12 April, 2013

Welcome Home, Xiaolong

This cake is pretty great, and I first tried it on my first session after the dust had settled, following my youngest son's arrival into the world.
 
I sat at the table, the happiest father in the whole world, for the second time.  If you have children of your own, then you know exactly what I mean.


2007 Taochaju Daxueshan


This is the 2007 Taochaju "Daxueshan".

Why pick Taochaju?  This one came as a generous gift from white2tea (thanks again), and was originally made by all-round-nice-guy, Xiao Yunqing.  I won't recount the backstory here, as you may recall it.  If you happen to be visiting Beijing, you should certainly go to his mall, to visit both him and Fangmingyuan.  I hope to be there in May, schedule permitting*.

*It's amazing how one can find time to reach Maliandao...


2007 Taochaju Daxueshan


The little leaves have a wonderfully dense and woody scent, and are fragmented and medium-size in appearance.  The soup, pictured above, is likewise heavy in sweetness, with a soft, dry-stored body.  The texture is the gentle powderiness of elderly teas, which is very welcome.  I enjoyed it strength but also its robust base of malt and tobacco.  The occasional wood-flower scent in the nose is pleasantly surprising, for a cake that is six years old.
 
Brewed long, in much later infusions, the Daxueshan cake remains stable, solid, clean, and very sweet.  Xiao Yunqing has selected some great leaves.


2007 Taochaju Daxueshan


The baby monitor pictured above tracks the quiet breathing of our new baby.  I heartily recommend parenthood.

8 comments:

Greg Meier said...

Hi there, as it happens I will be in Beijing from tomorrow onwards for a few days before heading back home. After spending 2 years in china and Taiwan would love to visit these tea shops you recommended and get ourselves a nice cake or two!

I don't seem to see the address on
Taobao would you have it handy by any chance?

Many thanks!

Greg

Charles T. Draper said...

Dear Hobbes,
I am very happy with my first order from white2tea. I like their no bullshit style and the tea is primo.

Yours truly,
Charles

Brett said...

Congratulations on the arrival of your second son!!! I'm with you parenthood is wonderful :)

Hobbes said...

Dear Greg,

That is an excellent question. I always think it rather hard to find the mall in which Fangmingyuan and Xiao Yunqing do business - it is behind another mall.

Head south from Carrefour, and keep your eyes on the left-hand side of the road (i.e., the east of the road). There is / was a large archway with neon Chinese characters, under which is a single-storey mall with the usual "rubber strip" doors. Significantly, the first shop that you will see in this mall is that of a famous Taiwanese potter.

Go through that mall, and Fangmingyuan / Xiao Yunqing's mall is behind it - a two-storey building.

As you can tell, Maliandao is a bit of a warren.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Hobbes said...

Dear Charles,

I am glad, and unsurprised, to read it! I like white2tea's philosophy of good cakes sold inexpensively.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Hobbes said...

Dear Brett,

Most kind! Parenthood is entirely knackering, but absolutely satisfying. Remarkable. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Greg Meier said...

Dear Hobbes,

Thanks a lot for the directions!

Finding a single tea shop in one of the biggest tea streets in the world can be tricky! Your directions were perfect and after browsing a little while we eventually got the Xiao's shop.

I can't thank you enough for this wonderful recommendation, we're off back to Europe tomorrow and this has been the perfect send off.

We got there for a morning tasting and after a few brews and a good chat it was time for lunch and Xiao insisted to treat us for some great local food!

After a little digestion break the serious stuff started. Some fantastic loose yiwu, followed by some loose pure Ban Zhang. When thinking things couldn't get better a customer walks in and throws a precious looking cake on the table, even Xiao got very excited! Turns out it was a quite rare 96' Yiwu, truly a great day to be around!

Anyways, we came looking for tea and left tea drunk and buzzing with a bag full of delights and a new friend. Already looking forward to our next visit!

All the best to your 小龍 and looking forward to your next posts.

Hobbes said...

Good Lord, you found it. :)

Well done! It sounds as if you arrived at the right time, too. The local snacks around Maliandao can be very satisfying - perhaps it is the atmosphere in which they are eaten.

Magic often seems to happen in Xiao Yunqing's "taochaju" outlet and in Fangmingyuan of the kind that you describe. Both Xiao Yunqing's and Xiaomei's shops seems to be a hub for pleasant teafolk. I'm really very pleased that you found the place. :)

Last time I was there, a customer was buying tons of old tea, and obtaining very low prices, of which I shamelessly availed myself (to be followed by a five-hour session with Xiao Yunqing). Great fun.

Thanks again for the note.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes