I drank a sample today sent to me from a guy in Tainan. It’s a Chenyuan Hao Yiwu, which is one of those Taiwanese teahouses that does their own cakes. I think this one is from 2002 or something, although I can’t quite remember exactly when. Regardless…
You can see it’s the “aged a bit” look. It also smells “aged a bit”, definitely dry stored.
The first picture is of the second infusion, and the second is of about… 6th? Something like that. The tea is surprisingly bitter for what it’s worth. I remember I reviewed it a long time ago, pretty much when I first arrived in Beijing, and thought it to be very drying. I thought it had to do with Beijing storage… but apparently not. In this sample, even though stored in Tainan, definitely a wet place, the tea is STILL drying… by about the third infusion my throat was drying up, and feeling rather uncomfortable. Even though the flavours of the tea was fine — a bit sweet, with dried plums taste, and in the third infusion, I thought for a second I was drinking a fizz-free coca-cola — the feeling of the tea was definitely unpleasant.
It did improve after about 6-7 infusions to a better taste, but given the unpleasant feeling early on, it made me think that the tea was simply not worth it, even if it’s cheap. Especially considering that yesterday’s tea was so smooth and without any of these problems, I can’t say I enjoyed today’s sample, generous though it was from the guy who sent it out, as I think this tea is not cheap now.
Looking at the leaves… I wonder if it’s even big tree tea. There was definitely some “throat feel” (anybody got a better name for this feeling? I can’t think of one) it was…. too bitter and astringent.