15 July, 2007

2003 Changtai Yichanghao Yibang

Four score and seven years ago, the Davelcorp Foundation brought on this continent a new tea sample, conceived by the Changtai Tea Factory... the 2003 Yichanghao from Yibangshan area. I dug back into my box of journal archives to find my original notes on this tea [pictured].

It's always interesting to read opinions and thoughts of a person whom you used to be, once. The changes are gradual between thither and hither, but they add up to quite a significant gap. Go too far back, and suddenly what was once your own writing is now that of a complete stranger. My original notes on this tea from DL [thanks again, Dave] are halfway familiar, halfway those of a bemused stranger. What better time to revisit an old tea.

This sample was sold by Houde, under the name "2003 Chantai Yichanhao Yiban" [sic; it looks like all the letters 'g' were mysteriously deleted from Houde's listing]. I noted at the time it cost $45/bing - I can't help but imagine how much it would cost today, around a year later, were it still available.

Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 12 shengpu pot; ~7-8g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaf:
Ranging from obviously green to pleasantly dark brown, the leaves are satisfyingly whole, and about 3-4cm in length. It looks decidedly healthy, and rather sumptuous. I always fall for good-looking leaves.

There is a slightly aged aroma about the dry leaves, which reinforces my positive first impression.

3s, 5s, 9s, 12s, 16s, 20s:
It's an orange/brown soup, and the flavour is correspondingly low and broad. It's one of those tobacco/mushroom teas, which are very appealing to my personal tastes. The ku is strong in relation to the flavour, which immediately makes me wish to try the tea again in five years.

It is pleasant in the nose, leaving behind hints of shicang [wet store], along with a general straw, or sweet-grain, aroma. There is good oil present throughout the tea, which is something that I have come to appreciate.

Later infusions take a turn for the sweeter, while the fourth infusion sees a marked transition into darker, fruitier territory. Happily, it is not the dark fruit of some of the "drink it now" teas that I have recently been drinking, but is combined with the potent ku that makes me wish it were still available for purchase.

Wet leaves:
Healthy and whole, many still joined to one another via the stems.

Quite thin, with the broad character hiding just slightly below the surface of the ku. Owners of this cake are possibly in for a fine time when it comes of age. [If you do happen to spot a vendor with this one, I'd appreciate your pointing it out.] Decent tea, and a good hope for the future. Very much "my cup of tea".

Addendum: I came across notes on this tea from TeaLogic.


MarshalN said...

Any idea which style wrapper it's in? The ones with the teapot in the middle? The typical Changtai wrapper? I'm trying to figure out which tea this actually is.

Vladimir Lukiyanov said...

An interesting review. The reason you mention is the same reason that I do not keep any kind of written journal.

Marshaln, Houde still has a sample of that beeng, you can see the wrapper there .


Hobbes said...

Many thanks for the link, Vlad. That's the one, MarshalN.

On the subject of journals, there is graet pleasure in being able to chart the course of a man's character from past to present. I read my journals written as an eighteen-year-old, just left for university, with great amusement. Always, it is instructive - my younger self from long ago is teaching me much that I had forgotten many years later. Heartily recommended!



Bryan said...

I just found out that Red Lantern teas has the 03 version for $52. haha, that is too much for me!

Hobbes said...

Nice catch, Mr. Cha! I will look into it, as I did enjoy this cake.

Many thanks, and toodlepip,