A Tea Addict's Journal

Tuesday October 17, 2006

October 17, 2006 · 2 Comments

First of all — a partial retraction of what I said yesterday about the Yiwu. I’ll explain why later.

I brewed up the Xizihao 1997 Yiwu sample that I have leftover from Guang. Ever since we went to the Mengku store to buy the puerh, the leftover sample has been sitting in my chahe, because I had to empty some sort of a bag to put the loose 30 years puerh in there. That ended up being the bag I emptied, so I had the loose leaves sitting there for…. at least a week now.

Here’s the guilty party.

Of course, the only way to solve that problem is to drink it!

So I brewed it up in my pot. Hmmmm, quite nice. It goes down well, nice aromas up front, something really fragrant. Compared to the Zhenchunya Hao that I had with BBB, this one is more “orthodox” in taste. Spicy, flavourful.. I’m not really sure how to describe the taste. The liquor is a little thin…. YP is right, the tea is a bit on the thing side of things compared to some other cakes I’ve had recently. Also, the pleasant sensation does NOT extend down to the throat… stopping somewhere near the back of my mouth. That might have to do with how much tea there is though — I’d normally add a tad more than what I did today, but I don’t have any more.

Infusion 1

Then something happened in infusion 3-4 and the taste changed a bit. A bit more fruity, a bit more like the Zhenchunya Hao. Less spicy. When I picked up the lid and smelled… something funny, it smells almost like baby powder, or a woman’s makeup. I have no idea how this smell came into the tea, but that’s how it smells. Maybe this is some sort of flower? I’m not sure what flower smells like this. Very fragrant, very nice.

The reason I said I will retract some of the things is because this reminds me a little of the Yiwu I had yesterday. This one is far better, of course, but there is a hint of what was in yesterday’s tea in tihs brew. I’m not sure what it is. I didn’t even use the same vessel (I brewed in a gaiwan yesterday), but somehow, something reminds me…

Then again, the unpleasant effects of yesterday’s tea makes it fairly undesirable, despite the nice notes. Maybe it’s a storage problem? I’m really not sure here.

Anyway, back to the tea… in infusions 7-8, something happened again. The “big” flavours faded, and instead, something ELSE familiar is showing up…. what I tasted in the Mengku cakes the past few days. This taste is fresh on my mind, because I’ve been puzzling over how to describe it. Davelcorp calls it woody/leathery, maybe a bit like chocolate… I’m not sure what it is, but it’s a complex and memorable flavour. But why is it showing up here? I thought that was a “Mengku” taste that pervades their products, but apparently not. What’s it doing here?

Could it be that THIS is what supposedly wild tea tastes like, as people have always claimed, or at least, this is a component of wild tea taste?

That seems to be the most logical explanation, as the Yiwu here claims to be old wild trees. I can’t explain what this taste is doing here otherwise. I didn’t put the cakes together with my chahe. It’s been sitting on my shelf for the whole time, while the cakes are in another room. Somehow, I don’t think they crossed flavours. This is not a taste that I’ve found in all my aged puerh either, so it can’t be an across the board aged puerh thing.

Hmmmm, food for thought. Now I wonder how this wild taste is like when it’s only a year old. I want to go back to the Mengku store and try their new stuff to see what it’s like.

Davelcorp, you’ve tried the Yuanyexiang. If you have a leftover sample of this 97 Yiwu, let me know if you find this taste. I don’t think I am making things up here. I just had another sip of the leftover brew that I use to wash my pot with …. it’s definitely that same taste.

Anyway, here are the leaves when done:

I always wonder if there’s something I can do with them other than throwing them away.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • Phyllo // October 17, 2006 at 6:54 pm | Reply

    The leaves are very good looking, dry and wet.  Talcum is usually the word I use to associate that kind of baby powder / woman’s make-up taste.  It’s the one characteristics I almost always find in — actually — good, traditional Italian Chianti red wines.

  • MarshalN // October 17, 2006 at 11:51 pm | Reply

    Ah, yes, talcum, I suppose, is the word.

    But it’s less artificial smelling than the baby powder smell…. and much more alluring. I kept lifting the lid to smell the damn thing.

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