středa 3. října 2012

Two teas I met at Kaizen

About a week ago, there was a Japanese day - Kaizen - in Prague. It was not purely japanese though and some puerh was there to be met.

The first, one was 2009 Luo Shui Dong Gushu from Bílý Jeřáb (White crane) tearoom.
It is one of the Bílý Jeřáb's private pressings and it costs $46 per 200g cake. I'm not too keen on Bílý Jeřáb as they generally tend (or did so in the past) to add larger markup than I consider reasonable, but they at least try new things, pairing tea with food and wine in new ways and all that - in other words, they probably are one of the best tearooms in Prague and they have their own character.

I had just one session so my notes are more of a tweet, rather than a serious tasting. First, I was surprised by the tea being served in a kyusu teapot. It sort of worked though. Then I did not like too thick cups, but again, it's just that I am quite used to my own stuff.

I did like the tea itself. It is a really solid Yiwu - very thick and sweet, with sugary-fruity taste. It has some additional subtle tastes that make the experience interesting. I guess it may be a regional feature of Luoshuidong, but I did not have enough teas from there to draw such a conclusion. 

There is a quick huigan and a lovely cooling feeling which lasts many steepings. 

Not a bad tea. I would not pay this much for it, but single-village old tree Yiwu will hardly be cheap anytime soon so the price is probably not too far off.

The second one, which I bought from stand, was a tiny 60g Yukang Jingmai minicake:
I paid $5 for it which I know that was too much, but I wanted to have some Jingmai at home and a box from Chawangshop (which has this tea for $1.40) is already on its way, so I thought that $5 will not kill me. Btw., vendors here sell it for $6-8 - what a lovely markup. 

I was first afraid whether a decent Jingmai could cost this little (I'm working with Chawangshop price) - after all, it is less than $10 per 400g cake equivalent. But the minicake smelled allright at the stand so I took one.

And it is actually not bad at all. Of course, we're talking about tea with no cooling feeling and no notable qi on one hand. On the other hand, it is very much Jingmai-like, very strong, punchy and fresh-fruity. The fruitiness is not flat and does develop nicely between steepings which lends good and unexpected complexity to the overall performance. The tea can be quite bitter, but the bitterness transforms very quickly. Perhaps too quickly as there is not that strong aftertaste coming from transformation of the bitterness. 

I like it as it is a good, fresh, strong young puerh, which, once forgiven the not present qualities of old trees, performs surprisingly well. I think it is way better than <$10 per 400g. If nothing else, it beats Guanzizai 2010 and 2011 Jingmais in my opinion.

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