Preparations for a trip to Beijing are underway. If anyone has any keen advice on getting access to Blogspot.com from the Mainland (particularly John), it would be gratefully received!
You may have noticed rogue posts appearing and disappearing on the Half-Dipper lately - these are the results of my trying to get the publish-via-email mechanism working. So far, I think I've managed to include small images into textual descriptions, and so it may be possible that I'll be able to contribute to the Half-Dipper from afar. Again, any tips from our roving Blogspot correspondents would be a treat!
The trip should be from 7 - 25 September, nominally containing a two-week engineering event in one of the universities. Hopefully, it will allow some time in the schedule for some jaunts along Maliandao. If I've got your address, stay tuned for interesting goodies, provided that I can successfully navigate the Chinese Post Office...
I understand that samples for the Tasting Event are beginning to arrive at their destinations! This is good news. Mine have recently arrived - thanks, Gordon.
The first tea ("blue") is one that I've been meaning to try for quite some time. Do please bear with me, as I know I rather unfairly have the advantage in being aware of the actual teas - I'm looking forward to reading some more opinions, and in some further discussion once all the notes are in, at which point we can discuss the actual factories and cakes by their true name.
"Scottish Mountain" @ 100C in 10cl shengpu pot; ~8-9g leaf; 1 rinse
Pretty leaves, with some tips, which have experienced good handling as evinced by their surface condition. The aroma is particularly sweet.
3s, 3s, 5s, 7s, 10s:
The soup is slightly orange, which actually starts yellow. From the sugary-sweet aroma in the wenxiangbei, I anticipate a similarly sweet flavour. This turns out to be the case: the flavour is instantly fruity, with a citrus backing, a robust sweetness running throughout.
The texture of the soup is smooth, perhaps influenced by the tips and general good leaf condition. There is a pleasant acidity woven into the citrus fruits that promotes a gentle huigan.
Later infusions continue to become sweeter, and sweeter, and yet sweeter! It is pleasantly tart, if perhaps uninspiring in its total range of flavours: it soldiers on, delivering the citrus fruits well enough, though.
Baby spring leaves, about 2cm in length, are seen to be fairly fragmented - there aren't very many whole leaves in here, as pretty as the dry leaves looked.
The sweet, gentle nature of this tea is explained by the tiny little leaves. It delivers quite a caffeine punch, being fairly energetic, but the flavours are restricted to the upper half of the spectrum: sweet, fruity, tart.
The overall result is pleasant, if not inspiring, and (given that I know the actual price, forgive me here) it seems like decent value - which was my initial suspicion. It's good to have tried this cake, having long been on my radar, and it'll be interesting to see what other opinions are out there.