Thursday, December 8, 2011

Comparing two CNNP Shu from 2002

I find a comparing teas as good opportunity to learn. Few tea samples putted in to the line always strain my senses. I use to have troubles to assort my observations. Sometime when I received pile of samples I got lost - drinking them thru several days or even weeks brought to me many great and inspiring tea sessions but also some confusion. My gustative memory is not so perfect and it is not easy to compare tea in my cup with another which was there few days ago. So I have decided to create few, more or less the same, testing sets. I know about standard competition sets, of course. But for my nature, testing with those set was always somehow cold or too laboratory to me. So I have made an attempt to create an alternative.

Sets I have made are quite small...
Shibo can hold about 70-80ml of water...
 Created from technical porcelain and glazed just by Czech feldspar, those small shiboridashes and cups reflect fragrances in the way which makes me happy. Brews are softer then from most of hard, white porcelain competition sets I have tried. I have taken them out of the kiln in "tea arrival days". In days when couple of boxes with many teas in them have arrived to our doors. Great combination - I have used those testing sets many times since that !

Two teas, which have urged to be prepared next to each other, were from Gingo of Life in Teacup. Both are from 2002, both produced by CNNP. The 7581 brick is like old familiar friend to me. Like someone who I like and enjoy to be with. In the sample pouch was hidden its brother, piece of The Golden Brick. So let's put them next to each other...

Big difference between those brothers you can already find when looking on dry leaves. The French Export 7581 brick is made of bigger, thicker leaves and stems make it look wild or disheveled. The Golden Brick Shu fulfils its name - small leaves are nice looking and streaked by golden leaves.
The Golden Brick                                                             The 7581 French Export Brick                                                                                                                                  

The difference between leaves is even clearer on pictures of wet leaves. Dark, almost black 7581 compare to brown gold Golden Brick. Smelling to those wet leaves, I have found the basic personalities which went thru the tasting like a fiber. Lighter, fruity and flowery Golden Brick in one shiboridashi and more dry, woody - nutty, like green almonds fragrances of 7581 in the second one.

After first quick infusion...
The Golden Brick                                                             The 7581 French Export Brick     
After fifth infusion....
The Golden Brick                                                             The 7581 French Export Brick       

                                                                                                                                If this comparing should be a competition or race, then during first two infusions The Golden Brick was the leader. But as I said before, I knew what is inside of 7581! Leaves of The Golden Brick show its beauty - brews have full body and strong fragrances. My mind was still looking for names of flowers to link those fragrances with. Chrysanthemums? Honey orchids ? Very tasty, that is for sure.

As you can see here, colors of those teas in cups are very similar to each other. But not smells, tastes or mouthfeels...

 Cup with 7581 started to captivate more attention in second infusion. In third and later brews it become strong but smooth potion. Dry, woody mouth feel with green almonds tastes and long after taste. Hints of resin and forest flowers. On other hand The Golden Brick started to loose its power. Maybe it is just judgment originated from my personal love for character of 7581 brick. I can also imagine that there is a million tea lovers who will always pick The very nice Golden Brick. And I enjoyed it too. But my heart belongs to Shu from 2002 produced under CNNP and labeled as 7581 French Export.

Thank you for reading!

As addition I have released here one more (imperfect) picture of my new testing sets. Here with this year's shengs which I enjoyed yesterday, together with my friend. Tea and water, charcoal and teapot, cups and friendship...


  1. Petr,

    There is a ceramic stove and kettle in that bottom picture!!! Nice.


  2. Hi Matt,

    Yes, you got a sharp eye...ha ha. It works and I am happy about it - everytime when I find an time to heat a water this way. I just need to more practice and make more experiments with different charcoals. Look forward to read more about heating water on charcoal on your blog!

    Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Petr,

    Agree with what you said about standard competition sets being too "cold or too laboratory". You came up with a great solution. Still don't care for side by side testing though. :D

    Your tea setup in that bottom picture is really natural looking- it feels quite right. The old worn wood of the larger table hosting and framing the set. Your ceramic tea table looks rustic and worn- the wood top adds a very nice touch, a re-purposed piece of wood- no doubt.

    The white ceramic tea stove is very similar in colour to the Uh Sang Myung tea stove on MattCha's Blog. Its lighter colour adding nice contrast to the darker kettle above. The tea stove seems the right size to use on top of the table without overpowering the energy there. How does the kettle handle? It looks like it may a bit difficult to gracefully maneuver? But looks so proper up on top that white stove. Thanks for the picture.

    Great work,


  4. sorry I will not refer to the main subject in your post but I will ride my horse again;)
    Your stove looks great, I could agree with Matt about handle but I understand that as a man who have a lot to do with a fire you have no troubles with such one.
    After good clay for stove (btw thanks for suggestion but not get it still and have to work on my own) good charcoal is the second important case (import from the East looks too exentric). So I look forward your charcoal review:) After few tests I personal prefer "CO2 friendly" (a little product placement) but made in Poland what I find as surprise. Waiting for more pictures. Best. Andrzej

  5. Thank you guys for picking up this charcoal topic!

    Matt: I recently enjoy side by side testing - there is both a lot of fun and as well as it improve the"tea cognizance" Nevertheless you are right - just preparing tea can go deeper.

    Thank you for your comments on the tea setting. The table is old Chinese game table. Bought in an Antic store (in bed shape) many years ago finally found its place. The tea table is Mirka's (my girlfriend) creation and also the top is ceramic :) Yes, I use it on daily basis.

    About handling with the kettle: If the handle is on the right side of the stove then it is ok. I have singed my fingers ones - now I always use piece of white fabric. It is soft, quite easy and safe now :) More pictures of the heating set(s) will come.

    Andzej: Thank you for your tip on charcoal. For now, I use coconut charcoal. It comes as briquette, which is harder to start to fire but nicely smelling and works with tea quite nice too. And made from left over of coconuts it should be ecological (yes, I know there no coconut trees in Czech rep.) I just ordered couple of bags with high quality Czech charcoal - one from oak second from ash tree. I hope it will work even better. Let you know...


  6. Beautiful tasting set! Your small shiboridashis are excellent.
    Greetings from Poland.

  7. Pozdrawiam was, Wojciech!

    Thank you for your compliments. Great part about those small shibos is how nicely work.

    Enjoy your day