pondělí 27. srpna 2012

Not Impressed 2

Some not-that-interesting teas have accumulated here again, so let us give them a few lines:

2005 Changtai Ji Bing Jingmai (via Hster)
Jingmai is one of my most favourite regions and my experience with Changtai was very good so far. However, this Jingmai does not have nearly as much Jingmai character as I would like. It tastes more like a blend of Jingmai with universal Menghai. Nothing wrong about that, it is still gently pleasant of course, but it is nothing spectacular.

When brewed tester-style, much better mouthfeel appears (how come?) and I find it an enjoyable, gentle drink.

2009 Yunnan Sourcing Lao Man'E (YS, via Hster)
There is not much wrong with this tea really (except the Lao Man'E persistent bitterness which I do not like), I just don't see much good about it either. The taste is rather dry, bitter, with a pleasant bit of grain, but the sweetness often complementing it does not show up. 

The tea produces taste for many brews, but from a certain point, there is only bitterness left really. Better water could improve this I guess.

It looks nice, smells allright, but I'm afraid that it is too much Lao Man'E-ish for me to enjoy. Nevertheless, I like it better than, e.g., HLH's Lao Man'E/Banzhang. On the other hand, Tea Urchin's Four Peaks Lao Man'E brought me more enjoyment for less money.

2011 Tea Urchin's Mangzhi (Tea urchin, via Hobbes)
Although the tea has reasonable sweetness and is quite mouth watering, I just could not get by its soapiness. Hobbes did not mind it, I do, however. I feel like I was drinking the water from a washing machine.

Although I did not plan pushing the tea too hard on either occasion, it went dead more early anyway. When the tea was alive, there was good mouthfeel.

2012 Essence of Tea Qi Sheng Gu (EoT)
I wonder where this tea is going to go. First, I also thought it was not too interesting, but an interesting taste developed in the usual fresh sour-ish greeniness of young puerh - underripe apricots! Just a hint, maybe, but once I named it, I found it there consistently. However, I'm afraid that it is too much a part of the greeniness and so it may age away. Other than this, I felt like drinking a rather ordinary young puerh. Of course, ordinary good puerh, one does not expect small producers creating truly mainstream tea.

As a sidenote, the leaves looked very healthy compared to, e.g., 2012 EoT Bulang.

7 komentářů:

  1. from reading your blog it seems to me that while drinking teas you look for there faults. You might want to instead focus on what you like about a tea. It might might youre tea drinking more enjoyable and your blog less of a downer.

  2. Jakub-

    That there Changtai Jingmai bing was $11.50 in 2006. I challenge you to find something as good for that price now!


  3. hster: I think that these days, there is the habit of saying "Challenge accepted", often accompained by the memeface. However, I must refuse the challenge :) These days, puerh is just so much more expensive...

    Anonymous: There are two different things - what I'm looking for when >>drinking<< tea and when >>writing about<< tea. In the first case, I try to enjoy it as much as I can. In the second however, I try to look for faults too. There are several small reasons why I do that:
    - I want to orientate in teas using my notes. That means knowing not only the goods about a tea, but the bads too.
    - There is a lot of blogs about tea, yet relatively few which concentrate on negatives of teas in good detail.
    - Knowing negatives of tea, one takes lack of such negatives as a positive in other teas, which makes the enjoyment of other teas higher.

    Besides, I do not think I would be overly negative... In recent past, it is the teas that are the problem, not me (I hope).

  4. Jakub-

    For me, price does have an impact on how I rate a tea. Just like going out to eat, I'm quite easily satisfied by a tasty sandwich at a cafe for $7. However, if I am going out to a fancy restaurant for a $100 three course meal, I have considerably higher expectations that often don't get filled.

    I thought about the anonymous complaint. I think if the reader wants to be cheered up, there's no shortage of other blogs which concentrate of the positive. I go to your blog for your honest opinion and it matters to me a lot that you weren't impressed by 3 expensive cakes from EoT, Tea Urchin, and YS. It's not likely I would love a tea you don't like. We should have higher standards for more expensive boutique cakes.


  5. hster,
    thanks for such an optimistic post! Indeed, that is pretty much my thinking too. I think that a healthy bit of skepticism is... healthy; that is why enjoy, e.g., MarshalN's writing so much. I think it gets cute at times actually.

    To see the "good for the price", I included the PQ column in my tea notes. It is very important to me too, especially when I buy stuff in larger quantity.

    I agree that it is good to have certain standards. Of course, they must change in time too, especially the price standard. Looking at the prices from the perspective of 2008-9, they are crazy - and I will continue to think that it is often not worth buying today's young teas as there are better and cheaper alternatives from previous years. However, from the point of 2000 or so, even the prices of 2008 teas are insane. Judging prices by 2000 standards is hardly feasible, but by the 2009 standards, I consider it possible. But it will have to change too, I am afraid.

    I guess that it depends on what is available on the market. Even though prices were generally low in 2000, teas of these days are quite expensive today. Teas from 2003-5 are often to be had for reasonable money and 2006-9 is generally quite cheap. So I guess that when the cheaper teas disappear (I hope they won't), the standards will have to move.

    Still, if I drink a young 2011 Yiwu tea for $80, even though good Yiwus of 2011 often did cost this much, I do not see a reason to say it is a good price when 2004-6 Yiwus cost less. Until being sold out, Douji's 2005 Yiwus did cost $55. Changtai Yiwus I have drank were also about $55 and were pretty close to awesome. There are certainly more of such Yiwus to be found. Why, if you may have such a good tea, would one pay $100 for a young cake? Even if the cake is superb, which is still rare, it may age miserably or change in a way one does not like.

    I guess that it helps us that after youth, puerh enters a sort of "teenage era" (about 3-6 years) when it is not that great as it will be, so people not being able to guess further development/not being optimistic about it may think that the tea is simply not good. Thus, a lot of potentially good tea is still to be found.


  6. I would like to say to anonymni from reading his comment that it seems to me that while reading blogs he is looking for faults.

    If I wanted to read only positive reviews about tea, I might as well read vendor's product descriptions all day. And feel happy. Just unfortunate that the tea doesn't taste like the descriptions.

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