After a long sample drought, I finally got more new tea. I'm drinking through them now and with a couple of them, I collected enough samples to finally write.
So, I might not be the biggest hongcha fan, but sometimes I like to have it as well and besides, all of three today's hongchas are somewhat unusual).
First one is 2014 Autumn Mengsong Old Tree Organic
Red tea from an established puerh region of Mengsong? Count me in, I thought when I saw it listed. This is a real Goliath of hongcha - the leaves are bigger than anything I've ever seen in this type of tea - it is actually quite fun to see leaves shaped like puerh leaves (no wonder, with Mengsong), but with so different color and texture.
And it is a (gentle) Goliath in mouth too - taste-wise, it is like a high grade rose-like tasting Diang Hong, except:
a) Thicker. Much thicker - and therefore fuller, better, etc. (and my stomach does not complain at all).
b) Way longer tasting - and with a pronounced lingering sweetness on top. No sourness at all. The duration of intense taste and sweetness puts most teas to shame.
c) Better mouthfeel.
Thinking of it, this is probably one of the best red teas I ever had ($7.50 per 100g!) - not that you'll find me drinking it too often as it's not a family of tastes that would be super-close to me, but I do appreciate its qualities nevertheless. It's like when you prefer brunettes above all - you can still find a blonde attractive, even though she might not make you fly to the moon with excitement...
Uh, glad I'm not working for BBC, for my blog would be probably deleted after this remark...
A second tea is a David, for its leaves are really small, yet it hits hard: It's 2014 Wuyi Jin Jun Mei
The dry leaves do not smell that interesting, it looks like yet another allright small leaved tea... but it's a lot better actually. It might not be as sweet as the previous tea, but the tastes are more to my liking - deep chocolate, nuts, a bit of the Wuyi rocky taste, and some honey sweetness. It's not massively awesome tea, but it is still pretty good - and different enough from other red teas I had to provide me with fun when I drink it.
I guess that if the 2014 Mengsong hongcha is an example of subgenre that I do not like so much, but is great at doing that, I find the 2014 Wuyi hongcha to be a style I like a lot more, but I do not linger on its qualities for as long... if you can't see which one I prefer, then let me assure you that neither do I.
A third hongcha is 2012 Fujian Waishan Xiaozhong, i.e., a Lapsang Souchong that does not come from the original area, but from the region nearby. Well, this tea is a bit of a hit to the myth of "original is best" - it's probably better than most Zhengshan Xiaozhongs I remember having - and this includes the 2013 one also from Chawangshop that's a bit more expensive.
This Lapsang is just so pleasant - after the years, there is almost no smoke, but you get plenty of the dried apricots and generic mixture of dried fruit, riding on a tide of broad sweetness. If you had the 2004 Shui Xian from Essence of Tea, it's this style of taste to a degree.
All in all, this is a really good tea which is likely to please just about any drinker, from casual to hardened puerh veteran.