Oxford seems like an awfully nice place to be at, I must say. We already had our first puerh session with Hobbes, which and who were both extraordinarily nice. The only aspect in which Oxford seems to suck is the water. Hobbes has shed some light upon that matter, as he told me that it probably comes from lots of chalk nearby... maybe it's a good water for old-fashioned teachers... However, it is certainly not good for puerh or any other tea if it comes to that. The first day here, we had a pot of plain old Earl Grey and there was almost a crust at the surface, not only a thin coating. I'm definitely glad I brought my Brita over...
I've been retasting teas I know well these days, so I won't write about them, but I picked two teas from my "archive of paper notes" (a chaotic stack of tattered yellow paper, covered with hieroglyphs) as they both are rather interesting and/or decent. By the way, why is there "and/or" in english? "Or" should always dominate "and"... Or is it that "and/or" is common OR and "or" is XOR? (Unfortunately, I hoped that I could be clearer in common talking using xor as a normal word, but so far, it has been more explaining than saved words with people outside of my discipline).
Ah, back to tea anyway...
2008 Finepuer Ding Jia Zhai
This tea felt quite interesting to me, as I did not think much of young DJZ when I had it, and furthermore, this particular one is not really a typical Yiwu tea I know.
It's got a dark, sweet taste, of forest honey and sweet wood... it tastes a lot more like some aged Bulangs than a common Yiwu, imho... Anyway, it is properly thick, sweet and quite tasty, although the taste is not very dynamic and just gets weaker and weaker as steepings go. The tea is somewhat one-dimensional, but it is good at what it does.
Despite pleasant cooling, I feel the tea somewhat lacks in qi. That is the difference between decent and great tea, I think. Pure taste won't make me pay more than $50.
2000 Menghai Bamboo-tube puerh
Another tea from Finepuer/sampletea. Unfortunately, the photos lie deep under sands of time, so I'll at least describe the visual aspect. The tube is, unlike most I've met so far, very thin, hardly more than an inch in diameter. I wonered what such a large surface area would do to aging.
The color of the liquor is very nice red/orange, a rather good color for a tea from 2000. Outside that, though, the tea is quite unlike any 2000 tea I have had, because of the very strong bamboo aspect.
The aroma has a typical puerh based (not much aged puerh, though, like about 5 years), but on top of that, there are young and penetrating bamboo tones. Overall, the aroma is a mixture of lower, sweet (honey) aspects and higher ones - lemon an herbs. Overall, it smells very medicinal...
... And tastes medicinal too. The taste is very similar to the aroma, i.e., honey, herbs and lemon/lemongrass. The bamboo taste is quite similar to the one you might know from drinking Liu'An baskets, except it is a bit fresher. Unfortunately, the tea is not very dynamic and it did not feel very "internally powerful" to me (yes, also no qi). The bamboo aspect is strong and uncommon, but the tea aspect seems to be lacking and a bit hollow - could it be that there was litle volume unexposed to the environment in this tube?
Basically, I think that this is closer to an aromatized tea than to an ordinary puerh... which is ok, but it's good to know. I would look elsewhere for a good example of 2000 tea.