17 December, 2012

2012 Chawangpu "Mangzhi Huangcha"

Guess who came to meet me at my college the other day?

None other than THE JAKUB.  What a delight it was - it's not often that I get to meet teachums (with the excellent exception of Apache), especially those from the Czech Republic.  We didn't get time for an actual pu'ercha session, but we did get to neck some conventional bevvies in the relative warmth of the Senior Common Room.

2012 Chawangpu Mangzhi

THE JAKUB had a confesssion to make.  He is, and I don't think I'm breaking any confidences here, a computer scientist.  First of all, I think it is wonderful that society has reached the tolerant stage at which it is completely acceptable to "out" oneself in that way, and admit to being a computer scientist.

Unlike every other computer scientist on the planet, THE JAKUB appears to have a girlfriend, and a most charming one at that.  Your computer scientist brethren raise their faded Metallica t-shirts to you in a gesture of appreciation!

2012 Chawangpu Mangzhi

We chatted about much, and this sample was kindly given to me as my two guests left.

I rather like Chawangshop.  There are bargains to be had there, especially in the cakes that bear the company's own "Chawangpu" brand.  I am very much in favour of personal-brand cakes being sold at pleasing prices, and I tend to avail myself of the opportunity to buy such things at distressingly regular intervals.  It is rather canny, I suspect, to sell many cakes at a reasonable price rather than a small number of cakes at a very high price.  Then again, I never was cut out for a mercantile life, so what do I know?  Answer: not much.

2012 Chawangpu Mangzhi

This is from the Mangzhishan in northern Mengla County, near Gedengshan, and is a traditional source of pu'ercha that is much overlooked.  The "huangshan" part of the name means "wild/desolate mountain", which is a little bit "Xizihao", but perhaps permissible just this once.

2012 Chawangpu Mangzhi

The yellow-orange soup is immediately sweet, very much like candy.  It combines with a pleasantly "cereal" base to give it a rustic, but endearing, character that seizes the attention immediately.  All of those characteristics get deposited in the nose after the swallow, and which combine with a very robust kuwei [pleasant bitterness] and a solid core of Xishuangbanna-but-sweet notes.  It lingers well, with a gently cooling finish.

It is so very sweet!

2012 Chawangpu Mangzhi

The plantation origins of this cake become more obvious after the tenth infusion, but it has done very well to get there.  The immense bargaination of this cake becomes evident when we consider the price: $12.50.  That isn't even £8, for a 200g xiaobing.  In terms of good pu'ercha per unit currency, this little fellow scores remarkably highly.  

We cannot be too particular at such a generous price; if we were, I might mention that it eventually takes a turn for the citric, but these are small considerations given the overall quantity of pleasure that is delivered for a small outlay.

Thanks again to THE JAKUB - I look forward to the possibility of our humble university being the home for two Czech computer scientists!

Late edit: since the time of writing, it seems that both THE JAKUB and his good lady have won scholarships, which suggests that the admissions system simply broke under the strain of trying to comprehend the existence of a computer scientist with a girlfriend.  Hefty congratulations!  Time to buy a pair of those Elizabethan graduate scholar gowns that we make you wear...


Hektor Konomi said...

It must have been a good sweetener to The Economist...

Jakub Tomek said...

Dear Hobbes,
I think that since computer scientists of today are not anymore 150kg unwashed apes, it is possible to admit that one does it :)

Can not the huangshan mean yellow mountain too? Not that I'd know a reason for that (possibly in the autumn).

To this tea: Agreed that plantation tones get more obvious as time goes by (though I must admit that I generally stopped drinking a while before that). On the other hand, it seemed to me that there is a good portion of old tree leaves (I'm not sure that you can get the cooling otherwise; also there were some really strong stalks) by which this tea is elevated into a really nice thing.

Glad you enjoyed it anyway!
All the best,

P.S. It's truly difficult to find a computer-scientist girlfriend (especially one where you can immediately tell that she's a woman), they're about as rare as unicorns. In our school, I think that there are less than 5% of girls.

Jakub Tomek said...

P.S. I don't think that this is really a Chawangpu production.

Hobbes said...

Dear Hektor,

The humour in The Economist is really very droll. Example: when reporting the wedding of "Kate and William", which had saturated the airwaves for weeks, The Economist news page merely said "A young man married a young woman in London today."

Dear Jakub,

I only jest about computer scientists because in most other countries, my discipline (machine learning and statistical signal processing) would probably place me in a Computer Science Dept., rather than an Engineering Dept. It is "the pot calling the kettle black", as we say. :)

My wife tells the story that female computer scientists and electrical engineers are called "pandas" in China, because they are so rare. The female dormitory in her Beijing alma mater, from which men are chased out at around 8 p.m. each night, was called the "panda enclosure". This still makes me laugh. (She was a panda from aforementioned enclosure.)

That said, it is becoming increasingly more common for women to get into engineering in both China and England, although perhaps not Europe. Our intake at Balliol this year could very easily be majority female, which has everybody tremendously excited for various reasons. In my application area, biomedical engineering, we have all of the female faculty members in the Engineering Dept., and coming on for half of the graduate students are now female. (This is less true in "traditional" engineering disciplines, such as civil and mechanical, where our colleagues have research groups that are definitely Boys Clubs.)

Huangcha (yellow tea) and Huangshan (desolate mountain) have the same pinyin spelling for the "huang", but are different characters with different tones (tone 1 and tone 2, respectively). Chinese is considerably annoying that way.