18 June, 2012

2011 Chawangshop "Yiwu Zhengshan"

Jakub writes the blog known only as "T", which I have been following for some time now.  I wrote recently that Eastern Europe has a thriving pu'ercha "scene", and Jakub is certainly part of that sphere.  He recently sent me a parcel most mighty, crammed with samples of all kinds that I have read about on his blog, and so look forward to comparing notes.

Every self-respecting tea business has to have its own line in pu'er cakes, it seems, and Chawangshop is no exception.

2011 Chawangshong Yiwu

This is not an outfit with which I have any experience, and so a chance to try their own-brand Yiwuzhengshan seems like a good point of first contact.  Some years ago, "YIWUZHENGSHAN" had to be on every successful cake, somewhere on the wrapper.  Now, of course, it's all about the tiny little village from which the leaves derived: your Guafengzhai, your Mannuozhai, &c., &c.  

I rather like the opportunity to go back to this bygone age of Zhengshan.

2011 Chawangshong Yiwu

The leaves are... rather orange.  This may not be obvious from the photograph above.  In the drizzle of the English rain, the prospect of drinking (yet another) orangered cake does not thrill me.  If there is one sign that is correlated most tightly with weakness in an unaged cake, its orange leaves - in those I've tried, at least.  I simply cannot recall the last time that I had an unaged cake that was orange, but which was strong and powerful.

The aroma of the dry leaves is, in keeping my with assumptions, almost absent.  

2011 Chawangshong Yiwu

However, it takes a turn for the better in the cup.  I rather wish I'd thought to take a photograph of the soup itself, which is clean and which has a very fresh, sweet sugariness in the wenxiangbei [aroma cup].  "The charm of a smooth, particularly sweet Yiwu with a silk-like body greets me, and comforts me, on this wet Saturday morning."  My diary.

It is not a powerful, bitter Yiwu, but its silky, soapy sweetness is most enjoyable.  Not much occurs in the throat, it is true, but the gentle sweetness push on for a fair while before fading.

2011 Chawangshong Yiwu
"Yiwuzhengshan", with the shop's red stamp

This cake will not age well, I suspect, because its orange leaves lack any notion of endurance or potency; it would be easy to imagine this wispy cake fading away as the years pass.  However, it is a fun cake for drinking immediately, and, best of all, its price is a respectable $14/200g ($25 / 357 equivalent), which is an honest, unassuming price for an honest, unassuming tea.

A good session.  Not one that I would follow up, but enjoyable due to its silky sweetness.


Jakub Tomek said...

Hello Hobbes
I entirely agree - even though the tea is not mind-blowing when measured absolutely, it performs well for the price... Btw. that's what I appreciate about Chawangshop in general - not going for super-hyper top tea for $200, but concentrating on finding good-very good mid-priced things. I'm looking forward to Chawangshop's Jingmai 2012, looks promising.

Jakub Tomek said...

P.S. Btw., Central Europe is more politically correct I believe :)

Hobbes said...

Dear Jakub,

I totally approve of well-priced tea, and believe that there is quite a market for it. I'm hoping for good things from Chawangshop in 2012.



P.s. if you guys are not Eastern Europe, then who is?! You're in the east! Of Europe! :)

Jakub Tomek said...

Well, Russia, mostly. And Ukraine, Belaruse and so on.

Looking at the map of Europe:

If I use the Western/Eastern discrimination, i.e., cutting Europe in half, we are clearly Western Europe (even most of Slovakia is).

If I use the Western/Central/Eastern discrimination, we are Central.

I think that even if you sort countries from right to left (by centroid) and take the median and call the countries to the left Western and the rest Eastern, we would still be a Western country (certainly if we disregard Vatican, San Marino and Andorra).

Western all the way :)

(I must add that I strongly disapprove of local anti-eastern attitude, as I consider it a marker of common, yet stupid human behavior - once we changed political system, let's spit at the last one as much as we can, so that we support the current one)

Petr Novák said...

For English man almost all Europe is East Europe:)

but back to the cake - The Chawangshop have (or had) also tea from near of Gao Shan Zhai and I do remember it as much more powerful tea (but also more expensive). Yesterday I got samples from this year production: again Yiwu, then Bada, Jingmai...I have surely nice day in front of me:)