7 Tasting Notes
I have had sessions with these nuggets a couple of times, which I have enjoyed greatly. It is a fantastic tea packing a wallop of a qi that just about knocked my co-worker off his chair when I shared it with him.
I wish I had taken some proper notes prior, but today I did something different with it following a string of straight steepings. I decided to make Hong Kong-style milk tea. I boiled the nuggets in a pan of water with a measure of Sheng Shan Xiao Zhong reducing it to a thick broth, near to a syrup. I then added milk and some sugar direct to the pan for another few minutes before filtering out the leaf.
I have to say the nuggets worked exceptionally well, creating a deep musty base which cut through the dairy and sugar without the slightest hesitation. It was definitely one of the best interpretations I have made since returning home from my visit to China last year. It was just the warming I needed on this cold and blustery day.
I steeped this tea over the course of two consecutive days. I started yesterday morning, but found myself running late to work, and needing to abandon the session much to my dismay. I actually found it hard to pull myself away from the tea, and admittedly, had a bit of a sulk while getting ready.
While there was a decidedly humid aroma and flavor with the initial steepings, it quickly dissipated by the third steeping. The tea at all points of the session was remarkably clean however, never muddy.
The liquor was thick and coating well into the latter part of the second day. It presented an exceptional level of vaporous camphor, vaguely reminiscent of a blue basil which I planted this past summer in my yard.
The sweetness of the broth grew in intensity throughout the two sessions until the leaves were thoroughly spent.
One of the last, and for some reason most memorable, notes I detected was musty rose.
The tea was incredibly calming. I remained in a languorous state for some time following the second session this morning. I think I could possibly still taste the broth if I coaxed my memory hard enough to recall it some 5 hours on…
I was looking for a tea to drink this morning that would counter a bit of the down mood I find myself in today thanks to having to deal with a cold which was handed off to me during the week. :(
I knew I wanted something aged to relax and warm, so I turned to this 1970 Liu Bao from Camellia Sinensis. While the dry leaf was reluctant to give up any aroma in the cha he, it gave off a clean spiced woodiness when placed into the warmed gaiwan.
The liquor from the first steeping exhibited a beautiful reddish mahogany color. The broth possessed a pleasing viscosity with a slight oiliness. It was certainly not as substantial as some aged pu’er, but it filled the mouth nicely.
The flavor was a continuation of the delicate aromas the warmed leaf gave off, gentle, clean. There were notes of wood accented by the faintest taste and aroma of aged leather and camphor which paid some particular to the sinus cavity -thankfully. I detected some light anise sweetness sneaking through around the 4th and 5th steepings.
The qi of this tea was pleasant and calming. It was certainly nowhere near to the strength of the 1993 Menghai 7542 I had recently, but considering my state I feel this was a good thing. This tea definitely lifted the day with its calming spirit.
This tea is coursing through my veins at the moment which frankly may become an issue as I need to cycle to work in a bit. The coating in my mouth is generous, and appears to not have any immediate plans to dissipate. My temperature is elevated, my palms are sweaty, my head is… well, it’s really rather blissed out at the moment. I want to stay with this tea all day right now. My furry drinking companion is looking at me in the oddest fashion. She may be wondering why I look so oddly contented. :) Happy.
This Xingyang Golden Leaf, well, what more can be said about it at this point that has not already been said here below.
The flavor is exceptionally clean, earthy, mossy. Its’ complexity begins to stretch out into notes of molasses and pepper within three steepings. It delivers a mentholated sensation that expands from the hollows of your mouth into the sinus cavity where it sits quite contentedly. The broth coats the tongue, awakening it with a tingling sensation.
Within two steeps your body begins to slow, and by the third and fourth your feet and hands begin to tingle. I have done 8 steepings this afternoon, so you can assume how I am feeling at this point. I am planning a lengthier session for tomorrow morning.
I was actually considering a cold steep. Has anyone else done this with this pu’er, or any other? While in Beijing this past September I had just finished an incredible session with a sheng prepared by a tea master. I was about to leave for an appointment, and suddenly a small yixing pot was lifted from the side of the table and I was given a cold steeping that had been going for hours. In all honesty, I was scared that it was going to be beastly in flavor. It was however, quite the opposite. Despite being near to midnight black, the tea was exceptionally smooth, clean and sweet, and frankly a revelation. I had two porcelain cups full and stumbled out, tea drunk, into the night.
I posted on this tea at greater length on the EoT website, but wanted to make mention of it here as well. Oolongs were my intro to the culture of teas some years ago and will always have a special place in my heart because of that, however of recent I noted that my desire for them had begun to wane in favor of red or puerh. This tea however, changed this dramatically. I once again find myself looking for oolongs to steep.
While the aroma and taste of this tea are exceptionally complex (notes of roasted sugar cane, wood, earth…), it really is the effect of the cha qi that lingers with you at considerable length. During my first session with this tea, it sunk deep into my chest before radiating out into my limbs. It was so beautifully calming that I struggle to remember another time in my life that mirrors it. A truly outstanding tea that deserves attention.