Yet still it is hard for me to understand that-typical-wuliang-character (if any such thing can be defined). Some teas I could have mistaken for Jingmai products, others resembled Ailaoshan teas. Strange enough- Wuliangshan's western neighbour the Jinggu area always appeared to me to be absolutely unmistakeable.
If you are searching for something like a tea area's signature character, perhaps it might be a good idea to immerse yourself fully in that area. As I don't have the opportunity to go there in person, my Wuliangshan expedition will take place at my teatable here in boring old Germany. A variety of teas from Wuliang is on its way to me from Yunnan Sourcing, but before the grand scale comparison commences, I am easing into the topic by tasting samples given to me by tea friends.
|Luke's Wuliangshan Tea|
A few days back Luke and I spent an evening enjoying some teas. Luke unwrapped a sample of a Wuliang 2010 sheng which is unfortunately sold out at all the online shops we searched. Believe me, we searched THOROUGHLY as befits such a satisfying tea. Surprisingly dark for a 2010 harvest, the leaves had a warm, full and sweet fragrance. In the cup the tea performed marvellously: it had so much body, you might even call it chewy. The taste was a vast blend of sweet memories. Luke was reminded of fruit compote he had in his childhood and I found flavours of my favourite pipe tobacco back from my smoking days. There was also the slightly smoky and fruity sweetness of grilled bellpeppers - a trait I find in both Ailao and Wuliang teas. What a fantastic tea! Luke implored me to let him know if my Wuliang-expedition discovered something similar.
Well Luke, better brace yourself for some bad news: I found just what we are looking for.
Today I am having a little session with a sample of "Wuliang Wild Purple 2009" from Essence of Tea (thanks a million, Miig!)
Looking at the dark leaves I was instantly reminded of the above mentioned 2010 Wuliang. Was that tea a purple leaf variety too? Then sniffing the dry leaves I was nearly knocked out by a fruity sweetness interwoven in a full tobacco body. To make a long story short: this tea is at least as good as the one Luke and I shared. Add a healthy helping of muscat grape aroma to all my enthusiasm about the 2010 Wuliang and you will only be halfways to the pleasure I get from this tea.
|seems the photograph's quality is reciprocal to the teas perormance - sorry!|
Luke, it is time to brave the bad news: this tea, the Tea you have been looking for, is sold out, too. I will keep the second half of my sample so we can share it next month.
Note to myself: don't shy away from purple teas, though they are ... purple (yuck).