24 October, 2007

2007 Changtai "Hou De"

Following the 2006 Changtai "Taipei Expo" bing, here's another tea from the same blender (Mr. Huang) for comparison. I happened to be drinking these on consecutive days, by chance. This one is supposedly a mixture of leaves from Bulang, Nannuo, and Gelanhe (?), with "some 2006 old plantation Nannuo leaves for sweetness and aftertaste".

The leaves are dark, fragmented a la Changtai, and have a low tobacco scent that is pleasant but a little weak. I am skeptical of blends being made from quite so many (4!) different types of leaves, and wonder if the weakness of aroma is due to it.

Again, as with the previous cake, the soup is a solid orange. Here, the aroma is dark, malty, and sweet.

The character is a bit odd: mild grain to open, but swelling towards the back of the mouth into a rolling huigan that leaves the mouth watering excessively for almost a whole minute. This could well be the contribution of the old leaves, as it is quite striking, and seems like a separate component.

This tea is particularly, strikingly, cooling in its effect: it has the "post-mintiness" sensation in the mouth, and it leaves the tongue and lips literally cold while the huigan swells. Following the muted wenxiangbei, there is little in the nose except the post-mintiness.

Later infusions see the huigan component diminishing, while a more floral component steps forward, accompanied by an increased acidity in the throat. It seems as if the various leaves that make up this mixture have interesting waxing and waning times.

By the third infusion, and to the end, the tea has collapsed into bland, slightly acidic fruit juice.

At this point, Lei pops in from her lab and gives the following succint second opinion: "Hmm, this is just like drinking kuding. So boring!"

The leaves are more whole than the 2006 Taipei Expo, but they are very thin and fragile - bespeaking a certain lack of quality, or at least heavy farming (especially in conjunction with the rather muted, rapidly-diminishing contents of the tea itself).

Not one I'll be pursuing further, but interesting for the purposes of education, at least.


MarshalN said...

Gelanghe.... it's in the general vicinity of Nannuo, etc, IIRC

I think the "interesting waxing and waning times" is indeed what a blender would aim for.

However, looking at the cake's pictures on Hou De... I can't help but think this tea looks entirely mediocre, maybe even a little sub-mediocre.

Lewis said...

The characters for Gelanghe are 格朗和.