Huangpian [hwang-pee-en, lit. "yellow flakes"] are the broad yellow leaves that producers often pick out of their maocha (by hand) prior to pressing. I rather prefer cakes with the huangpian left in, because they impart a little complexity. This cake, generously provided by Keng (thanks again!), is comprised entirely of huangpian.
The cake's name "Dayebing" [da-yeah-bing] means "big leaf cake", which is a touch misleading. "Daye" typically refers to the varietal of Yunnanese tea used to make pu'er. Of course, it is here a euphemism for huangpian.
The orange colour of this cake is particularly striking
As I have written several times before, I love exploring the whole space of pu'er - from its peaks to its troughs, from its centroids to its outliers. This is most definitely an outlier! Yet, outliers are often very enjoyable, and can have their own story to tell. This huangpian cake is no exception.
The bing itself is chubby (being about twice as thick as normal bingcha) easily squished, and very light - courtesy of the low density of the leaves used to make it.
I use lots of huangpian in order to achieve a good quantity of content in the pot
It brews remarkably cleanly - a pure, crystalline orange/red colour. The aroma is that tar-like aroma of huangpian, with a similarly clean sweetness.
In the cup, it is tart, sweet, dazzlingly clean, and really rather enjoyable. What is most striking is the pronounced cooling sensation in the mouth - it is one of the most mentholesque cakes I have encountered.
While it does not last a huge number of infusions, given the low content of the thin huangpian, it is elegant, perfectly clean, and absent any roughness.
Not a speck of leaf fragment to be found in this crystalline, pure brew
If these were the "left-over" leaves, removed from maocha, then it certainly must have been maocha of an admirable quality. There is a lot in this tea, and it has a particular finery.
The opportunity to try a good huangpian cake is most welcome; it represents one of the contributing ingredients to some of my favourite cakes, and is an ingredient which is often neglected or misunderstood. To become acquainted with an example of such quality is a rare treat. Thanks again to Keng.