malty with slight bitterness, slight caramel at back of throat, slightly bitter, clean astringent feel
- Sweet, slightly bitter and astringent
- Thin broth. Slightly smoky and very bitter. The astringency dries out my mouth almost immediately.- malt, a little bit astringent, thick cover the mouth, equilibrate and agreeable, nourishing
- Smooth, full orangey flavor. No after taste.

- A well-made tea with good appearance. Flavor was a bit too high fired, verging on burnt but calmed down in 2nd infusion. 2nd infusion was more balanced though not particularly sweet. However some oaky notes really stood out. My second favorite of this week.
- My expectations was that the flavor would develop more slowly with this orthodox vs. the same CTC product. And this was a good example. I did check for clouding as the liquor cooled. While the CTC clouded quickly, the orthodox remained clear much longer. But, upon sitting for an hour, the orthodox became equally as cloudy. This was a very pleasant tea experience. I found it complex enough to stand alone as an unblended tea.
- Pleasant toasty flavor with spicy notes. A little pungent, but overall well-balanced finish, with a puckery mouth feel.
- So this is what I have been hearing about with Assams and not being as robust and clean as they used to be.
- Drank the whole cup 1st and 2nd steepings. A good afternoon tea. I would blend it with 2nd flush Darjeeling to suit my taste. Second steeping still full flavor, less smooth than 1st, short aftertaste a bit dry. - I found this to be more palatable than the CTC production
- I would have expected this to be different in taste based on the leaf appearance. I drink a lot of tippy teas and this didn't match my previous experiences in any way. I generally do my tippy Assams at 210F and for 3 minutes as well so the steep parameters are the same though I do use more water. Curious to try this with my normal parameters and see if it becomes more what I would expect.
- A strong and robust Assamese tea with a complex and long lasting aroma, full bodied, the astringency is well wrapping tongue and cheeks without aggressivity. The CTC is interesting but less complex than the orthodox one
- Second infusion the leaves untwisted more and the liquor had the same strength as the first infusion.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 5 4 1    
Leaf Aroma 2 6 2    
Liquor Aroma 1 5 3 1  
Liquor Flavor 2 5 1 2  


Sample #007 - Anhui – Green CTC Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Light, pale green granules with yellowish tint. Mix of sizes.
- Tiny specks of yellow-green. Looks like sand.
- Tiny, green-gray granules & flakes of irregular size & shape.
- Micro pellets and Dust
- light green, very small pieces and dust
- Greyish green, fine, uniform, lightweight
- Pale green, not uniform, dusty
- Dust and tiny bits of leaf. Army green like a cheap culinary grade matcha
- grainy (powdery) very fine, greyish green
- Smash real fine, green

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Light, fresh, light minty or spicy, lemon grass. Medium body.
- Sweetly vegetal, dried anise.
- Dried (lawn) grass
- vegetal
- vegetal, seaweed
- Soft, bready
- Vegetal, sweet
- Bitter, sour green scent
- herbal, green vegetable (French bean)
- Woodsy

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Light gray color. Very fine green cake sediment at the bottom. Silty, sandy.
- Extremely "solvent". It seems as if much of the dry leaf actually melted in the steeping.
- Dk green / Dissolved / Goopy
- Dull Wet Sand Clumps
- looks like pureed green vegetables
- Greenish, grey sludge – unattractive
- Compacted, uniform and dull
- All the tea poured out into the bowl, it was so fine. What does remain looks like pond bank sediment.
- a green khaki paste
- Muddy green

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Light smoky notes with pan fried zucchini. Deep with full body.
- The aroma seems very fugitive and fragile. Not much change from the aroma of the dry tea. Light sweetness and suggestion of anise.
- Vegetal / Slight medicinal
- Sweet, Mineral, vegetal Spinach like
- musty, tobacco, a bit earthy, strong, full
- Vegetal
- slightly sweet
- Bitter, sour, bitey and angry
- herbal, floral, candy (haribo sweet ?) evocating chemical or pharmaceutical flavors
- Smokey

Liquor Color:
- Muddy, yellowish brown. Lots of sediment.
- Cloudy - murky, Olive-green.
- Yellow-brown / Cloudy / Thick
- musty yellow-green
- amber, cloudy, about 30% of infused leaves were poured into the cup.
- Dull, unclear, yellow in colour with a tinge of green. Contained traces of leaf.
- Brown, clouded, dull and dusty
- Cloudy like dirty swamp water
- yellow brown dusty dull
- Smokey because the leaves for into the liquor

- Strong and astringent but with some vegetal sweetness. Cigarette ash. Lingering finish. Kale.
- Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. No astringency or dryness. Nice vegetal sweetness. The anise aroma of the dry leaf matured and deepened. On the verge of becoming something else.
- Bitter / Sour / Zucchini / Waxy, coating mouthfeel
- Bitter, astringent, bacony, full lingering
- bitter, sharp, not at all pleasant or enjoyable, bitter and somewhat dry aftertaste.
- Bitter with a vegetal flavour, astringent with a clean mouth feel. Unpleasant
- astringent but soft
- Thin, harsh, sour and very, very bitter
- herbal floral evocating chemical or pharmaceutical flavors very astringent
- Grassy, leaves after taste on tongue

- Quite astringent. No real complexity. Good for teabags for someone who likes strong taste and body. 2nd infusion was weak and plain. Could be nice with Jasmine. Hints of licorice root in the finish.
- The brewed liquor was unpleasant but the aromas were delightful. I recently saw an Asian blogger refer to the liquor as the 'soup' and this is what came to mind when sampling the liquor. This made it a little more substantial feeling. The manufacturer mentioned screening for different mesh. I would be curious about this CTC screened at a larger mesh so that it doesn't dissolve so much. I imagine that the flavor would still be there but not the appearance of sliminess in the liquor.
- I used a strainer to remove most of the leaves from the liquid before tasting. Very heavy mouthfeel that grabs the sides of the tongue and sticks to your throat. Has a sour, bitter flavor reminiscent of zucchini w/ medicinal notes.
- Not a fan. Too bitter, may be great for blending as it has a bacony taste to my palate. Also I will try using a lower water temp on next steep to see if it smooths out the bitterness and astringency.
- Not much flavor on 2nd steeping (brewed out all the bad tastes), much smoother, little to no aftertaste, dry. No thank you on first and second steepings.
- I thought that the infused leaf looked and tasted terrible.
- Very difficult to drink. Definitely suited for bagged tea
- It was hard to give any attribute a 1. I found nothing pleasing about this tea, from appearance to aroma to taste. It was a leap of faith to even taste it based on the liquor appearance. It looks like something no one should drink before running it through a purifying filter. Just awful.
- It's difficult to estimate exactly the liquor flavor as a part of the fine powder is mixed in the liquor despite filtration so the infusion process is not completely stopped, this is reinforcing the astringency, the taste is very particular and not like the green teas I know.
- The leaves were chopped (smashed)  so tiny it came into the liquor

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance   1 1 4 4
Leaf Aroma 1   5 3 1
Liquor Aroma     6 3 1
Liquor Flavor   1 1 2 6


Sample #008 - Anhui – Green Orthodox Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Large, twisted, dark green leaves. Some mix of sizes but mostly uniform. Many tips. Some sheen but not much.
- Dark green, thin leaf with a light twist
- Dk green to black / Twisted / Wiry
- Wiry, un-uniform leaves, mottled dark green
- 1/4 to 1" greenish brown some very straight leaves, others curved or curled
- Smokey black with a few light tips, wiry, uniform
- Deep green, almost black. Uniform and twisted
- Vary in size but most appear to be a medium length. Mostly uniform in dark green color with some golden leaves.
- long leaves twisted dark green
- Short leaf twist

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Bready. Light plastic notes (like rubber balloon). Not so green smelling nor fresh.
- Sweet green herbs. More like Thyme than Anise.
- Complex / Buttery / Sweet / Licorice
- choco vegetal
- floral, sweet
- Musty
- Sweet
- Savory and vegetal with a buttery scent.
- herbal toasted chestnut
- Vibrant floral

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Bright jade green whole leaves. Still some firmness. Lots of buds.
- Broken leaf with some stem. A few whole, small leaves. Most of the leaf opens.
- Moss green / Whole w/some broken leaves
- dull sharp wiry uneven
- light green, lime green, small narrow leaves mainly whole and some partial
- Lively, fresh looking green open leaf of bright appearance.
- bright green, still tight, twisted
- Not fully expanded in 3 minutes but the leaves are a nice medium green hue. Non-uniform in shape, some larger leaves can be seen in process of unfurling.
- leaves and buds
- Cut slightly untwisted, vibrant green

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Green, succulent, sweet grain. Well made with no smokiness or over firing.
- Vegetal, fresh asparagus. Remaining Thyme aroma.?
- Complex / Brothy / Mineral / Vegetal / Floral
- delightful sweet pea
- strong, green, sharp, vegetal
- Asparagus, full and meaty
- Whithered, vegetal
- Wet, hot vegetation like a summer forest undergrowth. Still some rich buttery notes in the background.
- toasted chestnut herbal
- Smooth green

Liquor Color:
- Bright lemon yellow. Vibrant and clear.
- Yellow green. Interesting depth and clarity.
- Lt yellow / Clear / Thin
- yellowish green
- yellow, fairly clear
- Light golden yellow, clear, clean and bright
- Yellow and clear, clean liquor
- Pale golden green, very clear
- pale lemon yellow bright
- Tan green bright

- Juicy and rich. Some astringency but good complexity. Thick mouthfeel. Finish is astringent but tolerable.
- A very clean taste of sweet green. More developed flavor - like tarragon. Mouthfeel is smooth and hydrating. Satisfying and not drying.
- Complex with marigold & anise notes / Sour / Astringent / Coating mouth feel
- vegetal smooth very mildly astringent
- green vegetal, strong, surprisingly full for green tea, not astringent, but a bit of a bite, slightly dry aftertaste.
- Asparagus, vegetal slightly astringent. Pleasant
- Vegetal. Typical withered flavor, not too strong, grassy
- Mild vegetal notes. The savory scent is not present in the taste, but there are mild floral notes. The bitterness is high and the astringency builds very quickly.
- herbal floral toasted chestnut
- After taste left on top of tongue.

- A nice green tea. Well-made and not over/under fired. Good plucking standard and proper rolling. Initial balance is good. Hints of green pear in the finish as it cools.2nd infusion still has good mouth feel and plenty of flavor. My favorite of Week 2's samples.
- I really liked this tea. And in terms of the cupping process, found myself more a Green Tea person vs. Black Tea. I think that's happened over time. Perhaps we all go through different phases with our preferences. But my initial thought at the beginning of this cupping is that I like whole leaf green tea so much that I have a bias against cutting a green leaf so fine. That bias showed up in being turned-off by the liquor of the CTC. In stepping back a bit, I can see the pleasant character it could add to a blend and the feeling of thickness it contributes. Personally, I still prefer the clear broth to the creamy soup.
- Complex flavors that encompass peppery marigold & anise. Has a sourness to it (brew at 175 could reduce this) that borders on astringency. Liveliness coats the entire mouth, down the throat.
- Ok this one stays!!! Yum. Nice flavor and a very warming Qi
- A good green tea I would drink after dinner. #7 and #8 don't seem like the same tea at all in taste, aroma, dry or infused leaves. As much as I like orthodox, I dislike CTC.
- This was my favourite of all the samples this week.  So much more pleasant than the CTC production. - Due to the tightness of the dry leaf it might be good for steeping multiple times
- This one is much better, but without testing further with cooler temps, I would not reach for this. I think it has potential. I like the buttery notes and expect those will come out further with altered steeping parameters. The infused leaf is visually appealing even though the leaves are broken.
- a nice classical green tea with a good flavor evocating a long jing I have been surprised by the big difference between CTC and orthodox version Can this be caused by an oxidation during the process ?
- Did a second infusion and same strength in color and taste.

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 6 3   1  
Leaf Aroma 4 4 2    
Liquor Aroma 3 3 4    
Liquor Flavor 3 4 2 1  


09 2016