sobota 25. srpna 2012

2009 LF Blue Label

Today's cake is one "produced" by our local vendor, who, at the prehistoric time of 2009 (from a puerh point of view anyway) was  probably the best way to buy reasonably priced and reasonable high-quality puerh when one did not venture into buying from abroad. Some pink glasses may have been trampled upon since then, but that should not throw darkness at the good quality of Longfeng tea. To clarify the "produced" - it was produced by LF, if you produce tea by letting someone else (AFAIK, Scott of YS) arrange the sourcing of the leaves and the production process, paying for it, but not giving a single word of credit to the person anywhere.

But if we abstract from such problems, the 2009 and 2010 Longfeng productions were generally very good. I bought a tong and a cake as the Purple and Green labels were already sold out, when I got enough money - they were more attractive than the Blue label, I believe. The Red label of 2009 was shu and I did not care about it.

In retrospective, I was lucky. Even though I still enjoyed the pieces of Purple and Green I have had in sealed packages, when, with  teachums, I tasted the Green and Purple aging in whole pieces, I felt they were not as satisfactory as they looked when young. Still very nice teas for the price though. Nevertheless, I can not say I'd think that these two age too awesomely. However - the Blue label, which started quite nasty (Mangfei), gets better and better.

The wet leaves smell quite interesting, like a dark forest and citrus fruit (lemon/limette). The best thing about this is that the aroma of tobacco smoke that I always found in young Mangfei teas (not too much data though), is mostly gone.

Although I often rather agreed with Longfeng on the description of wulong taste, I do not always agree in the world of puerh. Longfeng has a tendency to put so many superlatives (good source of jokes, as these superlatives were often copy-pasted among teas)  that it vexes me. That is not the problem though - the issue is, that even quite hard and aggressive teas are labelled as fruity, floral and all that.

Production notes are: Pchu-er harvested from 80-130 years old wild trees , hand processed by traditional, old ways, exclusively by the company, with kind support of international company of tea lovers ITM. 
... absolutely no mention about who did the work. Even in Czech, it is not clear whether it says that it was hand-produced by the LF company or what, but it does not capture reality in any way. 

Further description (original text is in italic, my notes in bold):
Harvest: Spring 2009, the first harvest of the year
Production: The December of 2009 (first production of the year), traditionally processed by hand, lightly pressed. The pressing is actually not too light, but nevermind.
Mao Cha: Unblended Mao Cha from older, semi-wild tea trees (See? It changed from wild to semi-wild - again - I don't care about this, but it's strange), 100% Mang Fei mountain range.  AFAIK, Mangfei is a mountain, not a range. 100% and unblended is kind of the same - I guess that both is written as it seems good, but I don't see why it should be taken as a positive.
Characteristics: Entirely unbroken leaves of the highest quality, with pleasant, heavier, fruity spicy aroma; the liquor has a very rich, full and entirely characteristic taste, with dominant tone of garden fruit, meadow and tropical flowers and spicy tones. Distinctive character of high quality pchu-erhs of Lin Cang area.
First, there is, in my opinion, nothing like a Lin Cang character - Mengku and Yongde are like night and day, both being in Lincang. You could talk me into believing that aroma description, but the taste? Does it sound like Mangfei? Nope.

The liquor is actually quite consistent with other Mangfei teas I have had, mostly from YS. This means a rather hard taste, quite tobacco-smoky when young. The good thing is that there are only remnants of the smoke (which was already mostly gone in 2010). Now, the taste is what I would call "hard green" - it used to be more brutal though and there are hints of citruses. The taste is not unpleasant, which is good. That is why one may  fully enjoy the genuinely excellent aftertaste, which is long, fresh, fruity (tropical fruit and berries) and purely enjoyable.

The tea has even good mouthfeel (although it diminishes slightly with further brews).

So, there is a tea with reasonable taste, very good aftertaste and a good mouthfeel - and its cost was a touch less than $20 per 200g minicake, which is yields rather reasonable $40 per 400g cake. However, it reasonable today, I'm not sure that it was too cheap in 2009, especially when it is from Mangfei. Still, the transport costs are nontrivial and the tea develops well, so I won't say that it was too expensive. Pity the bloodstained context of this cake...

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