Today, the post is going to be about two uncommon teas from Wuliang - a hongcha and a puerh.
I was curious to taste a hongcha from Wuliang, wondering whether there would be the "hostile" component which I often found in puerh. When I had Wuliang lucha, it was surely there (although not as bad as in the Wuliangs I did not enjoy). Interestingly enough, the component was completely absent in this one. It may be also because this is probably a lot higher leaf grade than common Wuliang pu is made of.
I do not particularly care for "red" hongcha, such as Dian Hong, rich in tips. Not that I'd dislike the taste itself (I don't crave it either), but it just makes my stomach hollow and sick. Fortunately, this Wuliang hongcha is pitch black. In fact, had it lived in South Africa in 50s, it would surely get its own low-grade pot. No way it could be brewed in a gaiwan after a Bai Mu Dan or something like that...
The dry leaves suggest that this is tea of the "roses with chocolate" sort (such a product is actually made and it resembles the given genre of hongcha a lot).
The wet leaves build on the basic theme, adding good sweetness, spice and incense - overall, a very complex aroma for a hongcha.
In taste, things are perhaps not as surprising as in the aroma, but it still works well. There is a sort of exotic fruit, roses, with some chocolate after a couple of seconds. It is very smooth and refined. Also, it is not sour, which is another positive, which some hongcha lacks. On the other hand, it is not too sweet either. The taste lasts rather long. Unfortunately, my stomach complains a bit when I drink too much of this. But I guess that it's just my problem.
What surprised me the most was the obvious cha qi - not unlike in a good puerh ($80+ good). As far as I rememer, this is the first hongcha with noticeable qi I met.
Even though this tea costs like a good puerh, it is certainly interesting and pretty good. I myself am not enough a "hongcha man" to appreciate it well enough, but it was surely educational.
Another loose-leaf tea pressed recently. What the website does not tell you is that it is actually purple varietal tea. I enjoy purple pu in general and I wondered what would dominate this tea - Wuliangness, or purpleness? The latter is true, I believe.
The dry leaves smell of generic purple fruitiness. In rinsed leaves, this is nicely "widened" by a rich mixture of fruits and a hint of nuts. It smells good, though not overly complex.
In mouth, the liquor is pleasantly (and surprisingly) smooth, pleasantly sweet, tasting of north-purple fruitiness (Yiwu purple pu is quite a different tea) - which means a mixture of garden fruit, exotic fruit and flowers. There is some light resin taste too. Overall, it is nice, but light and not too complex. I can not say I'd feel anything like high thickness, nor honey, described at the website.
While this is supposed to come from very old trees, I can not say it would feel like that to me. The qi is not particularly strong here (surely weaker than the hongcha above), no buzz either. I wonder whether this is actually from young trees or age of trees does different things to purple pu.
The tea is not really dominating, e.g., Chawangshop's Baoshan Yeshengcha (another northern purple pu) from, which costs about 10%. Ok, this tea lasts a bit longer, on the other hand, that Baoshan tastes a touch more interesting to me.
Nada himself notes that this may challenge people's views what is a good tea should be. That is true with me. I don't say it sucks, just that it is very expensive. However, there may be something I'm missing... A similar case happened to me with Burgundy wine - when I started tasting it, I did not understand how anyone could prefer it over rich Bordeaux or CDR wine. However, when I had enough glasses and especially of very good Burgundy wine, I started to understand that there is really something special and unique... Not that I would prefer wine from Burgundy at this stage, but at least I moved from light derogation to appreciation. Maybe something similar could happen if I drank enough northern purple yeshengcha...