16 July, 2007

2004 Zitenglu "Taihe"

This is the "Taihe" [supreme peace] shengpu bing from Zitenglu [purple thatched-cottage] Tea Factory.

It is listed as "Tzu Teng Ru" in First Steps to Chinese Puerh Tea [pictured - thanks, VL], where it seems that it also makes claims to "Big Mountain" and "Thousand Year Ancient Tea Tree" status - take those for what you will, of course.

Looking at the photograph of the wrapper, it clearly shows "Liu Da Cha Shan" company - I wonder if that is the eponymous "6FTM".

This tea apparently hails from Zhuyu region, a harvesting area "close to Yiwu". The party that provided this tea [who shall remain mysteriously nameless] indicates that it is characterised by a lack of real flavour, but a very significant sensation in the throat.

Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 12cl shengpu pot; ~5-6g; 1 rinse

Dry leaves:
Big, flat leaves, with one or two truly whopping silver tips. A good, bass aroma of tobacco. All signs point to "yes", as that modern-day Yijing, the Magic 8-Ball, might say.

3s, 6s, 7s, 12s, 15s, 20s:
On pouring out the first brew, I immediately think that this is one of those "brown" shengpu (for want of a better description), usually characterised by low, sour flavours. Sure enough, this is born out in the beidixiang, which is fully sour, turning nicely sweet in the lengxiang. So too, the colour of the soup is creamy brown.

Alone with Mozart's Requiem, the body of this tea feels hauntingly empty - a great big, noticeable hollow exists right through the centre of the tea, sitting atop a quiet bass of sour "tea". True to form, as it impacts with the throat, a grain-sweet sensation erupts making my mouth water.

The quality of the tea seems decent: it has a smooth oiliness, it lasts fairly long in the mouth and nose (patience!), yet it remains highly odd and unorthodox. Happily, this kind of unorthodox is fine by my tastes.

I celebrate my finding of a Cavalleria Rusticana libretto from the second-hand bookshop next to College with my classic DG recording, and this tea is a fine accompaniment: rustic and enjoyable.

Around the fifth infusion, it becomes much simpler - but it is an ending that I enjoy, being that undercurrent of "tea" coming to the fore.

Wet leaves:
Huge, whole, strong, green. Good stuff.

A fairly basic tea, with a solid, sweet huigan. I would be happy to own a bing or two for the sake of variety. Amusing enough, in its special way.


MarshalN said...

There were a few things that were strange about this tea, and I'm not sure if they're good or bad. Given its high price, I couldn't rate this thing as a good tea.... too much risk and too many unknowns.

Bill said...

Very intresting! Thanks! By the way, I love your new look!!

Hobbes said...


I've no idea what the price of this cake actually is, nor who's selling it - any thoughts? It's a bit of an oddity for sure.


Thank you kindly - just a bit of fun, of course!



MarshalN said...

It's for sale at M3T, and Zitenglu itself (although I think they're sold out there now). The price is in the three digits, EUR. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but since it's over 3 digits, there's no point in asking. It's ridiculously overpriced, let's put it that way.