Friday, 20 April 2012

1970s Pingling aged oolong

I sampled a couple of aged shengs so I am a bit familiar with this group of teas and as more I drink it more I like it. On the other hand, the area of aged oolongs is unknown for me and for some reasons I was avoiding it. However there are a couple of reviews out there which encouraged me to include a sample of this aged oolong into my last order from EoT. 

The fragrance from the sample bag is very particular, I never experienced something like this with other teas. It is heavy spicy reminding things like mayonnaise and mustard mixing with the typical wu yi frangrance. The leaves are in good shape, relatively long and unfragmented, but fragile and delicate on touch.
I pack 5 grans into my new 60ml zisha. 

The first rinse changes the scent of the leaves quite a bit revealing a fragrance very similar to aged shengs with the creamy sweetness of oolongs. The spicy character is still there but with lower intensity. The taste is also unique but also reminds an aged sheng at some points; a mixture of woody-nutty-spicy and sweet, very interesting. It is strong but without edges.  The taste becomes prominent after the swallowing and stays for long time. After the first couple of infusions I am very excited. The taste is developing nicely and reaches the peak around the 4th steep. 

The qi is particular. I don’t know if it is uplifting or calming but it is strong and slightly euphoric. I watched a few episodes of the two and a half men during the later infusions and I was laughing on every sketch like I am high. The last infusions are simpler and I would describe it like a mixture of aged puerh with the roasted sweet taste of yancha. I have done around 4-5 very long steeps at the end which still delivered pleasant soups.
It was a very nice experience to drink this tea and I was thrilled after the firs session. As I was drinking it I remembered the “wow” moments which I had when I first time tried high grade da hong pao or aged sheng.

The next day I drunk some young sheng which was good but somehow boring this time, showing me the difference in complexity of a young and old tea. 

And the conclusion is that I have to dig more deeply into the world of aged oolongs.  

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Grandpa in the hotel

I am on a regular network meeting and workshop in Prague for the whole week, so no gong fu this week only grandpa style. The quality of the tap water is very good BTW.

Some nice yixing hongcha in the cup. Just enough to survive.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

2004 Yong Pin Hao -Xiang Ming

This is another long forgotten sample coming from one of my first purchases from Yunnan sourcing. I think I tried it only once or twice but it left mi unimpressed. However, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts the way how I look and experience a tea is changed in the last two years. I remember this tea as mild and therefore not interesting however this attitude comes from the period when I was thinking that a good puerh with ability to age, has to be necessarily bitter. But as I realised later this is just a myth created by me for myself to simplify the evaluations of some samples. 
This sample was sitting in the drawer for more than one year here in Milan. The flat where I am living can be pretty hot and humid during the summer months since its position is right under the roof. The temperature usually rises to 30-35°C for a couple of hours during the day while the humidity is ranging from 60-80%. Luckily I leave my flat at the morning and return at the evening so I don’t have to “age” in these conditions. On the other hand this environment gives a very nice boost to my shengs what is already noticeable after 1year.

After a relaxing afternoon in the park I have a taste for something semi-aged if not aged. 


8g, 90ml gaiwan, 10s rinse, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 50s, 2min
As I open the small bag an aged character salutes me. My first impression is that I picked up some shu sample instead of the 2004 YPH. The first rinse seems to fix this and reveals a nice fusion of young and aged characters, the smell is sweet with lower notes: tobacco, walnuts.

I used a fair amount of leaves and the result was pleasant. The texture is thick and active in the throat and the nutty character is really nice. There is a slightly bitter finish which leaves a mild huigan (but nothing remarkable) however no sign of astringency. The durability is good with 10 infusions.
This tea changed during the last one year and the developing aged character is promising. However the liquor has a suspiciously brown-reddish colour. 

the colour is nice but unusual for an 8 year old, mainly Kunming stored sheng

The later steeps became a bit rough but nothing disturbing, it reminds me the bitter-sweet taste of that thin layer on the walnuts.
I was pleasantly surprised by this sheng but I don't know where to put the aged character. The description says that it was stored two years in a more humid environment of the Yi Wu mountains. It is true that the (loose) sample was sitting in my room during the hot and humid summer but this tea spent most of his life in the very dry climate of Kunming. I am confused.

In any case, it is better than its younger brother, the 2005 YPH stone pressed yiwu, but the price is also higher. 58USD for an 8 years old cake with promising (?) aged notes, is not that much, however I already have my eye on other cakes from the same period.

For now, I put this tea at the end of my imaginary wishlist, and since I still have around 7g, I will try it again sometime in the future.

 the setup is the same like always

Thursday, 5 April 2012

2011 YS - Feng Yun

I am pleased by the 2011 production of Yunnan sourcing and I am more and more a fan of Scott´s cakes. Especially the blends were really impressive and after the rather tasty Cha Qi and Shang chun I was pleased when Scott sent me a free sample of the last blend coming from 2011. 

The first session was not that impressive so I took my time this morning to enjoy this tea with more focus. Though the descriptions says that this is the lightest among the blends both the fragrance and taste are quite strong. The aroma is heavy and penetrating in a good way. The liquor has good thickness with a light cooling effect. there is a nice load of ku wei and astringency but it is acceptable for a such young sheng. At some points the taste reminded me the 2011 Jing gu mini cake which has a typical character reminding me the taste of crude corn and thus giving a chunky-meaty tone to the soup. The durability is very good. I did many short steps but I had to give up at the point when there was still some stamina in the tea. The only thing what I miss in this blend is the sweetness. There is some but it is nowhere near the heavy sweetness of Shang chun. 

Anyway, the 20USD is a fair price for this 400g cake.