Every tea outing in Shanghai seems to be a long tea tasting session, mostly because it tends to be with more people and also because L’s place has a lot of different kinds of tea… today is no different. Quite a few of us were there, including Bearsbearsbears, L, and J.
We mostly drank Bearsbearsbears’ teas today, stuff he brought back from Taiwan.
We started with the 2003 Wild Yiwu from Stephane Erler, which BBB got a sample of. The leaves are a bit dark, but nothing too distinctive. We had a lot of people, so we used a big gaiwan with about 10-11g of tea in there. I flaked the piece as best I could, layering it so that none of the leaves are broken unnecessarily.
The tea is very smooth and sweet, and very drinkable right now. It’s got an odd flavour, with little bitterness and no astringency. In fact, it doesn’t taste like puerh at all, of any kind, that I’ve had. The polite way of saying this is that this is different, the not so polite way is to say this is probably not puerh done in the traditional way. The leaves are very broken, despite my best efforts, and were quite chopped up. Although the flavours are generally pleasant, they are thin, and weak, and stay only on the tongue with absolutely no aftertaste of any kind. Not exactly a good tea in my opinion, but good for those who want to drink their puerh now (not that I’m sure this is actually a puerh), but if you are paying that kind of money for one cake to drink now…. why not buy an oolong? Much nicer in taste.
Then we had two teas by Chen Zhitong, the guy who wrote The Profound World of Chi-Tse. The first is a “Yiwu” wild tea, supposedly, which consists of what seems like older leaves that is generally cosnidered as lower grade stuff. The taste is a little spicy initially, with some aftertaste in the throat, and a deeper flavour than Erler’s tea. Still a bit weird, and sourness developed after a few infusions. It’s a bit of an odd tea, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever buy something like that.
The second one is better. It’s got a good, strong aftertaste, a full flavour, and very nice qi that was immediately obvious. Not too expensive for what it is (something like $20 USD or so). I liked it, and if I see it, I might buy it, but that will have to wait till Taiwan at the second half of this year. Both of these teas were brewed using about the same amount of tea.
Then…. it was a tea by Zhou Yu, the owner of Wisteria in Taipei. It was an interesting tea — very long leaves, and apparently quite prized by Zhou Yu. Expensive, but quite good. We used very little leaves. The tea, though weak (because of the extremely low amount of leaves), was flavourful and interesting. Not sure I know how it will turn out in a few years though… gotta give it to the Taiwanese for making up all these new gimmicks. I think I am more conservative and just want to have more regular teas.
The last one was a loose puerh from Zhou Yu as well, from the 60s, supposedly. It’s cheap… and the reason is clear. It tastes cooked, for some reason, and I think it’s just a poorly stored tea that basically got cooked over time. It’s nice, and very drinkable, and for the price is not bad at all. It’s just not what you might be hoping for in a 60s tea if you were imaginging some great stuff. Good, and nice 🙂
So thanks to BBB for all the teas…. and we might meet again before I leave, or if I decide to come back to Shanghai after going back to Beijing.