Yes, I know - I should continue with the Darjeeling / Nepal series to let you know how the tea leaves are processed in the factories. But having had a delicious tea session last night with the above mentioned tea, I decided to interrupt the series for some tasting notes.
The "2007 CNNP 0701 HK" (found here) is an enigma to me:
Is CNNP still active? You find a lot of CNNP from the 1990s and earlier on, but after the privatization it seemd to me new companies like Dayi, Xiaguan, Fuhai and so forth had taken over the market.
Does the blend number 0701 imply that the leaves are even smaller than grade1? How comes the leaves on the bing's surface look non smaller than an 8582?
Is this tea marked "HK" exclusively meant for sale in Hongkong? I've read many times that Xiaguan produces some teas marked as "FT" (for Taiwan), using higher standards for these export goods.
But who really cares about these questions as long as the tea gives you pleasure? Last night I brewed it up in a Gaiwan, intending to write down tasting notes. But there were too many e-mails and TeeTalk posts to be answered to get a review done. Still I was impressed with the full bodied, savoury sweetness of this tea. So today I sat down with this tea again today - and was in for a suprise! Using the same equipment as yesterday, same water and just slightly less leaves, the results turned out quite different from last night.
The bing is pressed more firmly pressed than current fashion demands - yet not as iron tight as other bing I've tried. The leaves look nicely brownish - both silvery and golden tips are found ... and thanks heavens there are also some of the stalks I belief to lend body and substance to a sheng. Leaves on the surface seem big and intact, yet the inner layers of the bing reveal some fragmented leaves. In the preheated gaiwan a sweet and full bodied fragrance can be found with some traces of mint in the background. Please don't flame me if you think this does not belong on a blog without ager restriction, but the fullbodied and sweet scent reminds me of something wonderful: the most intimate female fragrance.
In my cup the first infusion is a deep yellow bordering on orange. Flavourwise it is really light - reminds me of young vegetables and some fresh tobacco. No fruitiness or other sweet elements to the taste, but a lingering presence after swallowing. When cooled a little, the tea seems quite mineralic with a pronounced aftertaste of mint.
Is this the same tea I had the night before?
Second infusion gave me some glimpses of sweetness, but locked away behind a metallic acidity. Yesterday I liked its taste much better, but today the sensation in my mouth is much more impressive: an envigorating tickling which builds up after swallowing. And the qi! Energizing and calming at once.
While writing this line, I am enjoying infusion number 12 - the best cup so far: sweetness, mineralic backbone, savoury body, syrupy mouthfeel, calming qi, longlasting aftertaste of cane sugar and virginia tobacco.
Okay, this tea seemed not as easily accessible as the Yongde Tengzi Cha. But then again it is not a rough ride on a stormy ocean like the Longrun Zhongmu. This is more like a dance (Tango?), courting, hinting and at last giving in to each other.
Thanks for reading, but I'll enjoy the following cups in total privacy!