23 September, 2013

How High is Your High-Tech?

Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

This cake is called "Gaokeji", which means: "High Tech". I completely adore both the name and the cake.

Let us first consider the name, because it is quite an obstacle.

An appropriate montage for this cake

I showed this cake first to my dear wife, and then, separately, to her sister.  Both of them had the same reaction: a wrinkled nose, raised eyebrows, and an "ARE YOU KIDDING ME" appearance.  Both then started laughing.

To say that the name is "naff" is not really fair.  The same is so naff, so massively naff, that it has ceased being naff - it has transcended naff, and has instead passed through into the tranquil lagoon on the other side of naffness, which is actually rather cool.

Therefore, I completely love the name.  You need serious jones and co-jones to name a cake in such a way, and it reminds me of my assessment of the 2012 Jazzcake.

After all, not every cake has to be called "Chawang Laoshu Qiaomu Zhengshan".  I recall fondly the 2006 TEA EMPEROR, which was so smug that it needed a slap.

My expectations upon opening this cake were approximately zero, because it was Scott's bingcha equivalent of a house blend, in the sense that it comprises all of his leftover (good) samples, combined into a massive patchwork of pu'ercha.

It turns out that having rock-bottom expectations makes them very easy to exceed.

This cake certainly does exceed them.  Pictured above and below, this cake looks charming: it also looks ragged and heterogeneous.  Perhaps like a mongrel dog, or even a hybrid person with parents of wildly differing genetic stock, the results are actually rather strong.

The wenxiangbei [aroma cup] holds the aroma of freshly-made pu'ercha, which I always associate with the term "buttery"; it has a tinge of caramelisation, perhaps from the heat.  The plain yellow tea promises much - far more than its mixed background would suggest.

This cake is testament to the fact that, sometimes, everything works out for the best.  We are all aware of the "garbage in, garbage out" phrase - used in my field to represent the fact that, no matter how good one's statistical model, if meaningless and noisy input data are provided, then the outputs will be similarly meaningless.  This cake is the opposite of "garbage in, garbage out", in that Scott has been careful to use only good ingredients in the hyper-mixture.

The result is a multicoloured explosion of everything and nothing, and I like it very much indeed.

It might be my imagination, but I convince myself that I can detect Yiwu sweet straw in the classical genre, Simao sweet grain, heavy pollinated grassiness not unlike Badashan, fruitiness of interior Lincang, and even floral notes that could be akin to those of Nannuoshan.  Half the challenge, and half the fun, of drinking this cake is that "you never know what you're gonna get".

My journal has the following, with which I leave you as a succinct descriptor:

"It is a delightfully fresh mess, and I love it."


NorberT said...

hi Hobbes
Is it still available? I can not find it.

Hobbes said...

Hrm! You might have to e-mail Scott to see if these curiosities are for sale. :)



sketchandtea said...

Cool concept in a cake, I'd love to try it. Also I really like the name! :)

Hobbes said...

Be careful what you wish for ;)