30 April, 2007

2005 Awashan Maocha

This sample comes from the Awazon Tea Co., via the plentifully shengtastic auspices of VL - thanks, as ever!

Awazon is a non-standard rendering of "Awashan", the region in southwest Yunnan around the Lincang area, home to the Wa minority. Not only is Awashan, as far as I can tell, a region, it is also a mountain (pictured below).


Information about this tea company is non-existent, and I would welcome anything readers might be able to offer. They make their own bingcha, but there seems to be no consist region: some comes from the Menghai-area, some from Bulang, some is simply designated "Yunnan" - a bit like "Bordeaux" appellation wine, being the lower-quality catch-all.

20cl shengpu pot; Evian @ 100C; two "pinches"; 1 rinse.

Leaves:
Long and natural, pressed together like matted clumps of dog-hair. Tippy and green, befitting its youth and unprocessed nature. VL warned that this is potent, and so I'm conservative with leaf.

10s, 15s, 25s, 25s, 40s, 60s, 75s, 90s, 120s:
Pale yellow. A short, sharp shock of sour grapefruit in the beidixiang, and then instantly nothing.

My initial fear of overbrewing led to far too much conservatism: we ended up tripling the quantity of leaf to reach a good strength. It seems almost impossible to overbrew this tea, in fact, reminding me of some roasted wulong.

There is a good texture to this tea, feeling smooth in the mouth, but absolutely no flavour except for considerable sweetness married with constant sourness. The aroma is eternally limited to three seconds of medicinal camphor aroma; I defy anyone to get more enduring aroma from this leaf. The lengxiang is merely... warm air.

Used leaves:
So beautiful, I don't believe that the photograph does them justice: whole, appealing leaves, with a touch of red oxidation about the edges. Excellent hand-picked stems, with a fair number of tips presumably contributing to the smooth texture.

Overall:
This is, perhaps, the most one-dimensional shengpu I have encountered: it is nothing but that constant sweet-and-sour flavour from beginning to end, with absolute repeatability and consistency. This tea is a blender's dream: it is like a tube of reliable single-colour paint, from which a more colourful result might be obtained through combination with other colours.

Behaviour throughout the nine infusions was constant. The lack of interest in this tea, the thinness of character, makes us wonder if this is evidence of overfarming. It is about as complex as rock (geologists - let's pretend rocks are not complex, for the purposes of illustration).

Fascinating. Not excessively enjoyable, but fascinating.

5 comments:

MarshalN said...

From what I know this is tea that are usually bunched up in little bundles by the locals and drunk as is, no pressing into cake or any sort of nonsense like that. I have a feeling that properly speaking, this is not puerh at all. Nowadays, anything from Yunnan is puerh. It's crazy.

As for Awazon, they are simply a relatively big tea store with shops on Ebay and Taobao. I suppose he must be quite well established now.

Hobbes said...

This was an interesting tea - it tasted like one particular note removed from the pu'er orchestra, and played constantly, at high volume.

Regaridng Awazon, I noticed that they have their own branding on many of the cakes - certainly an unusual move for an eBay seller. I imagine that their neifei aren't as decent as those recently created by BBB... ;)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

quetzalqoatl said...

Isn't this http://www.pu-erhtea.com their site?

vl. said...

I found these to be quite odd too... but not quite as odd as the "mao cha" from YSLLC which tastes like steeped grass... :)

-vl.

Hobbes said...

Quetz,

A great find! That does indeed look to be Awazon Tea Company.


V,

It's not a million miles away from kudingcha...


Toodlepip,

Hobbes