čtvrtek 20. srpna 2015

2011 Ba Xian, 2001 Private order 7542, 2015 Chawangpu Hekai, 2015 Chawangpu Laoyu, 2015 Chawangpu Mengsong, 2005/15 Chawangpu Bulang \endofline

Hello all, my tea friends. The times of long musings about one tea are gone (it happens in my head only and it's too internally connected to be easy enough to write down), but that does not prevent me from sharing what I drink and what's my overall opinion.

All of today's teas come from Chawangshop.

First, let's start with an oolong - 2011 Ba Xian
With Dan Cong, my knowledge does not extend far beyond Mi Lan and too-green-for-me-to-like Dan Congs, so I was curious to try the Ba Xian. And I am not disappointed - the pouch with it is almost gone now, unfortunately. It is a really thick tea with good rocky character, not unlike Wuyi teas. It's less fragrant/orchid/lychee than good Mi Lans, but it's perhaps more compact and rounded, a great mixture of rock, fire, peaches and lychee. The fire feeling seems surprising after four years since the making, but there it is.

When oversteeped, it packs a fairly brutal bitterness and astringency - but what is crucial, it is free of these when done right (unlike low-grade Dan Congs that seem to be invariably somewhat harsh). I loved this Ba Xian - it's thick, luxurious and ballsy.

2001 Private order 7542
I'm sipping this again and it brought me to writing this post actually, as I just wanted to share how lovely this tea is. Dry storage done right it is (China + Malaysia storage), at the same time, it's not sour or thin, so it should not offend any non-extremist in the ways of storage. I might not have the best experience with "private orders from affiliated factories", but this is a pleasant exception.

What I find most striking is the great feeling of presence and camphory cooling in mouth, that I haven't felt for a long time - it's indeed very powerful and good. Also, the tea is deeply calming (sort of stoning to be honest) and feels rich and complex, with all sorts of tastes from various woods, longan, camphor, slight aged earthiness, ending in a strong and clear huigan. It is actually a lot like "classical" 7542, except (heresy altert) even nicer in some aspects.

It is very smooth, sweet and warm. A good tea. $200 was a lot years back, but not anymore - it's a really good price.

2015 Chawangpu Hekai
"Hekai", when pronounced in Czech means "they pant" or "they moan". My stomach sure did moan a bit after this one - it's brutal. Old school, bitter, strong, unforgiving - but clean, smoke-free and fairly sweet as well. This is like when you sip a bit of en primeur Bordeaux, astringency curls up your face and when the spasms subside, you say "aye, plenty of potential in this one".

2015 Chawangpu Laoyu
This is a great Bada recipe, made for three consecutive years. It is strong, cheap and very good. When fresh, the Laoyus tend to be slightly smoky, but this goes away after a couple of months and you're rewarded with "proper puerh" - not a mellow thing for a namby-pamby esoterist, but a well-transforming strong clean tea - with all three vintages of Laoyu, I felt that the tea is harder than I usually like perhaps, but I always liked them a lot, without necessarily being able to tell why exactly.

Drinking the 2013 one fairly often, I feel it ages really well (unlike the easygoing branch of Bada teas that ages towards something also pleasant, but not really a classical puerh I'd say), it's really sweet and starts to develop slight earthy taste; yum.

2015 Chawangpu Mengsong
Super-hyper-sweet. Actually, this one is so sweet that it feels almost unnatural. It's undoubtedly an interesting tea (and too young to be judged), but even though I enjoyed the sessions with it, it did not captivate me.

2005/2015 Chawangpu Bulang
You probably know the story of loose-aged teas, being pressed in recent years and sold quite cheap. My experience was that they're mostly hollow and no good - the omnipresent feeling of underwhelming when drinking them made me ignore them despite the low price and sometimes nice aspects of taste.

This one is different - it's not hollow, actually, it's a really nice semi-aged Bulang. It might not blow you through the roof with happiness, but it's really rather good. It's sweet, rich, earthy, with some honey in the taste. At $32/200g, I think you get more than you pay for.

I hope to write again soon, I need to get some more tea though!

8 komentářů:

  1. You must have different teas from me. I have been drinking the Hekai all summer, halfway through the cake now. It is sweet and not terribly bitter. The Mengsong, by contrast and which I also have, is too bitter to drink now.

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  4. Hi Jakub,

    Great tidbits here that are quite useful for me, as I'm still just a few years into this potentially expensive hobby. I'm a fan of the Chawangpu stuff since I'm also a broke student and Honz's affordable pressings seem to deliver a lot of consistent value.

    Considering the subjective nature of tea tasting, I always take note when I find similarities between by experience and another's. Your summary of the 2015 Hekai and Mengsong was the same as mine. I'm considering purchasing another Hekai bing...

    You noted on the 2015 Ba Da Lao Yu that it was "harder" than your usual preference. Are you referring to the compression of the tea leaves?


    1. Hi Theo!
      Haha, potentially expensive, but very rewarding hobby it is! But yes, one of the best things about Chawangpu is that they produce really nice tea for not so much money.

      I need to re-taste the Hekai again, it's an area I don't know well, yet it's quite famous.

      The hardness of Laoyus has more to do with the taste, rather than compression (which seems great to me). But I still like the tea very much, it's one of my most frequently drunk teas - it's just some teas are very warm and smooth right from the start, or bitter and sweet, but mellow in feeling - but the Laoyu is really hard in a way; also honest. It's like a person who is always frank with you and doesn't mess around with unnecessary pleasantries. I came to appreciate such people, as well as such tea :)
      All the best!

  5. Hi Jakub,

    You got me interested in the 7542 private order. But just to make sure, you do mean the CNNP that is still for sale now.......



    1. Hi!
      yes, looks like it could be still that one actually... You can try a sample and see for yourself for sure - I don't remember the tea from top of my head now, but seems I liked it, so there is a nonzero likelihood of it being nice :)
      All the best,

  6. Thank you, Jakub. Difficult to find good stuff now as everything is sold out but one must keep trying.