25 April, 2007

2004 Six Famous Tea Mountains (6FTM)

Spring is most definitely with us.

Merely opening the lounge window results in the beautiful scents of flowers; it is as if this city, with all of its traffic problems, has suddenly decided to bloom. It doesn't shout to make itself known, it just is, almost overnight, quietly transformed into a thing of beauty.
Come o'er the eastern hills,
and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumed garments;
let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath;
scatter thy pearls
Upon our love-sick land
that mourns for thee.

"To Spring"
William Blake

The unfortunate middle photograph is placed here by Xiaomao's express request, in which she caught me firmly buried in our tea-cupboard, much like Winnie the Pooh stuck in his burrow as he tries to extract a pot of honey...

Today, it's shengpu - thanks to VL for this sample. It's the 6FTM standard label, indicating that this is likely to be an unspecified blend of varying plantations and grades.

We're out of our usual spring water for today, and so we're using Evian. It will be interesting to see how a high-note emphasiser like Evian will affect the young shengpu.

20cl shengpu pot; Evian @ 100C; 2 scoops; 1 rinse

Dry leaves:
A pretty mix of decent, whole leaves, mainly of smaller grades, with a sizable number of silver tips, happily enough. There's even a small tea-fruit, which looks very much like a clove.

10s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 40s:
Yellow-orange, with a very dirty first infusion. The soup is filled with silver fur, but there is also a fine sediment at the bottom of the gongdaobei, which vanishes after the first infusion. Perhaps a shupu-style 2 rinses will be required for this, next time.

There is a tangy, cigar-like note running through the beidixiang, which is present in the aftertaste. Immediately, the presence of several competing flavours is apparent, a jumbled collection of various experiences reflecting the presumably mixed nature of the bing.

Lots of oil, coating the lips and tongue with a smooth sensation that lasts for the first few infusions. This might well be due to the presence of tip-fur, as the oleaginous sensation dies away as the soup contains less and less fur with successive infusions. The smoothness reminded me of the tippy hongcha from YS, that we encountered a while ago.

Used leaves:
Some chopped, a lot of whole leaves, but all rather small. Signs of some low levels of oxidation in the red colour about the edges of the leaves, as befits its younger age. Some tips, looking very much like the zhuyeqing tips from neighbouring Sichuan plantations.

Overall:
Strong, simple, with benefits of its tippy character fading after the first few infusions. This tea delivers a punch which has to be controlled - erring on the side of caution with infusion times is the only way to avoid a brew that can be rough in the throat. Later infusions see this roughness taking precedence over the broad array of corn- and malt-like flavours from earlier brews. Be conservative with this one. Much like the 2006 6FTM, it has the potential to get very frisky, very quickly.

The Evian is a good match for this tea, taking away some of the bass-note roughness, and emphasising what little top-notes are present in the aroma and flavour of this unambiguous and up-front tea.

6 comments:

Steven Dodd said...

I still love your tea setup. It's like having a wet bar but for tea. Teas stashed away behind the tea sea, you sit there, master of your dominion, brewing up some drinks for guests in a gaiwan or yixing instead of a cocktail shaker. I'll consider this sort of setup in the future (along with a wet bar ;)

Bill said...

I also have to comment on your Chado. Very nice! As for your review, your like a John Steinbeck having the ability to desribe taste to perfection. Thanks!

MarshalN said...

How about bitterness? Did you detect any, and where, and how much?

I take it there wasn't much huigan?

I will have to remember not to burrow myself into the tea cupboard while the girlfriend is around!

Hobbes said...

Hi chaps,

Thanks for the posts! The teahouse in London that I visited recently had an excellent "wet bar", which the owner likened to Japanese/HK style. It was metallic, which isn't really my preference, but was very sociable indeed.

Marshal,

There was a great amount of bitterness in the finish. It might make this a good cake for aging, in combination with the broadness of flavours present certainly in the first few infusions - but it didn't strike me as standing out from the crowd. What was pleasant, in terms of huigan, was the silkiness imparted by the tips - it was a very pleasantly textured young shengpu, excepting the tendency to get rough in the finish.

Wise words on regarding your good lady...


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

vl. said...

Interesting... actually I don't remember this one, then again all 6FTM stuff seems to taste oddly similar...

Here too the flowers are really taking over - bluebells, endless trees... I feel quite lucky not the be allergic to them - they're everywhere.

:)

-vl.

Hobbes said...

V,

No kidding, they're the "English Breakfast" of pu'er. They seem to have repeatability down to a fine art... ;)


Toodlepip,

D