24 November 2008

2003 Menghai Bulang Jing Pin

Some tea has its own story, and few stories are quite interesting. Today I drunk a five years old Jing Pin (Superb Product - 精品) by Menghai Tea Factory. It's a sheng pu-erh made from wild mao cha harvested in Bulang mountain range. The tea was sold by Hou De, and it was sold out very quick, within a day, despite the fact that it was limited to two or three beengs per customer and the price was quite high.

Few days later BearsBearsBears suggested, that the nei-fei on the beeng suggest, that this tea could be fake. Guang from HouDeAsianArt answered, so the beeng is probably authentic. I already ordered one, so I decided to keep my order and not to cancel it. And now I’m drinking the tea.

2003 Menghai Bulang Jing Pin

This tea certainly went through some not very-serious wet storage, probably in the first two years of its existence. That’s good, at least in my opinion, because it added a few years of age to the beeng without damaging it too much. The last three years it stayed in dry environment in Houston and then in Šamorín (yes, with me). The leaves are browner than on dry-stored beengs of same age. The dics is quite compact, I had hard time to loosen enough leaves without damaging them too much – the edges are a bit loose, but the center of the cake is xiaguanish hard.

The dry leaves give out very nice, warm smell of wood and grapes, I like the fragrance a lot. The first infusion is quite bitter, not really enjoyable, but in later infusions the tea quickly turns from bitter to sweet. In the second infusion fruitiness emerges, resembling the red grapes from the smell of the dry beeng, in late infusions the fruitiness is covered by woody notes and the slightly-aged taste, reminding me of the smell of cellars.

The tea is still young, the liquor is just very light orange, so there is enough place to develop more depths and complexity. The stamina of the tea is very good, surviving 10 infusions with ease, so there is a hope of turning it into something even better. Fake or not, I like this one.

21 November 2008

2006 Longyuan Yi Wu Aromatic Pu-Erh

The tea is dead. Not all the tea, but some of my tea already deceased. Last time I drunk some powerless mao cha and I found some similarities with this 2006 Longyuan Yi Wu Aromatic beeng. Now is the time to confirm my findings.

The beeng isn’t single region but is a blend of Yi Wu (third) and Jiang Cheng (two thirds) leaves. But why is it called Yi Wu Aromatic Beeng instead of Jiang Cheng Aromatic Beeng? This is the manifestation of true power of trademarks.

2006 Longyuan Hao Yi Wu

I purchased this beeng alongside some others when I decided to try various loosely compressed beengs, see if they are suitable for long term storage. The beeng itself is beautiful, loosely compressed with small leaves on the surface. But the clothing sometimes hides a hideous body, so it should not distract me.

I don’t enjoy this tea. The liquor is slight orange, but it smells like a chemical substance with smoky undertones. Taste a bit like hay. There is some aftertaste, but the liquor itself lacks the power, the ability to age, the qi.

I’m very upside down with this tea. It’s not nasty, yet it’s not very good or cheap. Two stars out of five, max. Drinkable, but not much more. Maybe some wetter storage may help, but with my wet storage disaster I cannot try it myself.

This tea is available from Yunnan Sourcing.

18 November 2008

2008 Spring Chun Cha

A lot is happening today. Slovakia, the country I’m from will loose its national currency Slovak Crown by January 1st 2009 – we will switch to Euro. And because I work in a company producing and distributing enterprise-wide information systems, we have now a lot of work ahead to help all our clients to convert their systems to euro. That’s why I haven’t had too much time to blog. Yet I still drink a lot of tea and have a lot of samples. My current plan is to post a blog here at least twice a week.

Let’s drink today’s tea. I got this free sample with my last order from Nada.

2008 Spring Chun Cha

What says the note: 2008 spring tea (Chun Cha) from ‘Bang Wai’ the village near Jing Mai Mountain. All the leaves from one tree ‘Gu Shu Cha’ Old Tree Tea.

Jing Mai is located in southern corner of Yunnan near Burma and Vietnam. Bu Land is near Jing Mai, so I expected the mao cha to produce strong and powerful soup. The leaves were whole and large, covered with long silver hair. I decided to stuff my pear-shaped teapot to get a heavier tea than usual.

But I’m quite disappointed. The tea isn’t what it should be. I found the very similar taste in 2006 Long Yuan Yi Wu Aromatic Beeng sold by Yunnan Sourcing – same sweet and empty tea. Overbrewing makes the tea too bitter; the way I prepare tea normal makes it uninteresting and a bit miserable. I will try this tea in next few days again; hopefully I will have more luck finding its heart.

2008 Spring Chun Cha

Coming soon: I purchased several tea-flavored chocolates. Now I will try them and report to you how they taste like. Hope they will not be too nasty. The Gyokuro one looks a bit suspicious.