14 September, 2012

2010 Longfeng "Bulang Long"

I'm off to the tiny state of Brunei today, and will be broadcasting from there throughout all of next week.  I don't tend to make it further east than China, and so this will be rather an expedition.  If you have any experience of the Sultanate, your advice would be gratefully received.  They gained independence from us in 1984, one of the happy side-effects of which is that they still use the UK power supply...


9 a.m. under the willow tree.  This unusual turn of events is caused by the extraordinary coincidence of (i) a (very short) period of good weather and (ii) my annual leave.  Let's go and soak up some sunshine while the window of opportunity remains open.

2010 Longfeng Bulangshan Long

The Czech tea-merchant Longfeng has made some good cakes in the past, it seems.  Some controversy exists concerning collaboration between Longfeng and Scott of Yunnan Sourcing, and it is not for me to delve into it.

Suffice to say that the history between the two tea-producers is... Czechered.


2010 Longfeng Bulangshan Long

Politics aside, let's examine the tea, which is one of a pair of 100g cakes made from Bulangshan leaves.  The symbology of the "dragon and phoenix" refers to the husband-and-wife pairing that results in these cakes being called "the wedding cakes".

The leaves of this "dragon" version are small-to-medium in size, as shown above, and they have a lovely, low aroma.  It can be tricky to detect scents in the wenxiangbei [aroma cup] while in the garden, due to the overpowering sweetness from the nearby honeysuckle and fruit trees; that scent that I can detect is clean and sweet, in the manner of white sugar.

2010 Longfeng Bulangshan Long

It soup starts yellow-brown, which is a shade that is always difficult to capture accurately on camera.  The very pleasant sweetness burrows its way under the tongue, resulting in good shengjin [mouthwatering sensations].  While it coats the roof of the mouth well, its body of flavours seems muted - perhaps that is the fault of the water out here in the garden, which is delivering from a Thermos (vacuum) flask.

2010 Longfeng Bulangshan Long

All is forgiven, however, in that mouth-cleaning finish, which is accompanied by a strong cooling sensation, and a pleasant numbing of the root of the tongue.

2010 Longfeng Bulangshan Long

The power of the tea recedes by the sixth infusion, after which it settles into a comfortable sweetness.  I don't know if I'm reading the Longfeng web-site correctly, but I get the impression that a pair of 100g cakes (dragon + phoenix) costs 1,000 Czech koruna, which is roughly $50, or £30 in real money.  Not cheap, given the tiny size of the cakes, but you might like to try this rather enjoyable and well-produced Bulang.  100g is really just a "nibble", after all.  It's a decent Bulang.


shah8 said...

I don't think there is much to do in Brunei, but if *I* were there, I'd be pigging out on tropical fruit. Brunei has some very tasty things growing there, and hopefully, the cuisine is as good as what you'd find on the Malay side of Borneo.

Jakub Tomek said...

This is interesting - both two cakes of this that I have emit a particularly unpleasant cigarette smell which overpowers pretty much anything else...

But as the smell/taste is almost too faithfully cigarette-like, I guess it may have been imparted to some tongs by smoking workers...

Tuo Cha Tea said...

My cakes are cigarette smell free, fortunately.

Petr Novák said...

My too- no cigarettes at all, they are just too small so I am afraid to drink them:)

Hektor Konomi said...

Hobbes, given the importance of your bloggings, you might want to taste your teas in a more "controlled" environment :-)

Jakub Tomek said...

Interesting - thanks people, I'll update my notes on the tea, it seems that I got a bad couple, but that the tea is fine overall. No reason to spoil the reputation of such a tea.


Kate said...

Hobbes, I need your help identifying a pu'er. We've ended up with an unwrapped tuocha of a sheng 金瓜贡茶, with this label pressed into it.


Do you know where this tea might come from?


Anonymous said...

Hey Hobbes if you're gonna be in Malaysia as well and would like a cup of tea , let me know.My email is suming@streamyx.com

Hobbes said...

Dear Kate,

I'll have to ask Lei - I'm not great at reading Xiaozhuan!

Dear Suming,

Thanks ever so much for the invitation! It looks as if my hosts have packed my schedule so tightly I'm not going to be able to leave the capital city (in Brunei), but perhaps next time! It's looking increasingly likely that I might be back at some point. I always like to accept an invitation to drink tea when possible. :)