This is a public service announcement...with guit... with a cup of tea!
A year ago, I often asked whether the newly produced sheng costing $40 a cake is worth it when you can buy more mature and "you-know-where-it-is-going". I did not find an answer yet. However the matter is even more pressing as our currency has, due to interesting economical experiments happening, managed to outrun dollar and euro in falling down. Thus, all things bought with dollars cost 25% more than a year before.
Although I do enjoy drinking young tea, it is often a matter of study than of enjoyment. I generally enjoy pre-2006 tea more. Where to buy it though? One of very interesting sources is a rather newborn tea-store named Chawangshop. In this cruel world of pursuit of best leaves, best processing and all that, I feel that Chawangshop offers a lot of more "normal"sheng - but the best specimen chosen of these. It offers several $10 bricks which are much more enjoyable than a lot of $20-$30 bricks/cakes I've had. Some of the cheaper older sheng is a bit wetter than I would enjoy (another friend enjoyed them immensely though), but some is simply a well aged product for a very good price. This all is not to say that Chawangshop does hoi polloi tea - not at all. I would prefer to say it does not fall to the hysteria of "20.6.1951 Yi Wu Dia Jing Zhai 3rd farmer's house from the north Ancient Wild Organic traditional beeng cha".
To get back to today's specimen, which may be bought here: http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/pu-erh-tea/aged-puerh/2003-jinggu-bai-long-organic-raw-puerh-cake-te-ji-357g.html
It is one of more expensive cakes in Chawangshop. First, I wanted to do a comparation with Jia Ji of the same place, but since these two cakes are so different, it would make little point to do so.
Let's have a look at dry leaves and 2nd brew:
The tea is dry-stored, no hints of wetness of any kind. That is good and it justifies the price tag in my opinion.
This tea is probably the best Jinggu I have drank. This, of course, does not mean something as good as "the best Yi Wu I have drank". On the opposite, Jinggu is one of less favourite areas of mine - I often find Jinggu tea to be a bit boring. However, I certainly did enjoy drinking this one.
It is not boring - it is powerful, it lingers over tongue, cooling and "tickling" the mouth. It definitely feels as older and wilder tree production (the cake is not declared as such, but the owner of the store agreed with me on it). It is rather sweet, grainy, Jinggu-ish, very balanced. I dare say it ages very well. Powerful "wild" bitterness comes after a while. But it is not mouth-disturbing, it is rather silky in a way, pleasant (like barrique). This bitterness was probably one of things I did enjoy the most in this tea (it is very different from usual unpleasant bitterness). The aftertaste is warming, long-lasting and thoroughly enjoyable.
This cake is what I imagine under proper $40-costing cake.