Well, today was another qingxiang tieguanyin day. I thought I wasn’t going to have any more, but a newly made friend over at ChaDao sent me some 2005 spring pick tieguanyin that he wanted me to try. So here I am, giving it a try before I head off tomorrow to a friend’s wedding in Syracuse.
The tea comes in small individual packs. Here, I will digress a little and talk about this packaging method. While it is great that it keeps the tea fresher and lets you open them in small batches instead of all at once, it does have the slight problem that if your pot or gaiwan happens to be of the wrong size, i.e. one bag is not enough for it, and two bag is a little too much, then you’re in a bit of a bind. Do you use one and half bag? Then you leave half a bag out, you have to keep it around until the next time you drink it again. It’s a bit of a dilemma, and I decided that since it’s only a shade too much, I went with two bags (one is way too little for my pot).
The tea itself is very green, and upon opening, it smells great. That familiar, slightly “buttery” smell of qingxiang tieguanyin is very distinctive. The leaves still look very fresh, as no doubt the double wrapping (there’s a small bag inside the individual wraps) has done a good job of keeping the tea in nice condition.
As I brewed it and tasted the first brew, the immediate thought was that this tastes remarkably similar to the tieguanyin I got in Beijing this time. That was supposed to be an autumn pick, while this is a spring, but the tastes are still rather alike. This one is slightly more oxidized — but only slightly. First infusion leaves a very vegetal flavour, which fades away after the second. The third, usually the best for tieguanyin, was quite nice. There’s a decent bit of cha qi, as I started to break a little sweat while drinking, although the aftertaste is a little meek. That, if anything, is the part that’s a little disappointing. The liquor is also a shade more yellow than the stuff from Beijing, but then, the difference in lighting (this one I had at night) could be the difference. They are, by and large, rather comparable.
It’s hard to compare it with the tieguanyin that I got from Beijing this time without me trying the Beijing stuff again (since I’ve only had it once as well). It will be more instructive if I tried them together, in a gaiwan, and give them a taste test that way. Unfortuantely, by myself, that’ll involve drinking a good amount of tea that I don’t wish to do, for fear of getting drunk. I will certainly give my own Beijing stuff another shot to see how it compares.
No matter what, this is still a very nice tea to drink, so many thanks to my friend for the free tea. It is nice to meet like-minded people who are interested in this great hobby (or addiction).