pátek 5. října 2012

1998 Menghai Da Yi A grade tuocha

Another piece from finepuer. 1990s Dayi tea is generally not cheap (true here) and I wonder what it would be like. Assured by finepuer´s "absolutely wonderful", I included it among other samples I bought.

I wonder if it is the same as the tuocha that Hobbes describes here, I guess it is possible, though the storage may be quite different.

The leaves look a bit lighter than I expected from a 1998 tea, but that is probably the dry storage.

The degree of compression is rather high and as a result, the degree of aroma of dry leaves is rather low.

Wet leaves do smell and they smell fairly nice, there's a rather uncommon mahagony woodiness. There is also a reasonable sweetness, a bit of grain and overripe fruit, a sourish one - often found in too drily stored tea ("too" for me, some people like it).

The liquor smells sweet woody with a bit of camphor. It is actually beautifully clean, even though it is not really that obvious from the photo below.

The first steeping is quite bland, but that's probably just the compressed leaves unfolding.

The second steeping has always disappointed me. There is the reasonable combination of things from the aroma, but it is overriden by a dry bitterness. The taste of hemp which comes shortly after that does not help either. There is a nasty sharp sourness sometimes, coming from the dry storage I guess.

Now, the wet leaves give up their original sweetness and emit a complex aroma of various woods - it is interesting, but it does not really scream "will taste awesome".

In the third and fourth steeping, the bitterness is not as bad, but high astringency prevents much enjoyment anyway. The sharp sourness from dry storage is there too and the more I taste it in teas, the more I dislike it.

Sometimes, people say that dry storage keeps a tea's complexity. I do not know about that, I'd say that when you interpret this the wrong way, i.e., confusing dry storage with western super-dry storage, the teas have a tendency to die off, lose complexity and became sour, rather than to retain their complexity.

I pushed the tea further hoping there would be something good about it - it was not really pushed for enjoyment. Surprisingly, there actually was something good - the taste of fresh plums (known from 7542s) in the longer-term aftertaste did appear. Not overly powerful, but there.

Anyway, this single positive does not, in my opinion, redeem this tea. Combine the not-too-terrific taste with virtually no mouthfeel and no qi (I could not feel any, at least) and you get a mediocre tea.

Even though the tea is quite expensive (almost $200 per 400g), I can not get rid of the impression that the tuocha comes from a low quality material and was way too dry stored for its good, but as it is Dayi and 1998, the price is high.

However, the tea may be ok for people who like very dry stored tea I guess...

9 komentářů:

  1. My suspicion is that *nobody* is selling their good '90s Dayi in any quantity. One sees more adds for the '01 Simplified Yun Red Dayi 7542, and fewer famous teas from the 90s when looking at East Asian sites.

    I experienced a similar dud from sampletea.com's 2000 Lincang Yin Hao tuo. A broad and bland taste. Not much going on other than pleasantness. You might actually like that better than this Dayi tuo, not that you are missing much other than less offensiveness.

    1. Pretty much what I thought - why to sell Dayi stuff if it is any good?

      I'll get to drink the 2001 7542 in few days I hope so I'll see about that.

      Hmm, I do not see the Yin Hao tuocha available anymore. I guess that from a Yin Hao, one does not expect much more than a broad and bland taste. Some (the Yongpinhao one from 2003) may have a good mouthfeel, but the taste will be probably hardly spectacular.

    2. The Yin Hao tuo is one of those you'll have to specifically ask for.

      Don't have especially high expectations for the 2001 7542. Mine is quite awkward in taste, although this is a different simplified yun than sampletea's, and some people believe sampletea's regular green mark CNNP wrapper version is better. The virtues are fuller taste, large amount of qi for young factory cake, and eventual plum taste deeper in the session. Needs a decade more age!

  2. Absolutely not wonderful eh? Aged shu is such a crapshoot and one rarely wins in the internet. What do you think is your hit ratio?

    >degree of compression is rather high and as a result, the degree of aroma of dry leaves is rather low.

    Douji has some uber-compressed bricks with the theory being tightness keeps the scent in.


    1. Hi!
      this is actually a sheng. I do not buy shu at all, let alone aged. But as vendors keep sending me free shu samples, I get to drink some - and I do not think that the extra money for aged shu is all that worth it. If I really have to drink shu, I prefer Scott's shu - especially the nuggets bricks.

      Anyway, aged sheng is also more often a miss than a hit. I guess that real hits are about 10% for me and "ok hits" are like another 20%. Then there is 40% of "ok, but would not pay that much" and 30% of "what the hell is that supposed to mean, is this a drink or a weedkiller?" - generally, too dry stored shengs go into the last category. I can live with a bit of wetness, but the overdried stuff is weird, I feel almost like drinking a poison.

      Indeed, Douji likes their compression :) But I guess that the most compressed thing I know is Boyou's Manlu.

  3. I should send you a sample of a Menghai tuo of mine from the 90s. You can tell me how it compares

  4. "However, the tea may be ok for people who like very dry stored tea I guess..."

    This sounds like a reluctant response to a mother's advice - 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'

    It is tough to find consistency in the Dayi that is available now. The price for even the lower quality teas has been carried on the back of the brand name

    1. Haha, well, you're sort of right, of course. But the issue with dry/normal/wet stored teas is a large one as I think that after 10 years, it will do more to a tea than where the tea did originate actually.

      The thing is, that when a vendor declares "dry stored", you do not know what he means. When it is what I consider dry storage, e.g., about 60% relative humidity and about 25°C, I think it is okay and the tea may age slowly, but well. But then there are these super-dry stored teas and with these, I can not see how anyone could enjoy that. I think that some western vendors who want to sell their stuff to locals "for aging", knowing the country is generally dry, try to say "hey, great, we have dry storage here", even though it is way too dry.

      Yeah, well, I'm not disappointed in this tuo as I just bought a sample - it's one of many from Finepuer and their samples are generally quite good. If I buy a cake and it is bad (never happened, but if), I'd be disappointed - but if I buy a bad sample, it's just another experience and thus it is a positive one in a way...

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