It’s summer, the weather is just about right, so lets take the tea corner from my room outside to the garden. Outdoor tea sessions are very pleasing for so many different reasons. We are lucky since our backyard is full of trees and neighbours with other gardens what makes it a kind of an isolated island with a high level if privacy. I also brought my laptop but the sunlight makes difficult to read the monitor so the attention is focused fully on the tea.
Today I sampled another Changtai cake from 2005. Nearly 7g of tea goes into the pot; the dry leaves smell youngish with some nutty-woody elements but without any particular sweetness.
After the first rinse the liquor is particularly clear. The wet leaves keep mainly the woody character but as they cool down the sweetness is more pronounced. Whereas the fragrances of the tea are not that intense (probably due to the fact that the garden is so full of other things which scent intensively in this period), the taste is definitely there.
The tea is strong, nicely coats the throat creating a good mouthfeel. The kuwei induces salivation and turns to sweet with some delay, as a proper huigan does. Good stuff! The tea still has mainly young character but I notice the plummy taste which can be usually found in some dry stored (semi)aged shengs. The tea opens relatively slowly and the sweet-bitter characters peaks around 3-4th infusion with steeping time still around 3s. The leaves keep on giving flavor steep after steep and at the 8th infusion I am quite full so I decided to stop. The tea is left to steep overnight to season the pot. The tea has a fair amount of kuwei but I didn’t notice too much astringency, that’s very important for me.
|There is a huge walnut tree in our garden|
Now, let’s do the comparison with its sibling. First of all, the storage is different; while the Yi Bang has a wetter character, it seems that this one spent the last 7 years in a drier environment (though with enough humidity to provide some ageing). The Yi Bang is smooth and round with a noticeable aged character in its profile, its qi is relaxing but not particularly strong and I had no problem to fall a sleep after it. On the other hand the Qian Jia Feng still has the edges in both the taste and energy. The tea is active on the lips, induces sweating, and I finished the session with a strong urge to eat something (even though I ate just before I set to drink the tea). Its overall qi is strong.
The conclusion is that the Yi Bang is nice tea to drink now and there is still room for further ageing, possibly in a bit drier environment which would eliminate the wet storage character.
Quian Jia Feng is also relatively nice to drink now but with less leaves. For those more sensitive tea drinkers the bitterness can be a bit disturbing. On the other hand I am fairly convinced that in proper conditions this cake can turn into something really nice.
Ps: The natural sunlight has a significant positive effect on the quality of the pictures.