19 July, 2007

2003 Xiaguan Bingcha

At £8/bing [$16] from Royal Tea Garden, this four-year-old bing is suspiciously inexpensive. This sample is from CB [many thanks].

Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 12cl shengpu pot; ~6-8g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaf:
Rich brown; quite chopped, with a few tips - typical Xiaguan small fragments.

5s, 5s, 7s, 9s, 9s, 9s:
Sticky, sweet beidixiang, and a thick, orange soup, right from the first infusion. Rich, low fruits in the body, with some ku in the finish - this brings back a little sweetness in the huigan, but it is fairly astringent. The entire feel is quite thin and weak, but the astringency is enough (even with a short infusion) to be getting close to the "hairspray" previously encountered with the 2005 CNNP, though to a much lesser (and more consumable) extent.

At least, the tea has not been processed to remove its ku and make it immediately drinkable - a process I often lament.

Later infusions are what I suspect Lei would call "barbecued corn": it is dark, sweet, but remains fairly abrasive in its finish despite the rapid brewing.

It's like some people I know: the initial impression is sweet. Then, there is some sourness and bitterness. It can feel rough and aggravating if too long is spent in its company.

Wet leaves:
Believably Xiaguan, being a few torn, large leaves accompanied by great piles of fragmented mulch. This factory can make tasty tea, but they clearly have no intention of aiming for aesthetic appeal. The wet leaves smell mostly of menthol, oddly enough.

Overall:
Cheap, and not explicitly bad - but none too thrilling. It would be beneficial from an educational standpoint to try this in a few years, to observe the progress of the ku, and that back-end astringency. Quite antisocial in character, with a simple, dark fruitiness. This is probably worth the money... but that's not saying too much.

11 comments:

vl. said...

"Believably Xiaguan", does that take a lot ? :)

An interesting review, thanks.

-vl.

xdustinx said...

David, have you gotten your hands on any of the new Xi-Zhi Hao puerhs yet? I'm curious to see what you think. I'm currently working my way through them.

Hobbes said...

I won't have them for another few weeks - I ordered them from Yunnan Sourcing last week. What are your first impressions? The wrappers look colourful!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

xdustinx said...

The three less expensive ones aren't impressive. They're all too mellow and lack energy. All three of them have a lot of buds. I'm not sure if there is a correlation between the two. I haven't tried the two more expensive ones yet. I just want to see if you can find something I can't. Which seems to happen frequently.

speakfreely said...

Received my XiZhihao sample this week. Given xdustinx's reaction to the less expensive ones, I thought I'd land right into the 7542.

It's surprizingly lucha-like in it's initial taste and aroma. There is more there - some mild ku and some fruity tastes - but minty and vegetal are not good things for a young pu, are they?

Mostly, my experience with sheng is in the 3-10 yr. old range. I haven't had ANY same-year-compression tea before this, so maybe that lucha taste is normal for sheng this young - or not?

Hobbes said...

Hmm, thanks for the notes - I look forward to trying them too. I would suspect greenness, but perhaps not lucha - that can be alarming!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

speakfreely said...

Today I'm into the 8582. I think I know which one I'm gonna buy a tong of;-)

Hobbes said...

Impressive! Which 8582? :)

speakfreely said...

The '07 XiZhiHao, of course! Just continuing the thread here....

Hobbes said...

I'm so dense sometimes.

I'm looking forward to trying the Xizihao as soon as ASAP! I just checked the mail in vain. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

speakfreely said...

Just realized I've been confused about the pricing of the XiZhiHaos; the 7542, 8582 and Dragon Phoenix are relatively inexpensive compared to the Yuan Shi Lin and the Huang Shan Lin. I tried the Huang Shan Lin yesterday and was not so impressed, but today I'm drinking the Yuan Shi Lin and I like it, but possibly not as much as the 8582. Still need to try the Dragon Phoenix, then I'll have a side-by-side tasteoff of my two favorites.