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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from yesterday but after airing out this sample I tasted very different more pleasing but still not to my tastes. This time the mineral and “autumn leaf pile” went away but the buttery roundness stayed. From what I remember it was slightly sweet and vegetal light a par-grilled zucchini, I could taste the slightly astringent seeds of the fruit also the lightly bitter skin. Not talking bulang bitter but slightly noticeable although it was rounded out but a herbaceous buttery smoothness not cream or thick but the flavors seems to transition smoothly as if I was tasting a buttered vegetable not saying it tasted like butter nor did it have a thick buttery texture. While not a bad tea I just may not like jingmai terrior I still have a few other samples to chug from bannacha from their jingmai harvest so we shall see.
Not only are flavors subjective from person to person based on their memories and associations but even in this short period of storage the tastes changed within one person’s perception of one tea has changed dramatically. I remember when I first started drinking teas if I tasted a tea once I would make a binding decision in that exact moment. It seems that definitive opinions can’t be truly formed until you have not only changed brewing parameters(time, temperature, vessel) but also water type, our body’s hydration(I tend to be dehydrated which is the equlivent of your taste buds having a cold so I always try to carefully breathe in the stream from the kettle to moisten my nasal and throat passages), but also storage. I am not talking small barely noticeable minuscule changes, with this tea originally it tasted like sucked on a metallic rack after cleaning a leaf pile super minerally super “autumn leaf pile” now it was a slightly under cooked caramelized herbed butter fried zucchini.
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Herbaceous, Zucchini
No reference point
This is my first jingmai was I not sure how to rate it. The leaves are supposedly spring gushu so I assume this is a good a place to start as any. The dry leaves smelled of salad greens and slight tobacco coupled with a more dominant “young sheng pu” smell. The first few steepings were muddled with the teas potential. The tea had a decent amount of complexity unfortunately it was not a flavor profile I enjoy. The dominant flavor reminded me of fall not that I am claiming autumn harvest but the raw leaves literally tasted like when I was a child raking leaves and remember getting some accidentally in my mouth. It was not the sheng puer leaves taste I am familiar with closer to whatever tree leaves we have here in north america. The first few steepings I tasted a slight bitterness similar to bitter green vegetables nothing unbearable and a quick astringency. Also I tasted a strong mineral/wet stone mid way through (maybe this is the gushu root system) and followed by a slight woodiness it finished with a super quick sweetness that you’d miss if you blinked. The body was not super heavy although the viscosity pouring from the gaiwan was on the slow end. After the 4rd steeping or so the astringency vanished but a slight leave bitterness remained. Towards the end of the session the sweetness become more apparent although still not super intense or long lasting, it is still hiding behind the main taste of “fall” leaf. I hope this is not the jingmai profile while the memories the taste invoked of childhood were pleasant the taste maybe me think of stopping raking to spit out leaves in a dramatic manner. Forgot to mention in the earlier steepings the liquor did slide down the sides of the tongue but only slightly. The cha qi was calm and soothing with a slow creeping effect that I almost didnt notice had it not been so bright outside(mild fish eye lens vision).
While I do not dislike this tea and see some of its admirable qualities I will not be purchasing any of this especially since I have a few more jingmai samples from william of bannacha to go through.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mineral, Wet Rocks
This was the last tea I tried from my recent order from Bannacha. I somehow did not expect much from it. Man was I surprised! I brewed this and removed the gaiwan lid and I was blown away by the aroma. Just as beautiful as the aroma was the sweet liquor that brought a smile to my face. This is an absolutely gorgeous tea! I ordered samples of this and the Autumn 2012 Lao Man E, a 2012 Autumn Xiao Yang Chun, and a larger sample of the 2012 Gu Yun. These will all be purchased in cake form and I can recommend them all without hesitation.