A Tea Addict's Journal

Tuesday June 20, 2006

June 20, 2006 · 1 Comment

More sampling today: another sample from Hou De. If nothing else, being able to buy sample size is a nice thing

Today I’m doing the Xizhihao Lao Banzhang cake, 2005. This is made by a Taiwanese company called Sanhetang, and they’re one of those who claim to be using older methods and recipes to make tea. The cakes themselves look rather nice, with old, big leaves layered on the surface, and from the looks of the dry leaf, the whole cake is made of the same sort of leaves.

Pen for scale

The tea itself, when brewed, yields a slightly smoky flavour in the first few brews. There’s a certain amount of astringency, and some gan in the back. There are also some notes of fruit and floral tones, but they’re rather subdued at this point, mostly in the aftertaste. In fact, the bitterness (not a very unpleasant one) stays quite long until maybe the 6th infusion, where the tea turns into a sweeter taste.

First infusion

Second infusion

Brewed leaves, what Chinese call, literally, “tea base”

The most defining characteristics, I think, is the strong presence of chaqi. The chaqi is very strong in this tea, and every cup I drink I can sort of feel it through the sweats that I am breaking, as well as a general power of the tea that doesn’t really show in any other way. At one point I had to grab some snack to eat, and an hour after that, I ended up making dinner, because it was simply too much for me to continue drinking.

I’m still going on with I think the 11th or the 12th infusion. It’s got a few more of these long infusions left. Very good.

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