24 October, 2009

2008 Xiaguan "Jinse 8100"

This cake is evidence that I went temporarily crazy with my Xiaguan last year. It's all over Taobao like a rash, where it costs next-to-nothing, like Haiwan's "Laotongzhi", and like the 2009 CNNP releases (which I maintain is where modern maocha goes to die).

Thankfully, it's just a single cake, and it didn't cost a huge amount. I have definitely learnt a lesson.

2008 Xiaguan Jinse 8100
Jinse 8100: where be the gold?!

Yunnan Sourcing notes that this recipe was first seen in 2007 as a 250g tuocha, and that this is its first incarnation as bingcha. It is made from spring 2006 and 2007 maocha. It's wise to be wary of new recipes created during the pu'er bubble.

2008 Xiaguan Jinse 8100

As you can see from the photograph above, it's heavily compressed. The leaves look rather nice, being small and they're not too dark.

2008 Xiaguan Jinse 8100

This may come as a shock to you, but this Xiaguan cake has a smoky character of dark tobacco. Who would have thought! I am finding it increasingly hard to separate out the various Xiaguan profiles, as they cover the full spectrum from "light tobacco" to "dark tobacco", with more or less floral/sweet/fruity character in each range.

2008 Xiaguan Jinse 8100

It's decent enough for its rock-bottom price, and I don't want to over-analyse something that is clearly disposable and humble. It is sweet, with some straw, and plenty of the usual smoky tobacco at the finish. In this price-range, I'd stick to the standard Dayi recipes, but that's just me. This has its sweet, tobacco charms, but does not leave the realm of the simple.

I really need to stop buying Xiaguan specials for a few years - perhaps a few of the traditional untreated tuocha will be the exception.

Many thanks to RJo'C and Jamus for samples of this cake.


Tony Shlongini said...

Yet another bad review I see long after I purchased a bing. :) My decision was based in large part on this little blurb by Scott of YSLLC- "One of the better Xiaguan cakes released in the last 2 years."

Live and learn. Perhaps it will amount to something if left undisturbed for a decade.

Hobbes said...

Dear Tony,

At least it's cheap - you can always brew it at work, or put it on your compost heap :)

I certainly disagree with the description on the product page that you mention!

Looking back at my old Baoyan, as an example of similarly dark-tobacco Xiaguan tea, I'm not expecting great things from storage. That said, it has to be better than the rancid $2 Xiaguan tuocha I picked up in Turin!

As you say, we live and learn.