A Tea Addict's Journal

Monday October 16, 2006

October 16, 2006 · 4 Comments

I brewed up the sample that Phyll gave me (via BBB). It is the Changtai Factory Yiwu Zhengpin.

The pictures are of the solid piece in the sample, but I ended up using the loose stuff first, figuring that I’d leave the solid piece for another time.

The tea brewed a fairly dark infusion for a two year old.

And the colour of the tea stayed more or less the same throughout — I made about 7-8 infusions before stopping

Somehow, something is not quite right with this tea. I can’t really put my finger on it. The tea has some interesting notes — chocolate, woody, there’s a little hint of that leathery/woody taste from the Yuanyexiang, but a tiny hint only. There’s some smoke in the first two or three infusions that goes away. There’s also a bit of tartness in the first few infusions that also go away. The liquor is thinner than the other puerhs I’ve had recently. It is also rougher — less “round” as a tea. When drunk, it feels a little rough and the tongue doesn’t feel smooth, instead, it gets a bit dry. The same is true for the throat. I got somewhat thirsty after drinking a few infusions of this. There were also one or two infusions where my throat felt prickly, but in the nice, smooth, cooling way that a top notch tea does, but in a slightly unpleasant way. I’m not sure if this is because of the storage, or if it’s the tea. There’s a basic lack of a nice aftertaste.

The overall impression is that the aromas of the tea are a bit diffused — it’s a bit all over the place. I also have a lingering suspicion that this is, somehow, mixed in with some green tea — tea that has been processed at too high a temperature during the “kill green” process. There is, somewhere along the way, a reminder that it tastes like green tea, but perhaps a few years old green tea. I’m not really sure if that’s actually the case, but somehow, it doesn’t strike me as a pleasant thing.

Some of the dry leaves are charcoal like — black and breaks easily. When I unfurled the largest leaf in this sample (almost 2 inches long!) somehow wrapped in the leaf was a bunch of tiny black bits…. I’m not sure what it is.

The cake, when I saw pictures of it, look nice enough. The taste, however, doesn’t hold up.

Thanks, Phyll, for the sample. I’m not sure what to make of it. Maybe it is affected a bit by the traveling? Or maybe the tea really just wasn’t that good? BBB told me you guys brewed this with slightly cooler water, so that might have affected how it tastes. The way this came out here…. reminds me of a green tea. That’s usually not a good thing, afaik, for long term aging prospects.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • davelcorp // October 16, 2006 at 1:57 pm | Reply

    I’ve had that drying affect with several chang Tai products. I wonder if it is to do with their proccessing?

  • MarshalN // October 16, 2006 at 2:18 pm | Reply

    I noticed the same thing when BBB and I tasted a Yichang hao cake from 05, supposedly a good one too. Very drying, felt rather nasty, actually.

    I have been told that Changtai stuff went downhill since about 04 onwards, especially in 05 and on because they reorganized from “Changtai Teahouse” to “Changtai Tea Group, Inc” or something like that…. with a huge expansion in production and seemingly a consequent drop in quality 🙁 Next trip to Maliandao I’m going to go search out some earlier stuff to taste and see if it’s any good.

    Something like 50 tonnes of this particular cake was made. Makes you wonder how good it can possibly be.

  • Phyllo // October 17, 2006 at 6:50 pm | Reply

    50 tonnes…that’s close to 18,800 tongs or 125,000 beengs.  That’s a very big production volume that ensures batch-to-batch difference.  If you can obtain a cake cheaply there, perhaps you can compare it with this sample that I bought from Guang, and see if it’s any different.  Sorry you didn’t like it.  I found it quite pleasant at BBB’s place.

  • MarshalN // October 17, 2006 at 11:53 pm | Reply

    I might just do that — or at least give it a taste at a store and compare it with what I tried here.

    I found the aftertaste (or lackthereof) most objectionable, and the way it sort of made my tongue/throat uneasy

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