čtvrtek 16. května 2013

1998 Fuhai

This is currently the only slightly aged tea that Tea Urchin offers and when I read that it was stored in Guangzhou, I thought I would try it along young Yiwu beauties which form the core of TU's offerings. 

The leaves are brown, sometimes with a green hue. There occasionally is a white-coated bit of stem, but very seldom.

When the leaves are rinsed, the aroma is sweet, lightly aged, with some herbs and posibly remnants of fruit - it does not have any heavier storage aroma. This tea reminds me of how I used to confuse natural agedness with storage aroma. There is a large difference though. This tea is quite clean. Both rinsed leaves and color of liquor suggest that the tea did not undergo wet storage, despite being stored in Guangzhou.

Indeed, a bad photo. It just serves to demonstrate that the leaves are brown-green, rather than aged brown.

The taste is what I'd describe as "few years after the golden spot" - but "golden spot" I mean the time when mid-aged tones are at their peak, the tea is calmer, sweeter that when young and all that. Arguably, the teas are the tastiest at that time (circa 10 years of natural storage in someplace humid?). This Fuhai cake is definitely more aged than it was at its taste peak, I believe.

There is that good aged nuttiness, decently thick, sweet, "crystalline" (I don't say that this word means something definable, I just say what I thought), I thought. The sweetness has tones of brown sugar and remnants of "aged sweet granary", certainly pleasant. The tones of mid-aged tea still did not give up entirely to "common agedness". If I had to criticize something, there are hints of fishyness... But it's not too bad to ruin the overall experience, it's not too pronounced.

The tea still has a lot of space to evolve to. It should be more mouth-coating and it would be nice to have it thicker, but it can get there naturally, I think.

I very much enjoyed the positive activity in mouth in the first couple of steepings, which furthered the sunny and pleasant demeanor of the session. It did not last until the end of the session. Indeed, inspection of the leaves suggests that the leaves are a blend of younger and older leaves. The blend contains several sorts of leaves - some seem to soak water more than others, being soft and breaking easily; on the other hand, there are harder, thicker leaves. This is not to say that the leaves are chaotic - they work very well together.

I sort of think that this tea comes from Yiwu, which would explain the early-obtained aged character... I wonder what the more experienced of you think of the origins of the tea.

I felt only a rather subtle qi, but as with some other features, the tea still has a lot of years to evolve.

This tea is not exactly cheap and for immediate drinking, there are possibly cheaper alternatives. However, it offers a decent agedness, which is free of inappropriate humidity, therefore if one goes for cleaner, drier stored tea, than is perhaps traditional, this could be the way to go. After having so many too dry teas recently, it is honestly a pure pleasure to drink something non-acidic and all-around decent like this Fuhai.

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