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.

6 komentářů:

  1. I have not found any notes of fellow bloggers, why is that?


    I recall not liking this one too much. Scott's cakes have come on a lot since this one, I think.

    Your photography is excellent - thanks for the great article!



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  3. Hi!
    So sorry, I googled and searched for Road to Yi Wu and your post escaped me entirely :( Thanks for the update.

    Yes, it seems that we're rather in agreement - maybe different words, but when I've read your description, I felt like "yes, we're talking about the same thing".

    I think that often, when I taste vectors over time are taken (e.g., taste_1(2010) being bitterness in 2010, taste_2(2010) sweetness,...), then taste(2010)-taste(2011) is a good hint for further aging and I really liked how this cake changed from rather unpleasant (2010 tasting) to the current "still not too pleasant, but rather promising" - if this goes on, it may be great after some years. Now I'm pondering whether "may" is worth $65 :)

    I think that part of the problem may be the raw material (e.g., this taste being a feature, not a bug) - I haven't had really pleasant cake from old, wild trees, younger than 5 years.
    Have a nice day!

  4. I agree with Mr. Hobbes up there - outstanding photography. Just out of curiosity, what parameters did you use to brew this? For example, steep times per infusion, water temperatures, etc.

  5. Hello Centranthus,
    thanks a lot, I'm glad you like the photo.

    What got me there - I can't tell for sure as I don't measure it. I have no clue how I brewed it in 2010. Now, it was in 120ml yixing teapot, I guess that 90-95°C water; the first time in 2012, it could be something like 7-8 grams, 15/5/5/5/10/15/... - the compression is not that low so I had the first brew longer. Then there was that bitterness so I kept them shorter. Two days ago, I kept it even shorter I think, trying to balance the bitterness and hollowness which was present when the steeping was too short. I tried cooler water too, but it was not too good either. And the last session with it was 2 grams into gaiwan and 2/2/3 minute steepings. Hope it answers your question!

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