This is the first of samples from Essence of tea I'd like to write about. As I succeeded in the exam from computational complexity theory yesterday, I decided I'd taste it again today and write about it to reward myself.
I quite like the descriptions on Essence of tea website... not boasting, letting one form his opinion himself. I guess that the owner knows that when one is good in what he does, he does not have to boast.
Interesting tea deserves good water, a unit of charcoal was mustered. Will have to buy more soon...
Now, dry leaves...
I find them quite beautiful, healthy. Big (one would expect that of Da Ye, wouldn't he?). They release a pleasant, dry, aged aroma.
The water is boiling, sings the kettle...
Wet leaves in the pot smell rather like shu puerh, more clean and "real" though. Could be just my imagination.
The color of the liquor is similar to aged wine in a way. Older wine is not as red as young, having a sort of brownish tint. Approaching this from the other side, this tea is brown with a reddish tint.
The taste is clean and pleasant, but hardly surprising or mind-blowing. What came to my mind first was "shupu". It tasted according to what I felt I could feel in it... when I thought of dried apricots, I could sort of find them there. Also, in some brews, very slight fishiness was present (carp, to be exact).
Having a look at wet leaves clearly shows this is no shu. Actually, the mouthfeel and energy of the tea suggest the same thing. The tea feels thick, cools the mouth and sends small "sparks" around. It may be just my imagination, but it also felt more "natural" than shu.
As has been said many times before, old tea is not always drank for the taste (it would be crazily expensive for that). The energy of the tea is very important too. This tea has pleasant, quiet cha qi. I generally believe that a lot of calming down and feeling good is caused by calm preparations and enjoyment of tea (furthermore, with older teas, one could have tendency to be wow-ed by the experience of drinking something of such age). I can not say that this tea would affect me so much more than other sheng from 2001-2004. But it is quieter, no rowdydow bitterness or anything notably powerful is in it. Balance and peace, it is.
The unknown amout of leaves I used (5-8g) lasted more than a litre of water, still being enjoyable.
Wet leaves confirm that leaves probably come from several sources, not being too homogenous. I liked how firm and healthy they still were, not being disintegrated by being rubbed a bit.
Were this tea sold as the biggest speciality in the world, for crazy money, I would have thought "all right, interesting, but not for me". As it is so cheap, I think it is very nice tea to be had more frequently. Although I do not need the kind of feeling it gives (and younger tea does not) too often, it is very pleasant from time to time.