čtvrtek 5. května 2011

2006 Haiwan Pa Sha

This is the first tea I have bought in larger quantity, so I have a special feelings towards it. I really like the character of Pa Sha and this tea has it.

I've been drinking it a lot lately and I have to note that it is a real bastard concerning the quality of water. With bad water, it's simply not worth it. On the other hand, with good water...

The look of the cake:

And the look of dry leaves:

Today, I have used a tea stove again.

This is how the second and the third brews look like:

It aged (and ages) in rather dry conditions, it is not particularly dark or aged.

The tea is not for everyone I think. It has nice, complex aroma, very difficult to decribe. The taste is, however, a bit hardcore. At the beginning, there is thick sweetness, similar to the of dark forest honey. After it comes a complex taste which I'm unable to describe too well. It's slightly grainy (which I like a lot), fruity, there is wood, maybe sweet tobacco too (not the ugly smelling burning tobacco, normal tobacco smells rather nicely I think). Then, a wave of heavy bitterness comes. It is a bit hardcore I guess, not everyone will enjoy it. Even though it is powerful, it quickly transforms into sweetness. The hui gan is particularly strong in this tea. The aftertaste is rather fruity, sweet (both coming from transformed bitterness) and enjoyable. A bit of the bitternes does not transform too quickly, I suspect older/wild trees playing their part. Cha qi is powerful and wild.

I'm looking forward to it after four or five more years. It is enjoyable and promising already, but I think it needs a bit of aging to become a great tea (and I believe it will). It is still very strong, the sweetness started to develop very nicely already . If these grainy tones present in it will become more pronounced and they stick to the darker sweetness in harmony. Two years before, the sweetness was much different and the grain (barley?) not present. A year before, it was sweeter, darker in taste and more grainy. Now, it still develops these attributes. Therefore it is natural to expect it could continue...

A few pictures of water spirits playing:

středa 4. května 2011

2007 Yong Pin Hao Yi Wu Mao Cha

A friend has sent me this sample; I think it is probably the same tea Hobbes has mentioned here: http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2008/05/2007-yiwu-yongpinhao-maocha.html

Now, several years after, the tea has gone through a certain development.

Dry leaves are obviously much darker:

The smell of dry leaves was not particularly pleasant. Not fruity, somewhat hard and iron-like.

The smell of rinsed leaves was even more unpleasant. Tobacco-like, hard, non-yummy.

After smelling it, I was a bit afraid to taste it actually, but considering the smell, it was a pleasant surprise. The tea is very thick, definitely Yi-Wu, slightly chocolate-y, but I miss the fruit so often found in Yi Wu sheng. The liquor is really dense, but the taste is not overly powerful. If not for the thickness, it would be almost like a warm water, or some 8th brew of 2007 Chawangpu Yi Wu. It's not bad for everyday drinking though.

The tea broth looks like this:

The aftertaste is rather nice, but nothing special. There is slight bitterness which sadly does not transform.

All brews were rather similar, the chocolate was gradually leaving the taste and bitterness and slight fruitiness grew stronger. Rinsed leaves started smelling nicely around the third brew too...

All in all, it's not bad. It's sort of similar to the above mentioned 2007 Chawangpu Yi Wu, but the Chawangpu mini-cake is more fruity, better balanced, smells nicely right from the start and is generally better. On the other hand, it is more expensive too.

pondělí 2. května 2011

2001 Yi Wu Bao Pu Xuan Gu Shu

I got a sample of this tea from a friend in tea, Michal.

The maocha of which this tea has been kept in loose form for several years, it could be why it is so interesting.
Dry leaves show the pressing was not too heavy, leaves are quite large and not broken. The tea iss already fermented a lot, leaves are something between green and reddish-brown.

The aroma of leaves was rather interesting, the basis reminded me of good shu puerh (if something like that exists at all :-)), but someting more was present. A hint of camphor and a bit of aged "green" taste of sheng puerh.

This is how the tea looks like when brewed.

The second photo has been made to capture the very good clarity of the tea. I think it is one of characteristics of a good tea. Not that I would never drink a good tea, clarity of which was low, but these were exceptions really. Unclear broth often suggests bad storage.

Basically, what was in the smell of leaves was in the taste already. At times (mostly in the first several brews), I was not sure whether this is an unusual sheng or a fantastic shu.
The taste is lovely, calm, full-bodied and sweet. No sourness or astringency is present. It is very well aged, no cellar smell, yet it has aged a lot already. Probably the effect of maocha aging in loose forms for several years (By the way, do you find it interesting too, that some loose stored shengs age so badly and some other so well?).
The taste is slightly fruity (like very ripe peaches and plums maybe, a bit of lychee too), a bit of barley, all riding on the thick and sweet layer under it (the layer is quite similar to tender shu).

The aftertaste was not particularly long, but it was definitely nice and the tea had very calm and enjoyable cha qi.

Leaves after I finished drinking the tea. They smelled mostly after very ripe lychee.

It was a very interesting tea to drink. A friend of mine told me that shu-lovers loved it absolutely. I can't say I'd be positively blown away, my preferred tastes are slightly somewhere else. Nevertheless, this is a great tea, very well made, very well stored. Try it if you can.