From the cornucopia which is Keng's generous tea collection, this is a cake from a factory that is new to me. I'm delighted and impressed to read that the mighty Babelcarp already has information containing this factory (Guyi, meaning "ancient postal-road") and this brand (Yubang). Many thanks to Keng for this delightful cake, and to LP for maintaining 'Carp, an essential ingredient of most of our tea-lives.
The Yubang "Gushu" reclining with some younger acquaintances
I used to be suspicious of brands that I've not heard of before, but, after encountering so many varied and wonderful cakes under all manner of labels, I have now come to be quite excited by new brands. "You never know what you're gonna get", as I believe Dryden once penned.
This cake has it all: tips, whole leaves, stems, and huangpian [yellow flakes] - just the way I like it. In its distant past, some wet storage - the shicang aroma is present, but very distant.
Dark, singular, well-kept
This tea doesn't really taste of very much. But that's OK. This cake is one of that curious subgenre of tea that I call "CDV"s - chaqi delivery vehicles. It is a mobile platform for the conveyance of weird and wonderful sensations. The cooling effect is perhaps the most pronounced that I have ever experienced in pu'ercha, being almost anaesthetic on the tongue.
"Is this fertiliser?" I hear you wonder. Unlikely - the body is thick, and there exists a huge potency about the brew that smacks of high-quality leaves.
There is more to this tea than meets the lens
If I had to gamble, I'd say that this was, in large part, actual "gushu" [ancient tree], just as its name claims. Such is its potency that it could be little else.
I can also appreciate why some producers have faith in the blending of leaves: this anaesthetic effect is rather overpowering, and one could imagine that it could be used to provide an extra dimension of complexity when blended with leaves that deliver a strong flavour.
Its thin sandalwood character is highly enjoyable on its own, however. Thanks to Keng for the opportunity to try it.