# Young, cheap tuo cha showdown!

Can a cheap pu'erh be good? Is it possible to buy cheap tea and age it in to something amazing? Most say "no" --but that won't put me off from trying. The first step is to taste young teas so that one can better understand the aging process.

I put three teas (all inexpensive young pu'erh) in to three teapots without looking much then mixed them up. Who will win the blind tea taste test?

Tea #1

Astringency, Dryness, nice Hui gan, rather sweet and slightly sour like white grapes. This one needed a longer steep than the other two. Nice back of throat feeling. The leaves are big and plump and young.

Tea #2

Heavy mouth-feel, Astringency, Dryness, some Hui gan... I swear this has this flavor like older tea or shu... it's not strong but its there. Steeps dark very quickly. Thick. This is easiest to drink in some ways.

Tea #3

Astringency, yet wonderful Hui gan, thick, flavors lasts, just a little biter also smoky? why is raw puerh smoky? Love the after-taste.

Overall
I think in their current young state #2 is the most "drinkable" -- yet it isn't my favorite. I like #3 a bit more ... in fact I like #2 least since it isn't really what I expect from sheng. I suspect it is blended. Not that that is "bad" I just like things that are less contrived.

How will these age? Damned if I know. I have two of each tuocha, one to nibble on and one to keep for a long time. I don't have an special storage arrangements, by my in NYC apartment I never use AC-- so I'm not too worried. In any case, if they start to dry out I'll seek new arrangements. But, If I had to guess,I'd guess that #1 will end up too sweet and plain with age, #2 won't really age much since it's so unstable, and #3 has a shot at be good in a few years.

WINNER: #3

Let's see what happens!

And now....

The Reveal

Xia Guan Yellow Ribbon Tuo Cha 2010 100g Raw ($9) Jia Ji Tuo Cha * Menghai Dayi Pu-erh Tea 2009 100g Raw ($7)   RUNNER-UP

## LaTeX Help

Overall: This app is a dictionary of common LaTeX commands. They are organized by type (Greek, operations, relations, etc...) Where this app really falls short is in its lack of any kind of search function. For example, $\aleph$, is listed under "more > misc." and was quite hard to find.  This app is designed for iPhone only, so iPad users will still have to put up with scrolling through the list on a tiny screen with a big black background. I do not recommend this app for iPad. It makes more sense to simply download one of the pdfs containing LaTeX symbols then use your favorite reader to scroll and surf through the document. The pdf will be more functional since you will be able to search! However it is free, so from that stand point, one can't complain. It could also be convenient for iPhone users to have at their side while writing TeX on their desktop.

Ease of Use: It's easy to use, but without a search function often unhelpful.
Aesthetics and Flow: The interface is not bad, it's fun to scroll through all of the symbols. No clutter, easy to read.
Price: Free!

## TeX Equation

Overall: If you only get one LaTeX app for your iPad this should be it. It is a bare-bones, yet highly functional application that lets you type TeX mixed with regular text and generate images that are perfect for emails. It includes customizable macros that allow you to speed up your coding by simplifying repetitive character strings. You can set the font size and color. The keyboard is well thought out, including letters, common latex characters and numbers on the same screen so most equations are easy to type without switching. You can cut and paste the images in to email and other applications or save them to your pictures folder.  I find this app handy for conversing with students via email, though I do long for an email client with real LaTeX integration.  The developer runs a forum and is very responsive to user feedback.

Ease of Use: Very easy great keyboard design. Recommend for those familiar with LaTeX as it lacks short-cut keys.
Customization:
You can change the font size and color and create custom macros for faster coding.
Aesthetics and Flow: A sign of good interface design is when you don't notice the interface. No short-cut keys cluttering the screen. All the keys you need where you want them on one screen.