středa 13. června 2012

2003 Haiwan Lao Tong Zhi

The package from thechineseteashop has arrived at last. First brief sniffing meeting with the teas suggests that the nice prices are not a scam - the teas seem to be genuine and nice.

Just a short note on the price of getting the teas to Prague (which seems to be an often debated issue). The shipping was some 9% of the price and VAT was 14% (shipping from YS is generally more or less similar, of course, it depends on what tea one buys). I thought I had to pay the customs fee (as the order was more expensive than 150 EUR), but there is the rule that if one would pay less than 250 CZK in customs fee, he does have to pay anything. So it was 23% more than the retail price of the eshop. So, dear readers, if your vendor cries on your shoulder, how he has to pay loads of money on VAT and shipping, gaining only enough money from his margin so that he can buy old bread and mineral water*, think of the wholesale discount  they got (which is at least 25%, probably quite often more).
*) And to pay for EMS as a mean of getting the tea to them.

I have a rather good experience with Haiwan so far. Nothing really mind blowing, but no bad stuff either. A pity that they decided to go for lower quality since cca 2006-7. I think their production may be roughly described as:

Now a quiz - who are these two?

The babbling part has been longer than usual... To the tea itself:

The dry leaves are quite green, yet not so much to make me believe that this tea is fake. The aroma is gentle, nice, towards wheat and dry fruit.

The wet leaves smell similarly, maybe a bit more woody and nutty than the dry leaves.

The liquor is light, but I've seen much lighter teas of this age too... I'd say that this tea is a good representant of what I consider to be a nice dry stored tea.

The taste starts as quite simple, but pleasant and becames more and more pronounced in further brews. It basically reflects the aroma quite well, being "sweet granary", lightly earthy, already with tones of agedness.  It is not complicated, nor too complex, but it is so pleasant and in harmony that I don't mind. The tea keeps some youthful bitterness - I'd prefer it going away, maybe storing the cake in a slightly wetter environment. The aftertaste consists of slightly astringent fruitiness and lasts long.

The tea changes pleasantly over brews, getting smoother and smoother (the bitterness is mostly gone around 6th brew). Camphor tones appear after a while.

Outside the taste, the tea is really sweet and thick. Late hui gan is obvious and pleasant. The activity of this tea in mouth is noticeably, but not that powerful.

I enjoyed drinking this tea a lot. It may not be as complex and intriguing as some other teas, but it fits my preferred tastes very well and I believe it goes in the right direction and is already quite pleasant to drink now, while the price is still all right. Being exhausted after a week at AAMAS, then flying home after midnight, then 6 hours of sleep and then 24 hours long studying marathon for an exam*, I really enjoyed the relative simplicity of this tea.
*) It was an exam from traditional AI. Keeping it stylish**, I went to a dentist right before the exam.
**) The resource book for the course is AI: a modern approach, by Russell and Norvig***.
***) I wonder how many people know what I mean by now...

6 komentářů:

  1. I too enjoy this Tea. I tried it at Daniels shop in Vancouver, but as with many teas I brew at home they just dont taste as good when prepared by a Master.

  2. Dear Jakub,

    You're speaking my language! I hope that the exam went well. The textbook is a good all-rounder; I heartily recommend Barber's new book ("Bayesian Reasoning for Machine Learning") which is both friendly and complete at the same time. It's remarkable. The new edition (3rd ed.) of "Statistical Pattern Recognition" by Webb is also excellent.

    The second plot is difficult to guess (disproportionate increase in price compared to a small increase in quality - this could describe tons of labels!), but the third is certainly Hailanghao!

    I laughed at the log scale.

    P(Toodlepip) = 1,


  3. Hello Hobbes!
    Yes, the exam went well - on top of the exam not being too difficult, I was assigned MDPs, which was one of the more enjoyable topics.

    I'll have at the books you recommend in the library! Traditional AI is not something I would do that much, but it seems that some parts could be relevant for my diploma thesis.

    Hmmm, I did not think the third image to be HLH actually :) I think that he went from "good tea for reasonable money" to "better than good tea for crazy money". I do not think he makes absolutely worse tea than earlier...


  4. hi Jakub

    Good idea with the charts. My first guess was also HLH for the last graph but now I am curious which brand you ment. The late production of YPH and 6FM is not that good as it was at the beginning. so....?

  5. Actually, I ment the first of the two undescribed to be HLH - I think that the quality still gets higher with years (not every year, maybe, but I think that 2010 teas were, in absolute measures, better than 2007-8), but the price just rises much faster.

    The second one depicted my opinion on Xi Zi Hao. The recent teas are very expensive, while I can not say I would consider them to be too good even in absolute measures...

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