I’m going to be doing a quick water review of Arby’s new recipe he sent out. This is called Untitled – there are multiple versions of it, this one being the most intense, designed for brewing in porcelain. I’ve been working on water too, but haven’t had the time to blog yet! I have been making waters of my own, and also putting together a framework of water understanding that has greatly deepened my connection with water and tea. I’m really excited about this water and that Arby is starting his own company, Empirical Water. I don’t know the composition of this one, so let’s go in blind!
White2Tea 2017 Year of the Rooster
Immediately on the first steep, there’s a sense of structure to the tea. There’s a softness and a clean open feeling. This is definitely a low sodium water! The flavor focus seems to be in the middle of the mouth, which is really interesting. Sweet, savory, with huigan.
One thing I notice is it’s not too sweet. On the front of the mouth where you would usually find sweetness with a previous recipe, there’s a more complex bitter savory flavor. Wonderful oils of concentrated puer extract, full of little fruits. There’s a nice power here without being overbearing. I can tell this water is dialed in.
The flavor arrives gradually as I take a sip, revealing different aspects slowly but not too slowly at all. There’s a great sequence to this water, it’s like a song, not a picture. It definitely is making strong tea – the highlight is menghai mushroom notes, and I imagine this would do perfectly for something like Yang Qing Hao or Bi Yun Hao older productions, as well as aged factory tea. The texture is really amazing, I’m sure Arby aerated this somewhat, which is something I should do more too.
As for qi, my body feels quite comfortable drinking this tea, no jitters even though this is very strong puer. My mouth feels fine too, just a layer of velvety tannins, perfectly appropriate to this kind of tea at this age. I noticed the tea really feels gentle in the mouth with a little bit of acidity, so I decided to test: The pH of the tea at steep 7 is 6.5. That is just on the acidic side of neutral, and shows that what I’m tasting can be measured empirically.
This water really behaves quite close to a natural water, which is exactly what I like to see. I feel like everyone making water right now has a slightly different angle, and it really brings to light the invisible truth that there is an endless variety of waters with an endless variety of characters. For me, it’s like tea was made to manifest that variety in the most beautiful way.
Session Rating: 8.2/10
Water Rating: 8/10