What's that? I'm sorry, you're going to have to speak up - I can't hear you over the sound of Keng being awesome.
A teachum from Singapore, Keng is a mighty drinker. Readers with particularly good memories may recall many a previous paean to this most generous individual, who has been kind enough to send me approximately 19 metric tons of tea over the past few years.
This Yangpinhao cake has been a source of frequent enjoyment for Lei and me (mostly me).
Stripping this cake down to its bare essentials, we are met with an interesting neipiao: on one side, a familiar story of the cake's provenance; on the other side, an ISO test report indicating that the lead levels in the cake are within ISO-allowed limits.
You may know, or be able to guess, how much I love PRC certifications.
It is a small-leaf, tippy spring cake, as may be seen above. The leaves are dark, with a definite hint of redness when viewed under natural light with the naked eye.
I chuckle to myself as I realise that 2006 cakes are now half a decade old, and suddenly feel a lot older, myself. I wonder if I have aged as well as some of these cakes...
We know we're in for a treat when the soup turns out to be a big, fat orange. Straight off, it is sharp and woody - indicative of good, clean storage. Singaporean storage seems to do the trick - certainly, the vendor from whom Keng bought the majority of these cakes has got it right.
It dwells nicely in the mouth, and is substantially powerful - as one would hope, given that this cake is from Bulangshan, a large geographical designation that I enjoy for its punchiness and lack of civility.
Keng never ceases to provide really solid pu'ercha, and I am most grateful. This is a very well-made example, exhibiting no roughness whatsoever. For the low price (~£20?), this surely can't be made from leaves of an absurdly exalted quality, and yet the producers have done well in selecting strong leaves that have been blended with skill, giving a decidedly robust, powerful, yet unabrasive result.
Yangpinhao (not to be confused with Yongpinhao or Yangqinghao) impress me with their solid mastery of the lower-price range. You could spend a lot more than the price of this cake without getting an improvement in either quality or potency from many vendors. A bargain indeed.