The first time I brewed Zhen Qu I was in my apartment and home sick from work so chances are I didn’t give it my full attention. Today, however, I’m celebrating the inauguration of the first Matsuri Tea House (tea cabinet?) and decided to give it another go.
After shelving my manga on one side of my enormous new bookcase from Ikea (the 25 cubby Expedit), I was pondering what to do with the reverse side when i bumped my head (not for the first time) on the sloped ceiling above it. It happens that some of my boxes of tea and tea implements were sitting in this space. Squatting down next to them it occurred to me that, with the loss of my kitchen, I’d all but put my tea hobby on hold indefinitely. I really can’t accept that conclusion and started to think where I could store all of it. Amusingly I was staring the solution in the face: The answer to the Riddle of the Reverse of Bookcase (it could be a children’s mystery title!). A very literal manga kissaten. I call it “Mei-chaku-cha” 目茶苦茶 Matsuri Tea House for obvious reasons.
So getting back to today’s tea: Zhen Qu Yunnan is a high quality black tea I discovered at By The Pound. It retails for $47.99 per pound. If that sounds extremely expensive, it’s because it is… but believe me, I didn’t spend more than a dollar or two on it. Zhen Qu is a variation on the traditional Golden Tipped Yunnan, with the majority of the leaves being golden. By the Pound also retails an $80/lb all golden tip Yunnan, but this one is nearly of the same quality for 2/3rd the price. It’s also a more drinkable tea, as it tends to brew thinner. The first time around I noted that it had no scent and was quite weak to the point where I could just eat it straight out of the bag (assuming it was organic which of course it probably isn’t). Today’s brew though was much slower and more controlled (my water kettle is acting up), and I was able to get a far better brew out of it. Brewed, Zhen Qu Yunnan smells like a freshly planted flower garden and tastes similar to an Assam with imagined caramel notes. I say imagined because of course there’s no additives, but the texture and taste are similar.