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.
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 This one came as a generous gift from white2tea (thanks again), and was originally made by all-round-nice-guy, Xiao Yunqing.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...
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.
The baby monitor pictured above tracks the quiet breathing of our new baby. I heartily recommend parenthood.