06 March, 2009

2008 Bangwei "Laoshu" Maocha

Where did this little avian fellow come from?

Winter at Home

Rushing in from the pre-dawn cold, I revisit a tea generously provided by Nada some time ago. He notes that it originates from a single old tree in the village of Bangwei, which is near to Jingmai ("nutty!"), in Lancang Xian [County]. Given how hard it is to verify the origins of one's tea when buying via the internet, it's a real pleasure to have a knowledgeable tea-traveller provide some benchmarks by which I aim to calibrate my tastebuds.

Pictured below, in colours helpfully bleached out by a strong overhead lamp, you can hopefully see that it is particularly tippy, with about half of its volume comprising white-furred leaves. Unsurprisingly, it has a creamy aroma, like yinhao [silver hair] pu'er.

2008 Bangwei Laoshu

The brilliant yellow soup (below) appears to be quite cloudy, it being stuffed full of silver hairs. The aroma is long indeed, being sugary fruits. Enduring scents are a good sign, as they indicate that there's some real content to the tea, which is what I'm after. I find myself sniffing tea quite a lot, these days.

When I was in Teasmith, the assistant kindly proffered me a cake to examine, to which I instinctively stuck a probing nostril. I scared her, and she quickly withdrew the tea! I must remember to avoid being abnormal outside the confines of the home.

2008 Bangwei Laoshu

A late, almost metallic, bitterness arrives suddenly in the finish, of which there was absolutely no hint in the mouth. It dwells in the throat, enduring and oily. The whole tea is tart, fruity, sweet, and exceedingly potent.

After just a few small cups, my hands and arms are flushed and blotchy. Remarkable.

2008 Bangwei Laoshu

This tea is a sugar-sweet animal that runs for the cover of the back of the mouth, as if it were running to the safety of a cave, and which then makes loud noises while it dwells there.

"Very fragrant, and clearly present in the throat. Very sweet! The fragrance is like having a flower in your mouth: you can taste it, not smell it."

Perhaps single-dimensional, it is simple, but very pleasant. And oh-so-potent. I can well believe it came from a single old tree, given its knock-out punch.

Winter at Home

The sun now up, I head back out into the garden, laden with laoshu [old tree] chaqi...

June, 2015

This has been in a little plastic bag for some six years!  Somehow, despite my neglect, it is settled, orange, and strong.  It tends to clog the filter of the teapot (!) and therefore overbrews, but with some manual dilution with water in the gongdaobei, it is fine.


tieguanyin said...

Any evidence of Heidu following the little avian fellow? While I am sure your part of England is bemoaning this unusual bout of snow, the photographic results are quite nice. Thank you for sharing!

Have a good tea weekend,


Anu Moulee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hobbes said...

Dear Alex and Anu,

Thanks very much for the comments - I'm very glad that they pleased.

Anu - no learning required, just get some leaves and hot water, and you're ready to go. :)



Cecil Hill said...

Hey Mr. Hobbes,

You forgot to tell Anu that exploring the world of tea is dangerous. As one moves down the corridors of bloggers like yourself and others, one becomes addicted not only to the tea but to all things tea. Also developing one's knowledge of tea means sharing said knowledge with others.

Now that my students all know that I am a tea enthusiast, I get gifts of tea. Recently one of my students visited West Lake in Hangzhou and bought for me some Dragon Well tea right from the guy who was firing it. Of course, now I must compare the Dragon Well I bought from Chengdu with that from West Lake.

How utterly dangerous is that!

It does not snow at the foot of Emei but the mist, the mist!

Another great post!

Hobbes said...

Dear Cecil,

You are, of course, absolutely right. It's a slippery slope, but such a pleasant one!

I'm impressed by your students' ability to select proper Longjing frm Xihu / West Lake! You're clearly admitting the right kind of candidates at your place.

Emei is a pretty place - maybe more famous for its Zhuyeqing / Bamboo-Leaf Green though, no? I am sure you found some good examples while you were there.

You have reminded me of Chengdu huoguo/hot-pot, and I am now hungry as a result. :)

Best wishes,


Hobbes said...

P.s. I just found your thoroughly amusing blog!

LaoChaGui said...

I had to read all the way to the end of this post before I figured out we were talking about old tree tea, not rat tea ;)

Hobbes said...

Mumblemumble ambiguous pinyin system mumblemumble :)