18 October, 2008

2006 Yongde "Ziyu Shengtai Gushu"

Autumn is becoming offensively beautiful. It's making it hard to get work done. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:


Headington Hill


I have a fairweather, on-and-off relationship with this tea. First of all, we need to unpick the (very informative) vendor description a wee bit...


2007 Yongzhen Qingbing


This is sold as "2006 Yongde Organic Mangfei" at Yunnan Sourcing, and I apparently bought this for $18 back in Spring. The factory is indeed Yongde, and this is their "Zidu" [purple jade] brand - shown by the pseudo-classical logo at the top of the cake.

Down the left-hand side of the wrapper, the dreaded "shengtai gushu cha" [ecologically-grown, ancient-tree tea]. Though it sports the ubiquitous ATI organic logo, I remain healthily skeptical given the inexpensive nature of this cake. Though it could feasibly be shengtai, I strongly suspect that the gushu content of this cake is not unadjacent to zero.


2007 Yongzhen Qingbing


The rather appalling (apologies!) photograph above attempts to show that this is a high-compression bing (but not too high), while the leaves are generally of a decent size. The blend contains both tips and huangpian [thin yellow leaves, often manually removed].


2007 Yongzhen Qingbing


This cake is a bit of an enigma. I get a different tea each time I sit down with it. First time out, I loved it and bought a cake. On revisits, I have been less impressed - certainly thoughts of potentially buying more have been dispelled. I understand that Scott rather likes this one himself.


2007 Yongzhen Qingbing


We have sticky fruitiness in both aroma and flavour, delivered in a yellow-orange soup. I usually term these "broad and low" characteristics: straw, beaniness, some mushroom. It rings nicely in the throat.

It does have a lot of crisp, clean energy - but it also brews up as rough as a Frenchman's stubble in later infusions, which is surely indication of its mostly-plantation status.


2007 Yongzhen Qingbing


I don't recommend this tea - but it's a close call. The fruity aspects are appealing, and it has some decent punch delivered courtesy of some strong acidity in the finish, but it is ultimately simple and a bit rough.

I haven't come across any other Yongde Factory products, primarily because there are no samples available for them, and I refuse to consider buying blindly. The lack of samples reminds me a little of when film producers refuse to show a pre-release of their film to critics - I get the impression that the quality of the film is lower than usual, and a pre-sample might adversely affect the number of folk that went to see it in the cinema.

An interesting factoid from the Yunnan Sourcing product description: Yongde County is in Lincang, and is apparently where Xiaguan used to get their leaves. High mountains, tall trees, big sky. I think I'd like it in Yongde.


Headington Hill


(Notes added to 2005 Mengku Chengguan "Qingchengfeng".)

6 comments:

Jamus said...

I've only had one Yongde sheng pu-erh and it was a gift from Scott at YSLLC. 2007 Yongde Qing. I thoroughally enjoyed it, although I haven't sampled it since I've started to acquire a better taste for pu-erh. I'd be happy to send you a sample of it if you like. Just send me an email with your address if you want to give it a try. (riddlesabound at gmail dot com)

jamus~

Hobbes said...

Dear Jamus,

I never turn down a tea I've not tried, thank you! I'll send an e-mail, and maybe I can send you something in return. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

vl. said...

Hmm, you like Lincang, though this does look quite rough. I really find it difficult to drink Lincang to be honest...

Your first photograph is very cool, the saturation works, except the blue in the background. You should try some Velvia, i.e. "crayola-via" :p

-vl.

Hobbes said...

Ahoy, Vlad!

How's the new term treating you? Maybe we can have another meet-up some time. I think we're up to five or six regular drinkers. By sheer chance, Oxford remains in the middle of the country and would thus make a good location for it *grin*

Lincang, dear Lincang. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I remember you're none too partial to it. This bing is not a great example of the genre.


See you soon I hope,

D

P.s. The blue saturation is grim, you're quite right. Funnily enough, that's only the +5 saturation in all channels - the original photo was taken in the direct afternoon sun. I had hoped to just bring the red up a little, but my home computer doesn't have Photoshop (and thus access to independent channels).

I've been enjoying your snaps. The chap walking with the papers under his arm was particularly pleasing. I love the out-of-focus academic feel.

vl. said...

Yes, that does sound rather interesting, if you ever do get anything organised let me know; Oxford is quite close. Not sure it's the centre of the country though, well, if you exclude Sheffield upwards it might be, or if you do it weighted by population or something :p

By any chance do you know if Banbury is any good? I'm looking for a place to go along the river for a little photography walk that I haven't been to yet and that's close to here. Is the place worth a visit?

-vl.

Hobbes said...

Glad to hear you're up for a session! I'll see what I can do after we've moved.

Banbury's nice, and it's a stop on the train-line! You could get some photos of the Banbury Cross, too.

Stratford-upon-Avon is quite close to you, is it not? That's always a fun one, if you exclude the Americanesque themepark that they've made out of the Shakespeare area.


Toodlepip,

D