26 March, 2012

2006 Fengqing Sunning "Daohuaxiang"

I came close to running out of samples to drink.  This would probably have been a healthy circumstance, as it would have turned my attention back upon my own tea-shelves.  However, my appetite for trying new tea knows no bounds, and so the arrival of a generous package of samples from Teavivre was most welcome.


2006 Fengqing Daohua


I don't think that I would ever have bought this cake, were it not for being sent a sample by the company.  This is, more or less, the only shengpu cake that Teavivre sells, and so my eye usually skips over such things.  However, I was in for quite a surprise.

The samples arrived in an array of glossy, silver-coloured packets, as pictured above. 

Fengqing is a venerable enterprise, having been founded before the People's Republic.  There are few established companies that survived the tumult of the decades between then and now, and so Fengqing demands respect.

It was, incidentally, the first factory to produce dianhong, the now-popular Yunnanese hongcha (where "dian" is the single-character reference to Yunnan).  The company is based in the town of the same name, within Lincang diqu.

I usually accord the productions of Fengqing with even greater respect, because Lincang teas are generally "my thing", with their rustic, grain-like sweetness that can deliver a hefty punch, as well as taste delicious.  On checking my "tasting notes" page, I see that the only cake I have actually written about is the 2007 Fengqing "Jiulong Tianxiang", a gift from a cousin, which was unfortunately ruined from its storage.  This "Daohuaxiang" [rice-flower scent] cake, therefore, offers the opportunity to redress the balance in Fengqing's favour.

Edit: silly me, this is actually from Fengqing Sunning, rather than Fengqing proper.

2006 Fengqing Daohua


Boom: the first infusion is precisely that for which I was hoping.  It is potent, punchy, heavy on the kuwei [good bitterness in the throat], and absent sewei [roughness and astringency].  Underneath the enjoyable sweetness is the longed-for base of granary characteristics.  Its small, fragmented leaves (shown above) deliver a smooth entry, but a long-lasting and most rewarding sensation that dominates the senses.


2006 Fengqing Daohua


Even its scent is fine: the aroma cup is filled with fat, robust sweetness of a kind reminscent of heavy molasses.  Better yet, these characteristics last for infusion after infusion, and, while I can drink no more after some dozen or so brews, the tea shows no sign of cracking.

It also reminds me of... Mainland tea.  It has the welcome feeling of a traditional cake, of the kind that I tend to encounter only in Mainland China.  The hand-selected, single-mountain varieties with which we are now familiar are a very different type of pu'ercha.  Here, with the Fengqing, the emphasis is on fatness, boldness, and... something indefinable that really just takes me back to peaceful afternoons sat here and there in Maliandao.  I will endeavour to collect my thoughts on the subject to come up with something coherent; in the meantime, I note that this is somehow "traditional" and "classical" in its feeling.


2006 Fengqing Daohua


It is not an elegant, precision pu'ercha experience, but Lincang cakes seldom seem to be.  Instead, they are present, real, and very enjoyable.  I found myself actually loving this cake, much to my surprise.

Looking at the company's web-page, I see that this little fellow sells for a very reasonable $35, and I resolve to aquire some promptly.  If you like Lincang, you might well feel the same way about this cake as I do.

Thanks again to Teavivre for the genuine surprise.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hobbes, your notes enticed me to check this cake out for myself. Imagine my surprise to learn it would qualify for free shipping from China as well! My past history tells me that this makes the cake dirt cheap. Thank you for the heads up.

Karl

benwahl said...

I may have made a mistake- I ordered the cake in the picture and it was $35 but then realized it was sheng. Did I trigger click- not sure, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the tea for what it is anyway. Thanks for the lead.
-Ben

benwahl said...

Babelcarp cleared everything up for me. Now the 16 day wait for China Air, but who could pass up free shipping. I have an order ready to go with YS but the $50 plus shipping has me waiting to pull the trigger. I've been lurking around your blog and have learned enough about tea to know I have to learn it all for myself. Thanks for moving me down the trail.

Tuo Cha Tea said...

Dear Hobbes,

pure coincidence, but the same day you wrote 'Lincang teas are generally "my thing"' I saw that new issue of Art of Tea was published, with main article being "Lincang Tea Garden".

T.

Hobbes said...

Well done, chaps! It's a nice cake indeed. See what you make of it.

I hadn't noticed that there was a new edition of "The Art of Tea" - it is a publication whose florid writing style used to irritate me immensely, but perhaps I will give it a try again. Everyone deserves a second chance, after all. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Katar Hol said...

I'll probably be picking one of these up. I saw that if you are spending over $50 at teavivre, you can use coupon code easterday for 10% off.

Anonymous said...

You might overlooked the object. The tea cake got nothing to do with Fengqing Tea Factory you were referred to. It's a small outfit called "Fengqing Shanning Tea Enterprises", few know about this company.

Jim at PuerhShop.com

Hobbes said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for that - somehow, in the few weeks it took to get my diary onto the page, I dropped the actual factory name. Either way, the taste is plenty gud.


Dear Katar,

Good luck! I hope that you like it.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Charles T. Draper said...

Dear Hobbes,

I just received this cake and it has a touch of mold on it. My initial reaction was that it was bad. It is not yellow which I have read is bad. What is your opinion on this matter?

Thank you,
Charles

Hobbes said...

Dear Charles,

I am no stranger to the mould. Condolences!

Happily, I don't think it's a big deal - I, and many others, take the view that some scraping of the cake (an old toothbrush!) should remove most of unwanted growth. Hopefully it won't have permeated too far beneath the surface of the bing. The boiling rinse will take care of the rest. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Charles T. Draper said...

Dear Hobbes,

Will do. As always, thank you....