neděle 29. ledna 2012

5000 milestone reached!

Dear readers,
today is the day when the number of page loads has reached the number of 5000. I did not expect that only a half a year after starting this little tea notebook, there would be so many readers! And that I would discover so many other blogs which gave me such enjoyment when I read through them.

When reading posts like this one, I've often noticed that the writer thanks his readers. I thought - why? They come at their own will, it is not a service to the writer. However, now, when writing this, I feel a compulsion to thank you. So... thank you!

Even without readers, writing notes on teas would prove helpful to myself. Nevertheless, knowing that several more people are reading them makes writing them even more interesting.

I know that many things can be improved about my notes. I hope the improvement will come naturally. That's the way things go when one enjoys what he is doing. Learning by doing and all that... Anyway, if you still felt like you wanted to give me a hint what to improve, please, do so!

Right ho, the lake of sentiment has dried out, let's go to statistics!

Where are my readers from?
About 40% from Czech Republic, then USA, Russia (quite a surprise to me) and Slovenia. Generally, it is 50% Czechoslovakia, 50% rest of the world. The trend is that more and more foreign readers are joining.

From the other end - thank you, readers from Lithuania, Singapore, Poland and Sweden, I hold you in great esteem too!

What is the dominant OS?
Windows clearly in the lead (78%), followed by Macintosh with 14%. Linux has 2%, most of the linux users come from Czech Republic.

Even though I come from computer science area myself, I am a rather proud-ish Windows user, thinking that even though being criticized, it is still a very fine piece of software and Windows 7 show that Microsoft is learning from its mistakes. Powershell is pretty good thing, isn't it?

What is the dominant browser?
Firefox leads clearly, having 31%. Internet Explorer has 21%, Google Chrome has 18%, Opera has 14%, Safari 12%. The trend clearly shows that Chrome is on its rise. In the last month, it has reached 27%, which is mighty rise.

On the other side of the field - there are browsers named Maxthon, Gran Paradiso or Iron I've never heard before. Iron sounds like the browser for women...

I myself used to like Firefox too, then got annoyed with it being such a memory hog and realizing that I am not using any of gadgets I added to it. Now, google Chrome is my instrument of choice. Generally, browsers are becoming better and better - whenever I had to work with any of the three leading browsers, I felt no trouble (even with the ever-hated IE! - most of its critics I've met still point to bugs of IE6, which is a bit out of date).

What has been the most read article?
Jinuoshan You Le 2004
And well deserved that is!

Thanks, good night! See you again at 25000.

Not impressed 1

Just as negative advertisement is an advertisement, negative experience is also an experience.

After finishing the mighty excellent 2005 Fu Cha Ju Jingmai with tea flowers, I started drinking through the rest of my samples which did not captivate me and thought I'd give them a few lines here. This article will be updated periodically, when it is too large, another Not impressed thread will be created.

2009 Guan Zi Zai Zao Chun Yi Wu
The aroma of the liquor was appaling, rather than appealing, being quite hard. However, the taste was pleasant for first three brews. A variant of generic good Yi Wu, a pleasant change from my usual Purple Yi Wu orgies. The problem occured with fourth brew and the brews  that followed it. The taste took an invisibility (or rather intastibility) cloak probably. This happened to me on all three tasting occasions. First three brews are pleasant, strong enough - maybe nothing to write home about, but at $20, it would be a decent tea. However, the disappearance of the taste in further brews prevents me from saying this tea is good. Maybe it will gain some strength in further years... In the plethora of cakes which are no "maybe", not good enough.

2010 Hai Lang Hao Qi Lin Jun Xiu 
This felt rather too roasted to my taste. The orange liquor raised my suspicion, confirmed by the roastiness in the first three brews. The tea gradually changed into something nice, fruity, Yi-Wu thing, it is not bad for immediate drinking (on the other hand, it is a bit expensive for what it provides). I am not sure how it is going to age though. I guess we'll have to wait some years before we see where the pre-oxidized cakes head. The stamina of this one was not exceptional, rather low I dare say.

2011 YS Ba Da
The tea is rather faithful to the description on Yunnan sourcing website. Indeed, hints of tobacco and pines are present. It is notably grassy, even more than I'm used to in young sheng. It is generally lighter in profile, gently sweet. I believe that that is the reason why I enjoyed it. I'm not really into tobacco shengpu, I prefer fruitier things; this cake had little to offer in this way. Still, although this is not exactly my cup of tea, a nice production still.

úterý 24. ledna 2012

2005 Fu Cha Ju Jing Mai with tea flowers

The happy part of you may have met this cake when it was available at Yunnan Sourcing about two years ago. It has long since disappeared (as well as the rest of Fu Cha Ju things :( ). However, it has appeared in Chawangshop. It is one of their most expensive pieces, costing $46; on the other hand, when one looks at the cost of premium new cakes...

To the tea purists who want to murder anyone who would dare to put tea flowers (blossoms) into tea, ruining it: Don't murder anyone. I have tasted 2005 Fu Cha Ju Jingmai with and without the tea flowers and the experience was basically the same. Both cakes are predominantly flowery, fruity and honey-like, the one with flowers has these features even more powerfully developed, but the difference is not large.

Dry leaves are whole, clean, shiny, looking healthy. 

The aroma of wet leaves is crazily pleasant - when had the tea yesterday, I sniffed it for several minutes, warming the pot from time to time. Very complex and fruity. When smelling (and drinking) this tea, one wonders how nature does these things...
Wet leaves are mighty thick, fleshy, looking great.

The tea liquor is also very nice, the color is proper, it is clear and pure as the mirror of Galadriel.

And the taste is definitely yummy. It is powerful, flowery and fruity (apples, peaches, nuts? Feels like stuff from our garden generally...) riding on honey sweetness. Very complex and harmonized. Also noticeably darker than when I had it in 2010 for the first time. The aftertaste is long and good, hui gan plentiful.

This tea reminds me that I'm getting older... When mind-wandering, I thought "hmm, it is dark, considering it is only two or three years old". When I realized that the time has advanced a bit since I started drinking more of it really so many years? Now, this cake is seven years old, which puts naturally where I felt it was. 

It is a strong tea, packed with taste. This is, of course, a very positive feature (I was regularily making 15-20 brews of it), however it is easy to oversteep this tea. I was surprised when it first happened - I wondered what happened to that sweet, harmonic, easy-going tea when I got thick nostrum bitter as hell. Or two hells rather. 

Nevertheless, when brewed all right, it is just so good and pleasant. One of the best cakes I've encountered.
This is the last I have of it...

sobota 21. ledna 2012

1992 Da Ye loose leaf sheng

This is the first of samples from Essence of tea I'd like to write about. As I succeeded in the exam from computational complexity theory yesterday, I decided I'd taste it again today and write about it to reward myself.

I quite like the descriptions on Essence of tea website... not boasting, letting one form his opinion himself. I guess that the owner knows that when one is good in what he does, he does not have to boast.

Interesting tea deserves good water, a unit of charcoal was mustered. Will have to buy more soon...

Now, dry leaves...

I find them quite beautiful, healthy. Big (one would expect that of Da Ye, wouldn't he?). They release a pleasant, dry, aged aroma.

The water is boiling, sings the kettle...

Wet leaves in the pot smell rather like shu puerh, more clean and "real" though. Could be just my imagination.

The color of the liquor is similar to aged wine in a way. Older wine is not as red as young, having a sort of brownish tint. Approaching this from the other side, this tea is brown with a reddish tint. 

The taste is clean and pleasant, but hardly surprising or mind-blowing. What came to my mind first was "shupu". It tasted according to what I felt I could feel in it... when I thought of dried apricots, I could sort of find them there. Also, in some brews, very  slight fishiness was present (carp, to be exact).
Having a look at wet leaves clearly shows this is no shu. Actually, the mouthfeel and energy of the tea suggest the same thing. The tea feels thick, cools the mouth and sends small "sparks" around. It may be just my imagination, but it also felt more "natural" than shu. 

As has been said many times before, old tea is not always drank for the taste (it would be crazily expensive for that). The energy of the tea is very important too. This tea has pleasant, quiet cha qi. I generally believe that a lot of calming down and feeling good is caused by calm preparations and enjoyment of tea (furthermore, with older teas, one could have tendency to be wow-ed by the experience of drinking something of such age). I can not say that this tea  would affect me so much more than other sheng from 2001-2004. But it is quieter, no rowdydow bitterness or anything notably powerful is in it. Balance and peace, it is.

The unknown amout of leaves I used (5-8g) lasted more than a litre of water, still being enjoyable.

Wet leaves confirm that leaves probably come from several sources, not being  too homogenous. I liked how firm and healthy they still were, not being disintegrated by being rubbed a bit.

Were this tea sold as the biggest speciality in the world, for crazy money, I would have thought "all right, interesting, but not for me". As it is so cheap, I think it is very nice tea to be had more frequently. Although I do not need the kind of feeling it gives (and younger tea does not) too often, it is very pleasant from time to time.

středa 11. ledna 2012

2003 Yong Pin Hao Yin Hao Tuocha

The detested time of year is closing by: exam time. It means there will be less tea notes as my stomach is quite powerfully upset when  I have exams. Generally, I'm happy enough when I am able to get to school to take the exam, therefore the art of tea is somewhat neglected. It also means that my  mind starts being confused (it is being confused since I was born, to be honest) and when I think that this has been a productive month from point of view of writing, it immediately comes to my mind, whether it was also creative... funny thing these creative and productive sets. Computability theory rocks. Though not as "primitively useful" as mathematical analysis, it is beautiful and makes one understand a lot of things about math and algorithms. 

As most readers probably are not interested in creative and productive sets, let us move to something generally more pleasant: 2003 Yong Pin Hao Tuocha, which may be bought at $11 in the great Yunnan Sourcing store:

How does it look? Very nice!

It is brown-grey-ish, no signs of green really.

The tuo is rather lightly pressend and feels very dry. It goes apart easily, sometimes breaking almost too much. But breaking this one into pieces is way better than doing the same thing with younger Xiaguan tuos which now reach between 11 and 12 on Mohs scale of hardness.

The aroma of dry leaves is soft, sweet and aged. 
Rinsed leaves are also sweet and aged. Soothing and pleasant. Not overly complex or surprising.

The taste is, as one could expect, sweet and aged :) Actually, in the "main" taste, there is not much beside the agedness. This alone, balanced and good, would make me feel "this is a nice little tuocha". However, in the aftertaste, something like roasted hazelnuts appears, making the aftertaste more interesting and enjoyable.

The energy of the tea does not feel too poweful. It is as it was sleeping.

Probably the lack of characteristic Cha Qi and the overally very smooth and "ordinary", inoffensive taste profile, make me feel that this is a nice drink, but not really mind-blowing all-around. This is not to say I did not enjoy it when I was drinking it - I did enjoy it on all occasions. 

pondělí 9. ledna 2012

On the art of sniffing

Yesterday's night

It's after midnight. Steam is rising from my trusted cracked gaiwan and the aroma of ancient tree Haiwan Pa Sha lingers in the air (surprisingy, as it ages, it resembles ancient tree cakes I've had more and more - which is kind of unexpected given the - under circumstances - low price). I'm reading some of excellent Musings of Half Diper, feeling guilty reading of how it is not too good to drink tea in the afternoon... Well, midnight is not afternoon, right? Oll korrekt, bad excuse.

However, the aroma reminds me of one thing - my posts may not reflect it, but my appreciation of tea aroma has rapidly increased in last few months. Litres of tea consumed and late hours make me overcome my usual reason for not writing - "who gives a damn about that"... so here is more:

Of course, as one drinks through masses of various samples/cakes/bricks/things, his appreciation of various aspects rises ultimately (actually, this may have an honest neurobiological basis). But I concentrate on the aroma more I would say. Why is that? It is just so pleasant. And it helps me to understand what I am drinking better.

One of less poetic points of view on tea is a table of temperatures and substances being released (and tasted). It is a rather primitive approximation - more dimensions are to it - water composition for example. Or the brewing method. Well, anyway, every time I drink a tea, I am not feeling all of its components. Some of them were not extracted to the taste. However - they are often extracted to the aroma. The aroma often suggests how the tea may taste. When I smell something lovely, but it just is not present in the taste, I know that I may be doing something wrong and local search may be applied to the tea's brewing method, trying to match the aroma with taste.

Then there is the aroma of dry leaves. I must admit that it mostly tells me very little. It mostly tells about a tea's past - how it was stored, how fresh it feels, etc.

Or the aroma of wet leaves. This is my favourite now. I often enjoy it as much as drinking the tea itself. I use the following "technique" to enjoy it best. Instead of simple inhalation, I sometimes blow gently into the teapot for a fraction of second, inhaling right after - feeling the "stirred" aroma. Theoretically, it could cool the pot too much, but I have not found any negative sides to it. I may enjoy more concentrated aroma. However, one could get burned inside the nose if he blowed too close to the opening of teapot or blowed too hard. When done right, it is a pleaasure. I'm often sniffing the aroma for a half-minute, feeling like floating on the waves of  the tea's character for eternity, flying to a bamboo pavilion in some chinese tea garden in a parallel universe.

The aroma of wet leaves tells about the tea's current state - whether its tastes are in harmony, for example. It tells how the tea may (or may not) taste, when brewed differently. It often gave me a hint when I should use boiling water or sub-boiling instead (actually, contrary to the past, I don't pay that much attention to exact temperature, the thermometer I used to use five years ago collects dust).

I found that there are two kinds (at least!) of sweetness affected by water temperature. The sweetness of lower-temperature water brewing is well known. However, some sheng pieces I've had were dull,  harsh and empty when boiled with 90°C, but sweet and full when brewed with boiling water. This is where the aroma comes into play. When I feel that the taste is dull and harsh and the aroma is too, then, most often, it is a bad tea. However, at times, the aroma is right, it just is not reflected by the taste. That's the time when I know I should use warmer water. Or use different kind of water altogether.

The aroma of wet leaves helps to determine the age of trees from which the leaves come. I can not express the difference with words... But when one smells a lot of tea from younger trees and  a lot of tea from old trees, he finds that there is something the young tea just does not have and vice versa. The ability to (partly) determine the age of tea is nothing mythical... just collect enough data and it is obvious then.

The aroma may suggest the future of a tea too. For example the aroma left in drinking cups. I've had bitter, young teas which, after emptying the drinking cup, left a sort of sticky sweetness behind. Some similarly tasting young bitter teas did not. It is a coincidence, that the first kind eventually became sweet, while the other became more dry and woody? I don't think so.

That is all I wanted to say today. I can not provide "Learn to enjoy and use the tea aroma in 21 days" walkthrough. But I can definitely say it's fun to dig inside the aroma a bit!

neděle 8. ledna 2012

2009 YS Road to Yi Wu: Man Zhuan

Interesting sky we had here yesterday. Wind screaming, clouds flying (and making photos blurred) around like witches on brooms - sounds like just the time to drink some tea, doesn't it?

I have picked one of samples from Yunnan Sourcing: Road to Yi Wu - the Man Zhuan version. I have not found any notes of fellow bloggers, why is that? 

...I'll answer it myself - because I haven't looked well enough!
Reading through the post of Hobbes I feel that I should have mentioned certain vegetalness - which is much less annoying than when I tried this tea in 2010, but is still present. 

 When released from the small container I use to give compressed samples invigorating breathing, it was very aromatic and fresh for Yi Wu material.

I found dry leaves quite beautiful, furry. They are darker than when I tasted the tea first (in 2010).

I was unaware of the price when tasting the tea, but the aroma and first sips screamed "I'm a special tea". They did not scream "I am worth that $169" like Yong Pin Hao 2001 which is sadly not available anymore did. However, after drinking several dozens of smooth, thick, sweet, x*chocolaty + (1-x)*fruity, Yi Wu cakes in last months, this one was pleasantly different.

The Yi Wu character is present, it feels like more things than usual are happening in it. It is generally balanced (not overwhelmingy chocolate-like or something like that), still keeping some of its original freshness. It is slightly grainy, slightly fruity, slightly nutty, slightly cocoa... and heavily bitter. I have never had a Yi Wu tea this bitter. On one hand, it made drinking this tea not so calming and easily pleasant as other "smoother" Yi Wu cakes, on the other hand, I believe it may age differently and maybe more interestingly. As opposed to the first tasting, I noticed that the dark malty sweetness I like started developing here. If this becomes more pronounced with age, this cake could be really lovely.

I tried brewing this tea in several ways, but the bitterness was always present. It is not ugly, stomach-upsetting bitterness, it feels like wild tree bitterness, sort of silky, but it did not transform into sweetness really.

I don't think that this tea is too good for immediate consumption, too expensive and bitter for that. However, older and wilder tea-tree cakes (which this one is) age differently than "usual" cakes and they offer an experience unobtainable otherwise.

Wet leaves (from "competition style brewing" of today) are rather thick and unevenly colored.

I'm not sure whether I'll be buying more. In no tasting of it, I felt like wanting to have and drink. However, I'd very much like to know how it is going to age as I believe it will age very nicely.

pátek 6. ledna 2012

Several pieces from Chawangshop

After several good-to-very-good cakes from Chawangshop, I suppose it is only fair to make few notes about cakes/bricks which were not overly interesting or which I did not enjoy. I should note that I have particular problem with wet stored sheng - some of the "too wet for me" may be perfectly enjoyable for others...

Yaga on my old tea tray does not like wet stored cakes either (however, she obviously enjoys young Yi Wu tea - I once went away from tea tray and when I came back, my tea was gone).

2003 You Le Round Cake:

This is probably as wet as a cake may get and still be enjoyed by me. The Xishuanbanna experience is obvious here. However, several years in dry environment were quite helpful. Due to fast aging, the cake is already very smooth, sweet, not hollow or boring. And, which is particularly important to me, it still may be guessed that it comes from Youle - the character is present. Wetter storage is noticeable, but not particularly unpleasant - I am just much more used to more drily stored tea. I'd say this tea is very enjoyable, given the price, but as I have/may buy better You Le, I won't be buying more of this.

2004 Man Zhuan Chawang
This is a very solid Yi Wu cake. However, given the price, I would expect slightly more. It is one of few pre-2005 Yi Wu cakes I've had which has kept its original character. It tastes like forest fruit and honey - it is generally rather good. Certain younger cakes (YS Purple Yi Wu, some Yong Pin Hao) offer similar character for less money though. This one offers more punchy mouthfeel maybe. First few years of wetter storage have kicked this cake in a pleasant direction.

2003 Jinggu Bai Long Jia Ji
This is a solid, hearty cake. It is still too young, needs more time. It has strenght, it is bitter, I failed to find any really pleasant aspects of it... It is too different from 2003 Jinggu Bai Long Te Ji to be compared.

2002 Yi Bang Chawang
This one is not available anymore. Too wet for me, I can drink it, but not enjoy it really. However, it is definitely a matter of preference - a friend of mine who is more used to wetter-stored tea said he did enjoy this very much.

2002 Mengma
This is a very unusual tea. It is probably more smoky than smoking smoke elemental. Too much for me, it made my stomach quite upset. I think this is love/hate thingy - it is definitely interesting and powerful, no wetness present, but we did not harmonize really...

2003 Mangsi Delan
Too wet... Several rinses did help to make it almost drinkable. It tastes like muddy forest floor. If it was a bit cleaner, it would be good; I have to wait and air it out. Sadly, I don't feel like chewing humus right now.

1999 Menghai 
I'll probably sound like nothing is good enough for me... but this is too drily stored for me. However, a lot of original character is still present. The material is obviously not bad (it would not get to the current stage otherwise). It is just not interesting enough. Yet... The price is very low for tea of such age. Since my experience with such a dry tea is very limited, I am unable of telling whether this is really 99 tea or younger.

2002 Gedeng Chawang Yuan
Although also a bit wetter than I'd prefer, shicang is not overwhelming, from 3rd or so brew, the tea is rather interesting and pleasant. Easily drinkable, nice enough mouthfeel.

čtvrtek 5. ledna 2012

2005 Menghai Gu Cha

Another pleasant surprise from Chawangshop. Now, I wouldn't like to give the impression that everything I've had from Chawang is great - some older teas were a bit too wet to my taste. Some were not that interesting. Nevertheless, many of them are very good. This one is available at:

This cake is interesting in three ways:
a) It is a blend. A very well harmonized blend. It seems to me that a lot of fancy new production is single-mountain. Although I enjoy drinking these single-area cakes to find out about tastes of various regions, they mostly have weaknesses - and good blends are able to fix these.
b) It is Kunming-stored, yet nicely aging. Certain Kunming stored teas were too dry. This one is very nice.
c) It is very cheap ($14 per 400g cake).

Let's start with dry leaves and liquor:

It was rather a dark day. The liquor is very pleasant, honey-like colored, has a good spark.

Dry leaves smell grassy. When I first tried the tea, I though "Ok, $14, will be an universal Menghai thing, booooring, Sidney". Leaves after rinsing were entirely different. A bit of grass is still present, but the aroma is very sweet, complex, like fine at-least-a-bit-aged Bu Lang. Not at all universal Menghai.

The taste is lovely and you can still more or less tell which part is Bu Lang (dark, sweet, woody) and which is Jingmai (flowery, nutty). I dare say that in this case, the tea is more than just sum of its parts.
In general, it is pleasantly dark-ish, sort of sweet, woody/flowery, darker honey, with slightly bitter, long enough aftertaste (Jingmai is more present there). The cooling feeling which I enjoy is present. Later infusions are becoming lighter, more nutty and honey-like. Definitely enjoyable.

After the powerful sweetness of aroma, I'd prefer more sweetness in taste actually, but a) this may (I think it will) come with age, b) this cake is cheap, I can't expect it to match $200 cakes. At the current time, after the smelling the aroma (which is awesome), the taste could feel a little underwhelming.If I did not smell the wet leaves though, it would have felt overwhelming.

The slight bitterness, while perfectly acceptable in such a young tea also prevents this tea from being truly great.

Anyway, these two minor flaws did not convince me out of buying more and two tongs will be departing to daddy soon... I'm looking forward to drinking this in 5 years.

úterý 3. ledna 2012

2008 Yong Pin Hao Yi Wu Zheng Shan Zhao Chun

Let me introduce two new friends of mine:

When I realized that 50% of the tea I drink is Yi Wu, I thought the time for a new teapot has came. Drinking weaker tea, I realized that having one sheng pot and drinking Yi Wu mostly is like having unbalanced data given to a neural network - the Yi Wu dominated too much at times.

Today's tea is one of generously-sized samples from Chawangshop which stocks many rather cheap Yong Pin Hao cakes. This particular one may be bought at: The price is very modest ($18,8 per 400g).
My experience with YPH is somewhat mixed. His 2001 YWZS Ancient Arbor (less then a cake is available at Yunnan Sourcing) is a grand tea in my opinion. The price reflects it, sadly. Some of his other more expensive ($40) cakes I tried were very well made, but not particularly captivating. I enjoyed drinking them but I felt no compulsion to buy more. This cake is rather similar. However, it costs less than half.

Let us have a closer look at dry leaves:

I like their appearance. They are shiny, furry, they pleasantly smell of cocoa. After being rinsed, the aroma becomes wider, more complex. The best description I can give is that rinsed leaves smell of dried bayberries (yangmei), which sadly did not win the last year's contest of best known fruit. Shortly said, it is very typical Yi Wu with less fruit, more cocoa and leather.

The taste reflects the aroma rather accurately. First brews are sweet, full, cocoa is dominant, a bit of bayberries, honey, flowers. The tea gradually becomes more leathery, fleshy and honey-like. The aftertaste is not particularly breathtaking, but it is sufficient. The liquor is clear, good looking, even inspection of wet leaves shows no unwanted overprocessing.

I think this tea is more or less very well produced and typical Yi Wu. It is more chocolate/cocoa-like than most I've drank. Good for more frequent drinking, I found no more obvious flaws, on the other hand, I did not find anything particularly interesting (but it may be just me, I feel like that about most YPH cakes/Maocha). The price is sound - a fine cake I'd say.

neděle 1. ledna 2012

2003 Jinggu Bai Long Organic Te Ji

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".

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.