We have two unannounced guests for morning tea.
This tea is sold by Yunnan Sourcing. This sample was kindly provided by CB. This is around $7/100g, and so is decidedly inexpensive.
Note that this is not the 2005 "Aged Just Enough" dianhong that Geraldo placed at the top of his epic hongcha review, appearing in the Yahoo "Tea-Disc" group near the end of 2006.
10cl hongcha pot; 2 scoops; Brita-filtered tap water @ 100C; 1 rinse.
Leaf: Very yellow, with a touch of green, reminiscent of Wimbledon's colours. A cloud of dust (fur?) erupts as the tea lands in the chahe. A malty aroma.
12s, 15s, 25s, 30s, 45s, 60s: Scott is well-placed to encounter good hongcha. Note that we have temporarily exhausted our supply of usual water, and so are using Brita-filtered mains water for this session. In line with previous water comparisons, we might expect a flattening of the flavour profile.
The beidixiang is a long, sour aroma of traditional Real Ale, which is very familiar and pleasant to me. If the English educational system is good for anything, it's an acclimatisation to old-fashioned ale.
The soup is cloudy, particularly so, and has a green tint in the first infusions, perhaps due to the prevalence of golden fur, from the buds.
To say that the texture of this tea is remarkable is quite an understatement. Xiaomao terms this "a mouthful of silk". It leaves a smooth residue throughout the mouth, quite in excess of any tea I have encountered before. "The scent of dianhong: sour, and fruity."
Waning of the texture and ale-like sourness occurs around the third infusion, which is the beginning of its gentle retreat into the background. The larger leaves present a bolder bass note at this point, with a hint of smokiness not unlike lapsang souchong [zhengshan xiaozhong].
Used leaves: many tiny tips, which may be opened to reveal the yet smaller leaf within. A fine grade, just as Scott stated. It's a pleasure to see accurate reporting in a vendor's tea description, which can (in other vendors) tend towards hyperbole.
Overall: a truly arresting tea in its smooth texture. A fine sour, fruity dianhong that we expect to add to our supply. The youth of the tips do not give it the strength to continue in any potency past the third infusion.
Reminiscent of a field of lavender in later infusions, bringing a little of my family's home county, Norfolk, to mind.