pondělí 7. července 2014

2013 Chawangpu He He

I consciously postponed writing about this tea of somewhat funny name - Honza, the maker, has warned me of it, that it may need some time to settle down. It did indeed - I'm periodically checking it and it is only two last months or so when it has stabilised. Before that, it kept switching between several characters, none of which were super-pleasant.

Once, I had a piece broken off and when I tasted it, I was surprised how lemony it was - I haven't seen such a strong lemon character in a tea. I wrote to Honza, whether he thought the same, but he did not. The strange taste has been explained later when I discovered that the piece of He He has peacefully resided next to a small pouch with lemon scented mate for some time... However, even excepting this genuinely "off" case of changing taste, there were enough changes to make the tea quite unstable for some time.

After reaching the stable state though, this tea is a most pleasant one!

The taste is a very solid one, classical and powerful. Even though interregional blends often don't work so well (this is a blend of 2007, 2012 and 2013 leaves from Yiwu and Menghai), it all does work really nicely here. The start of the taste is dominated by the Yiwu part - sweetness, sweet tobacco, some leather and fruitiness - with the Menghai part kicking in a bit  later, keeping the taste strong and "puerhy". Possibly due to two strong sets of leaves, the taste feels really strong and muscular. Admittedly, after the "simply nice" initial phase, a not inconsiderable bitterness arrives, but it's not an unpleasant sort, at least for me. As steepings go, the garden-fruity characters gets more pronounced and more flowery and honey tastes are suggested for the future (in the way, e.g., of my favorite Spring of Menghai recipe).

The tea feels very warm and pleasant, which is a no mean feat given its nontrivial bitterness. Also, it is surprisingly full in taste and body - I'd expect the 07 Yiwu component to give more hollowness (as I expect it has aged uncompressed, which often yields a somewhat empty tasting tea). Similarly unexpected is the fact that it is so coherent now - it's really not a slightest problem that it comes from such a wide range of age and places.

I suspect that due to the good strength of character, there should be no problem in the future either. Of course, it may happen that all the components forming this little chamber orchestra fail to cooperate - we'll never know until it happens, but at least, I don't see an immediate threat of that happening. At $17 per 200 xiaobing, I can't fault this cake at all, it's really very nice. I think that Chawangpu may be actually hurting themselves a bit, selling such teas this cheap.

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