"Try the Chaqi", Scott said. "You'll like it", he said.
The name alone terrifies me. I duly bought a sample to see if it is as physiologically debilitating as its title suggests...
After the slew of recent autumnal cakes, and the weeny xiaobing from his spring range, I am rather encouraged to try something from a chunky 400g ubercake. Scott notes that this cake derives its maocha from three separate Bulang-area villages, and which are mixtures of spring and autumn batches.
Its leaves are, on the whole, rather small (pictured above), but they have a clean and punchy aroma that tries its hardest to wake me from my sleepiness, induced from my dear son waking us up all night. Something with "chaqi" would be very welcome, right now.
It is yellow and clean, as shown above, and the aroma is low, thick, and encouraging. Bulang is a huge region, and so contains many different characteristics in its teas, but I often find a heavy, leathery lowness to be found in some of the better examples. This blend manages to recreate that heavy, bass body, and bundles it up with a sweet, gripping finish.
It remains cooling, strong, and deliciously filled with low, almost tobacco-like, richness. There is a small hint of "brown" (which I usually associate with lesser, plantation leaves) that starts to dominate from the fifth infusion onwards. This is a pity, because, if its initial purity and aggression could be maintained, it could rival the 2011 Sanhezhai in my affections, when it comes to Scott's blended teas.
Despite its divergence into dodgier territory in later infusions, it cannot be denied that one gets a lot for the low asking price of $25. The "brown" notes dissuade me from holding any in our collection, but I appreciate it for its direct charms, particularly in the first few infusions.
This is further evidence for the fact that we should not be satisfied with tasting just a few infusions...