+Global Tea Hut has a major advantage when it comes to sourcing because they are based in Taiwan. That puts them right in the heart of oolong territory. There are three main varieties, called the three daughters. I've tried plenty of Jing Shuan and Si Ji Chun but I've never tried a Tsui Yu, also known as Kingfisher Jade. I find myself looking forward to these monthly shipments more and more. In part it is because it is the one tea I don't do a formal review of. In part it is because I love feeling connected to a community of tea lovers. Another part is that I really, really love seeing what the tea gift will be. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning whenever the package arrives.
This month's surprise was a set of Chinese medicine stones. They are placed directly into the kettle so that they will soften and purify the water for tea. I've heard of bamboo charcoal being used for this purposed but these were basically volcanic rocks. I don't have the set up to do a double tasting with and without the rocks so I decided to alternate with each infusion. While it was a less than perfect method, I was definitely able to discern the difference. The taste was softer and rounder, even the color of the liquor was slightly different. For this tea, it really helped to bring out the sweet floral qualities. There were some vegetal notes but it remained very smooth, especially on the infusions when I used the stones.
I did a lot of experimenting with teas that I am familiar with in the weeks that followed. For some teas, it visibly improved the taste. For others, I felt that it dampened some of my favorite parts. I eventually took the stones out but I'll definitely be playing with them from time to time. It's a bit silly but I also found that I really enjoyed the clinking sound they made whenever the water came to a boil.
This tea was received as part of a Global Tea Hut subscription.