Today I'll write (as you've all seen in this entry's title) about a Dayi Classic: 8582.
According to the wrapper's batch number it is from the third batch pressed in 2011.
The day before yesterday I brewed it in a gaiwan and for comparison it was brewed in my zisha pot today. Both vessels have a capacity of 100ml and I used 5g pried from my share of the bing.
Before we get to the different results of these sessions, lets have a look at the leaves first.
In the bing (which seems pressed rather firmly) there are some stalks and stems to be found: the bigger guys hidden inside and the tender slender ones on the surface. Hardly any silvery buds or downy hair on bigger leaves. The blended nature of this tea expresses itself in the leaves' appearance: Darkest green with some brown and even copper. Bigger leaves on the surface, some tightly rolled while others resemble wide Japanese Bancha leaves.
I like this bing's looks, but I know it will never be a beauty queen.
When put in the preheated vessel, the leaves emit a fragrance of ... sheng puer! There is no trace of smoke, but a salty-savoury aroma and the heavenly fragrance of grilled bell peppers. After rinsing, the fragrance of grilled bell peppers gets company: olives, sherry and wet hay all join the olfactory enjoyment.
|My share of a bing Chris split up between 5 of us teetalkers|
Now, lets start drinking some tea! First off the gaiwan:
First infusion gives a clear golden yellow cup with just a bit of greenish tint. Strange that a brew so lightly couloured appears so viscous, oily I should say. The first cup has a light taste (gee - that's going to change!) which is hard to put in words. When I refill my cup from the pitcher, the tea has changed to an orange tinted yellow and the taste seems intensified and sweeter. The primary taste impression is that of camellia sinensis with a bit more, which I can not put in words. This enigmatic taste lingers quite long after swallowing, leaving the roof of my mouth and the tongue somehow activated / alive.
Lets turn to the zisha pot's 1. infusion:
Not really fair to compare it to the gaiwan version, as I encountered a major 'blocked spout syndrom' and thus oversteeped the tea considerably. It started as expected: extremely fullbodied with heavy adstringency. An oily mouthfeel and an intense 'deep' taste.
Please allow me a digression to clarify my vocabulary: I use 'deep' and 'high' to describe taste and smell sensations. Dian Hong, Da Hong Pao and Gyokuro are teas I'd describe as 'deep' - while Darjeeling First Flush, modern Tie Guan Yin and Genmaicha are 'high' teas in my book.
Through all the adstringency in this infusion I got convinced that this tea would turn out really well rounded later on.
|This is what happens if the camera is set to "lightbulb" but is used in sunlight|
"Intense and orange - is this really as young as 2011? Salty and tobacco flavour - and in the background some cane sugar and mirabelle plums." (2nd infusion)
"This is not a tea like an evening with Hermann Hesse and white wine - rather Charles Bukowski and whisky"
"Full favoured sheng - no girly brew. No smokyness, no licorice, no Bulang bitterness to be found - yet 100% masculine."
"This is no enchanting beauty which makes you fall hopelessly in love with her! This is your buddy and friend, the guy that still understands you at the far end of a whisky evening - even in silence."
During the first infusions I was listening to Chopin. But soon I picked other music and found Tom Waits to give the right soundtrack to 8582. My suggestion: 'Drunk on the Moon'
After 14 infusions I called it a night - the tea was spent.
How about the zisha-version?
"Not a revelation, but this tea just feels RIGHT" (3rd infusion)
"Concentrated taste of camellia sinensis. Slightly sweet, oily and round. Some licorice root which gets more pronounced in the aftertaste." (4th)
"My buddy tea returns"
There was a drop during infusions 8-11. I feared the repeatedly blocked spout had overly worn out the tea early on, but with extremely long infusions (5min +) it came back to life from infusion 12:
"Body - depth - harmony"
Once again the tea was exhausted at infusion number 14.
To show you how much the zisha pot mellowed this tea: instead of Tom Waits the soundtrack for the second session was Loreena McKennitt.
Back to the tea leaves: after the sessions they looked exactly what I expected from a mass product: torn and rather small. But so what - I enjoyed the tea. Like my best friend, whom I like to spend time with, no matter what he looks like.
What did I learn from these two session?
1) It is hard to discuss the nature of a tea if the participants of the discussion are using different pots.
2) A plantation blend can be a good buddy
3) Once you've started fiddling with your camera's setting, remember to reset them.
As my parting question I would like to ask you, if you can verify something I read somewhere (without recalling the source for this information):
Is the blend 8582 made up of maocha from the two years preceeding the bing's pressing?
To be more precise: Is this 2011 bing made up of maocha from 2010 and 2009?
The bing looks so much darker than I would expect from a 2011 tea - a blend containing leaves from 2009 might explain this.