One of the best things to result from my reorganization of my tea closet is that, finally, I can actually find a tea I want to drink without having to rummage through piles of bags, mostly unmarked. I separated everything into different categories, and the categories all have their own shelf. Now when I want to drink something specific, such as the dahongpao I bought from very early on in 2006 during one of my earliest trips to Maliandao, I can actually find it.
If I remembered correctly, this tea is actually not cheap, although not too expensive either. The tea is, supposedly, used by one of the national banquet halls as a tea that they use to treat foreign dignitaries. My understanding is that the shop owner (who is also the person who owns the factory in Wuyishan) has some guanxi with somebody who is connected to the banquet hall, and got the tea in there. It’s a nice marketing tool though, and ensures higher prices.
Is the tea any good?
I remember when I first tried it, it was decent. The price wasn’t so high that it would deter me from buying any. I don’t, however, remember it to be spectacular. It was merely very solid, very representative of a dahongpao, and quite nice overall. When I brewed it today, I had very few expectations, since I haven’t really tried this tea since late 2006 (or, for that matter, haven’t had a Wuyi tea for at least a month). When I first sipped it, a rather pleasant rush of flavours flowed into my mouth, as if enveloping it entirely and then made its way down my throat. It is a nice surprise, since the tea seems much better than I remembered. Wuyi teas, or roasted teas in general, should be rested for at least a few months after roasting before you drink it. I seem to remember the roasting taste was much stronger when I bought this tea, but right now, I can’t taste any of it. Instead, it was a very pleasant “rock” aftertaste that lingers for a long time in the mouth, staying around and delivering that flavour and feeling that you look for in a good Wuyi tea. I think it is things like aftertaste that really help me determine whether or not a tea is superior or merely good, and this tea is, I think, superior.
As a side note, I just realized, looking at my album of tea pictures, that for the most part the stuff I’m drinking these days all look rather similar, especially in terms of liquor colour. I wonder if it’s sort of pointless to post such pictures anymore. Originally I had intended such things for record keeping purposes, but maybe it’s not even worth keeping such records.
Before I decide to ditch such things, however, I will continue with things like this
Which is not quite like the other stuff I’ve been drinking, since it is notably greener, I think, than my usual fare these days. Despite its colour, the taste is hardly green. I probably should’ve gotten a little more of it, but then, I already have too much if I am only going to drink it once every two years.