Mixing teas again

Continuing my sample eradication, yesterday I drank the remaining piece of Zhongcha traditional character bing given to me by my friend YP in Hong Kong.

A really clean, but unremarkable, piece of tea. It’s about 5g, not really enough for my pot. So I decided to add a few small pieces of the Guangyungong broken bits that I bought in Hong Kong and see what happens.

The tea first brewed very lightly

But it then deepened into a nice red colour

Notice, though, that you can still see the sediments. The liquor, though dark, is very very clear. The picture doesn’t really do a good job of showing that.

The taste of the tea is a mix of the two. There’s the more fragrant plummy taste of the Zhongcha cake, and then the blander sweetness mixed in with the bamboo wrapping taste of the GYG. My girlfriend thought it was an unsuccessful mix, as they lost their individual characters and turned into a mix of taste. I must admit it probably could’ve been mixed better, but I thought in some ways the tea wasn’t bad at all.

The pieces were too broken for good pictures of the wet leaves, although it is obvious that the Zhongcha tea was better stored with more flexible/nicer looking leaves, while the cheap GYG pieces had darker and stiffer ones. I also think it could be partly a function of the different varietals used, with the GYG using Guangdong tea leaves that age differently compared with the Yunnan ones.

Now I’m wondering what to drink for today….


Comments

Mixing teas again — 4 Comments

  1. Out of curiosity: How many infusions did you get out of the leaves? How long was the infusion that yielded the darker liquor shown?

    Guang Yun Gong (Vë…Ø•) is made from Guangdong tea leaves… are you sure?¡¡Void of the Yunnan ingredients, shouldn’t it more appropriately be a Guangdong Bing (V–|ïž)?

    Somehow I think that, given its age (thus loss of water weight) and tight compression, even a 5g ZCTC is quite brewable by itself. I think that’s about how much I would throw in anyway — but then¡¡the teapot I use is really small, like barely enough for two mini-cups.

  2. My teapot is probably double the size of yours, as it would pour 3-4 minicups. 5g is 5g no matter the compression, no? 🙂

    The infusion that yielded the darker liquor? Hmmm, don’t remember. 20-30s? I didn’t keep track, to be honest, but it was an early one and my infusions did not go over 30s until much, much later. I got probably a good 20 infusions before I gave up. The tea could’ve gone on a bit more (some of it was still a bit tightly rolled together because of the ZCTC’s compression, as I discovered after pulling the leaves out).

    You’re right, I should’ve called it the Guangdong bing, as that’s pretty much what it is (although there are some potential 60s GYG mixed in, because the bits I bought is actually a mix of 60s/70s/80s cakes). Somehow, though, in the English community GYG has been the more accepted name for all the Guangdong bings, even if they’re from 70s or later (possibly because the first time it came up in Houde’s site it was 70s cakes that he called GYG).

  3. 5g is, of course, 5g; what I was trying to say is that even a little bit of ZCTC goes a long way. Having said that, I must also admit that some of its attributes only become apparent when a good amount of leaves is used: I, being usually stingy, am often reminded of that.

    Unscrupolous tea merchants are known to try to sell Guangdong Bings as Guang Yun Gong Bings — not that I am saying Houde or whomever you got yours from is doing so. (While we’re on that subject, I do find some of Houde’s recent offerings a bit questionable — what do you know about those 2006 Taipei Tea Expo mushrooms and iron cakes?)

    BTW: What you relayed to us about Puerh prices taking a dive is now being picked up by the mainstream news media. 50% drop in the last month and the bottom is nowhere near!

  4. Yes, ZCTC is best when brewed in strength, but since this was the last bit of it, I have no more of it to brew :(. The best infusions were the late ones where I left the water in the pot for minutes on end… the really nice aroma of the ZCTC shone through. Sigh, I wish I have whole cakes of this stuff.

    Actually, the bits I bought were just labelled “Buzhinian”. I can tell they are Guangdong bings because of the edge of the bing that is quite distinctive, and the owner of the store affirms that they are, indeed, Guangdong bings. I somehow have a separation of mental faculty when I say GYG in English and Guangdong bing in Cantonese.

    I am in no position to comment on Houde’s recent offerings, as I don’t have any of them, but I must say I’ve never heard of the mushroom or the small 100g version of the Taipei Expo cakes… I’ve only ever seen or heard of the 400g regular cakes.

    As for puerh prices — there’s an interesting article I’ve been meaning to translate that I think is quite fascinating. I should do it soon.

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