pondělí 24. února 2014

2013 Chawangpu Hua Zhi Qiao

Let us be glad and rejoice - somebody finally made a cake of Jingmai leaves with tea blossoms. This type of tea has been previously done by Fu Cha Ju - a factory of many experiments (some of which them are good, the others being less good...). I enjoyed both the version of Jingmai with tea blossoms coming from 2005 and 1998. It is not the most mainstream type of puerh, nor the one that I would prefer above all others, but it has two big strengths: First, I enjoy this style of tea tremendously, from time to time. Second, it is an excellent "guest tea" for people coming to visit who are appreciative of tastes in general and are not puerh sages - it is much simpler to appreciate than "old-fashioned" puerh, especially of this age. At the same time, it is still distinctly a puerh tea - it's not really "scented" in a common way. The addition of tea blossoms is a rather subtle change to a tea.

(please pardon the bad light quality of photos, this is England...) 

Looking at the cake shows that the flowers are abundant (yet they do not  overpower leaves)

Rinsed leaves smell intensively fruity and sweet - just as I like it in Jingmai tea.

The taste is quite explosive as well - there is still some floralness of youth, but what seems to dominate is a mixture of fruits (garden fruit, pomelo,...), very fresh (and this freshness tends to degrade after 10 or so years into a certain hongcha-iness, which is why I prefer young-ish Jingmai) and quite delightful. There are starting hints of honey (probably bolstered by the blossoms) which make this tea very promising for next 5 or so years. Even though this tea can be brewed gently (being smooth and sweet), I actually slightly prefer to be less gentle to it, using more leaves than usual. Yes, it gets quite bitter, but in a pleasant, fresh-fruity way - as a bonus to the long and strong taste, the bitterness transform into longer-term aftertaste of sweet peaches - what's there not to like?

You could blame the tea for lack of aged depth, but that would be rather pointless in a young tea, wouldn't it.? It's like telling that a lovely young white wine is not a rich red wine (that said, I do prefer latter) (actually, this tea shares many features with nice white wine).

This tea is not the Tea if you go for significant buzz in mouth, nor a mind-stopping qi attack. It is a well made and very tasty tea which I enjoyed very much (and $30 per 400g is a good price for any decent tea these days, let alone for such a nice one). It is also a good argument why old trees may not be always the best thing to have - well cared for smaller and not-super-old trees such as this tea is made of often produce tea with a stronger and "more penetrating" taste. 

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