čtvrtek 26. dubna 2012

2011 YS Jinggu mini cake

This little fellow is available at: http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/category.php?id_category=20506203 Even though the material is very nice (visually, at least), these minicakes are quite cheap. Probably a consequence of its low-ish (Jinggu) origin.

I can't help it, but I really like mini cakes. I don't know how they are going to age, but they are so cute and also good for gifting. I bought a tong of these little Jinggu cakes to study the effect of aging in rather lightly pressed minicakes.


I generally use the gaiwan for the first tastings as it makes the analysis of the taste easier. And younger teas actually do taste quite good in the gaiwan. I somehow feel that clay is better suited for darker-than-green teas.

The liquor is nicely yellow, feels very young (well, it is...) and fresh.

The aroma of dry leaves is fresh and grassy, wet leaves smell darker and more complex, unusual.

The taste is more interesting than most Jinggu teas I've met. It is quite far from all the young teas I've had. It consists mainly of ripe fruit (quite unusual in a tea of this age in my opinion); light earthiness (like light ground after spring rain - not the dense aged earthiness), which is quite unusual in puerh in general; and some smoke - clean wood smoke, no unpleasant tobacco, smoked cheese or anything like that. I could live without the smokiness without much trouble, but I do not mind it either.

There are other things going on - there is floralness and spice. Actually, as this tea is really quite different from other teas I have tasted, I have a hard time describing the taste. I still do not feel I have captured all the important aspects. Well, anyway, it is quite enjoyable which is enough for me.

The tea is nicely thick and feels very good on tongue. It is quite calming and does not upset stomach, even though the tea is young. It has good stamina.

I am happy that I bought a tong of these minicakes - I don't meet that many teas whose taste is new to me. And I feel that this tea is not only beautiful, but quite good for drinking too, even this young.

14 komentářů:

  1. Wow - looks so good, and price is - in my opinion - low. Maybe I order tong too. Thanks for review!

  2. Hello Tomáš,
    if you're from Prague (or willing to pay the post) I can send you a cake for the price I bought it...

  3. Jinggu teas don't age well, you should probably avoid it

  4. Hello MarshalN,
    well, I think that Jinggu is not much good in general. The best teas from the area were "good", but nothing spectacular. I bought the tong of these with the purpose of gifting some five of them and keeping the other two for aging. I do not expect them to become magnificent, but I want simply to observe how they age (e.g., to know that someone is trying to rip me off saying that a 5 years old Jinggu is 10 years old).

    Thanks for the insight though! Have you had any really good tea from Jinggu?

  5. No, and they don't age well, meaning they get worse over time, generally speaking. I find money is better spent on almost anything else than Jinggu teas. You should drink them now.

  6. I kept reminding myself that I should reply here, and after seeing MarshalN's latest reply on the 96/97 Menghai teas, so here goes...

    1) Based on my experience, of course, dominated by XZH, I strongly dispute MarshalN's characterization of Jing Gu teas. Virtually every XZH tea that I own outright is ageing quite well. Maybe it could be said that the Huangshanlin is a bit awkward tasting now, but potency and qi are still there. More than that, they are decisively better aging than any 2007-2009 premium Yiwu (XZH and others) I've ever had, for example. Perhaps MarshalN might still disagree with me, but I can point to many people's love of various Changtai Kuzhushan products from years past--just check Hobbe's reviews of the Jinzhushans. Jing Gu teas can and do age well.

    2) If anything, I'd twist MarshalN's words and say that Lincang teas do not age into interesting products, by and large. Mengku teas just get more mellow and sweeter, if dry stored, and if wet stored, they start tasting like bark and peat in not very interesting ways. Certain products from Da Xue Shan are the only aged lincang teas I've had that truly got more interesting with firmer wood notes.

    Let's not get into how Jingmai teas tend to bland out and lose a bit of qi for awhile.

    3) Of course, yes, for serious aging, you generally want Banna tea. Good luck on buying anything decent in quantity.

  7. shah: I think that in almost any rules, there are exceptions. Sadly, I'm not familiar with the good Jinggu teas you mention. Wouldn't you like to swap some samples in future? Among others, I think I could get a Bulang 2003 which I consider to be even better than the 2003 Bulang Jingpin from Houde, which you have (rightfully) praised somewhere...

    To support your statement, the 2003 Bailong Te Ji is pretty good from Jinggu. On the other hand (to support MarshalN's statement), most 2005-2007 Jinggu teas I have tried were not aging well at all.

    ad 2) I think that some of Xiaguan Jia jis are aging quite satisfactorily and they come from Lincang. Also, I thought there was a portion of Lincang in 7542 recipe.

    ad 3) Indeed :) When it is good, it is good, however, it is seldom the case.


  8. Given what the prices for the teas I bought looks like, on the Sanhetang website, I'm feeling like I should leave them alone. I ravaged my Puzheng bing before I realized I couldn't buy another one. I only have a tiny bit of gift set jing gu left that isn't tradeworthy. If I trade anything it'd only be the Xishangmeishao, maybe. You'd also probably have to pay shipping both ways.

    What JingGu teas from 2005-2007 have you tried? I did not see anything on your sorted tea list, and frankly, there were not too many good JingGu made then...Some of those groves in Xiao JingGu was only discovered in around 2004. However, please don't tell me Hai Lang Hao. Aaaaanyways, as far as I can tell, the primary issue is that there just never was a great deal of good JingGu teas available because the old groves were smaller than elsewheres.

  9. What 2003 Bulang? I'm cautious about it because there are tons of not-so-great early Bulangs out there that is touted as good. In practice, 2003-ish was the first year there really was a significant amount of old tree Bulang cakes out there. Even so, that Jipin has its controversy, the Changtai has a bagajillion variants (some of them aren't good), and looking out in the landscape, there really does not seem to be too many truly awesome attempts at old tree (not the eco-stuff from GuangBien and its environs in the northern half of the mountain) out there. I've had the Jipin quite a few times under different circumstances, and I have a pretty firm understanding of why it's good and a reasonably firm understanding of how hard it would be to best that. People really didn't get around to the southern half of Bulang until LBZ and gushu GuangBien got totally priced out of reach in 2007. At least, that's what I make of it. You see some crude efforts, like the Agu Zhai that YS offered and getting mixed reviewed on blogs and forums. You also see some not very good attempts in 2009, like poorly processed, but good leaf 200g Bulangs, or the 2009 Lao Man'E you've just had, all from YS. I hated that YS '10 Bulang. EoT Mansai '10 is lacking in potency. The difficulties go on, and I talk about South Bulang, from Lao Man'E on down, because that's where more old groves are. GBLZ is tiny. Banzhang is pretty large, and that's largly it as for as North Bulang, and back in 2003ish, tea traders stayed pretty close to the main roads, which is why you see so many Youle and Nannuo back then. When it came to Bulang, people largely went for the eco-tea areas established near other groves in the north, near Menghai. Those Bok Choys are mostly not old tree Banzhang, for example.

  10. Xiaguan does not source tea regularly from Lincang. The bulk of their material comes from the Dali and Baoshan areas, and when they went roaming, they'd be just as likely to go to Wuliang as they would Lincang. Lincang was largely dominated by a set of long term tea companies that have been around for awhile.

    7542 is a recipe based on leaf grade, and Dayi does not source very much outside of Banna. 7542 is probably mostly a blend of Bada and Bulang plantation (my guess). If they did use Lincang, the XZH 7542 wouldn't taste as weird as it does for people used to the standard.

    That's why one can't be religious about what area ages best. You just have to get the best you can get, and a good jinggu most certainly is better than bad bulang 7 years down the road. XZH '06 fall GBLZ maocha I've had is certainly not a better tea than any of their '07 JingGu area teas. XZH Yiwu '07 is not better than any of the same year JingGu except, MAYBE, for the JingGu Nu'ercha. Not better, as in they taste better, today, after 5-6 years of aging. It would be better to get a good Banna--on a good day, I'm quite happy with my Youle, and I have a strong feeling of assurance, given my tasting of older Youle, that there is better to come. However, Youle consists of *one* good ancient tree plantation. The good stuff is gone lightning quick, and you see premium makers trying to sell you some dark, bitter, and tobaccoey Manzhaun with little qi instead. Or people offering Yiwu from ever more marginal and exotic areas. I used to think it was easy to get a good Bulang, cheap. So what I have now, even if my fortunes change for the better, are (at this point in vision) likely the best I could ever afford. We can't actually afford to look down on Jiangchen tea anymores!!!

  11. Hello shah, thanks for such a comprehensive reply! I'll try not to omit anything in my reply.

    Ad the Sanhetangs - no problem! I would not ask such a thing if I knew they were too expensive, of course.

    The Jinggus...they were sadly all before I started blogging (in my attempts to buy "all of a region" to get to know various puerh growing areas). There was the HLH, I believe, also White Dragon and some samples directly from Jinggu TF - these had, if I remember it well, confused names, but none of them was too memorable...

    The Bulang is the one I recently posted about. I don't know anything about it really. If I manage to get it, I'll be glad to send you a piece.

    You're right about Xiaguan, sorry, I confused Golden ribbon with Jia Ji, silly me.

    I thought that 7542 is a recipe with given parameters (other producers borrowing the name, true, but did Dayi give them the components of the recipe?). I were always perplexed at how come non-menghai TF produce 7542s - their recipe has not started in 75 and their "factory"'s name is hardly 2. Ok, if they know what is grade 4, they may do that, at least. And I think it unlikely that XZH or Puerhshop would write to Dayi for a recipe and they would actually get it - as well as the material for these blends.

  12. A great deal of Jinggu tea is made with tea originally meant for green tea. There is also a varietal meant for white tea. They are both often used in low end puerh production. This doesn't mean that JingGu is all of a sudden *great* at aging if you get the top top stuff--they're not. Jinggu, Mengku, these teas age into flat, calm, tea without a great deal of dark depth (unless wet stored), which generally requires a certain kind of mood to drink or you're bored. People have actually found Jinggu loose maocha from the 90's and gotten good tea from that, though.

    To be quite sure, Xizihao tea is just tea.

    Haiwan has something of a house taste, and really, those guys are better for shu. Be interesting if it's just some random white paper. When those are good, they can be quite good for the money.

    Haiwan, Changtai, Fuhai all made 7542/32-ish blends, and there are notably good examples, especially from Fuhai. As with XZH using their leftover lancang leaves for their take, the others use entirely different plantations to blend...Haiwan--around Menghai, Fuhai does a lot with Mengla county plantations. No, nobody's going to use some wierdo numbering set (other than Changtai), when there's a nicely nontrademarked item with ultimately very liberal boundaries to its meaning.

    Ah, I keep meaning to tell you...


    is a cake that I strongly suspect you'll enjoy having, given what I read.

    finepuer has plenty of nice other items that aren't listed. Ask for their 2008 Ding Jia Zhai and 2005 fall white paper LBZ. The yiwu is kinda expensive for what it is, but the LBZ is not, and both are quite pleasant, and both offer what you seem to want, anyways.

  13. shah: You really should have not shown me finepuer website... Bye bye, money, it seems :) Good, I'm starting to run out of samples...

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