16 December, 2007

2004 CNNP "Yiwu Zhengshan"

Mince pies and black ties; festive choir and strange attire; thesis writing and candle lighting; mulled sherries and mistletoe berries... Michaelmas term grinds to an immediate and unexpected halt, tipping out its unwitting passengers into a rapid collision with oncoming Christmas.

The jolly chaos of the end-of-year prevents much in the way of tea-drinking, but here's a pleasant tipple that we encountered prior to the Sunday morning pre-Mass sprint, courtesy of Royal Pu'er.

Like most products from Royal Pu'er, this is inexpensive. There are a few pleasant surprises to be found in their collection, such as the 2006 Yibang Chamasi "Gedebao", and I daresay this is another unexpected treat. Given that this is a CNNP cake, I was not anticipating anything outstanding - but catching sight of the whole, dark, chunky dry leaves was enough to make me question my bias. There are plentiful tips to be found, and this tea has a rich, woody aroma that bodes well for a good session.

I associate a long, interesting lengxiang with leaves of good quality, and there is much to be enjoyed in the scent of this tea. Sweet, dark sugars and that ubiquitous woodiness,
combined with a touch of menthol, hint at good things to come.

A corresponding rich mahogany flavour is delivered by the thick, orange soup, with more of that menthol, and a sizable portion of youthful ku. The ending is a robust but delayed huigan, allowing continued enjoyment of the tea's woody sweetness.

Showing a firm hand to this tea is advisable, erring on the side of more leaves rather than less. Given the low price attached to this tea, I'm rather inclined towards it.

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