22 November, 2013

Quick Test: Do You Have a Soul?

   you can make it to 1'30" or beyond in this track without falling completely in love with it
   you probably have no soul.

Ockham's Chainsaw

If, at any point, you thought about Tetris, then you probably need to give yourself a good slap, as well as attend confession.  This is great music, pure and simple, playing through the medium of retro chiptune.  Some great things come in packages that you might not expect.  The world is full of things like this, tea being but one example.

Both of the teas covered in this article come under the heading of "cakes pressed using old maocha".  You may or may not agree with this practice.  All I ask is, as with the chiptune epic track linked above, just keep an open mind.

Daxueshan is the mountain in Yongde county of Lincang diqu.  Its price is high (£85) but Mr. Essence seems impressed by its laoshu [old tree] qualities.  It was stored in Kunming, and Mr. Essence notes that it has not aged as much as its cousin, which we will cover in the second half of this article.

The long leaves, pictured above, have an excellent scent of rich, sweet tobacco.  It could be as good as is claimed.

The reticent storage of Kunming has worked to the advantage of this tea.  Maocha, stored as maocha (that is, in its loose-leaf format) can dissipate rapidly.  This is one of the reasons that cakes are still pressed, long after the needs for horse-born transport have passed.  The slower aging in Kunming has caused the dissipation to be less rapid than it otherwise would have been, and the cake therefore retains some of its energy.

The soup is heavy and full, pushing into all corners of the mouth from the outset, with a good, malty base.  This tea tastes particularly comforting after the happy tiredness induced from a long session at the swimming pool with Xiaohu.  It is a good tea, and it lasts well.  The price is up for the usual debate.

You may remember the fictitious village of "Qishenggu" that resulted in the 2012 version.  Mr. Essence prefers not to disclose the actual origin of this tea.

This 2007 version was, like the Daxueshan, pressed in 2013.  However, in this case, the maocha was stored in... wherever "Qishenggu" happens to be.  Presumably, it is not Kunming (heh), because the aging has been more rapid.

The long, beautiful leaves (shown above) have a low, sweet scent of clean storage.

The orange soup is the same colour as our English-stored 2007s.  There are low, quiet scents around the edges of the wenxiangbei [aroma cup].  Like the scent, it exists in the mouth around the edges of my senses.  Heavy and thick, it has the comforting feeling of old tea.

There is the consequent emptiness in the leaves that comes with storing maocha, exacerbated by the more humid and warm storage of "Qishenggu".  With more leaves added to the pot, in an attempt to compensate, a sharpness develops - that of clean pine.  Unafraid, I eventually end up with the entire sample bag in the pot.  The tea seems impossible to overbrew, such is its low ceiling.  It remains sharp and smooth, with some low maltiness, however.  At £45, this is one of Essence of Tea's cheapest teas.

If you are looking for a recommendation made with certainty, and you passed the "are you in possession of a soul" test mentioned at the outset of this article, then you would do well to look at the above album.  Great pu'ercha music, like pu'ercha itself, comes from unexpected places.


Scott Wilson said...

I also share your fascination with chiptunes... did you know there is a 24/7 chiptunes channel here!?!?


Tons of other great music channels.... I opted for Premium DI at $4.99 a month... well worth it.

Hobbes said...

I do love DI - I'm glad to read that you're using it! I used to download their progressive trance .rm "podcasts" back in the day (2001!) when "podcasts" were "RealPlayer streams". :)

They've certainly diversified, in a healthy way, and deserve success. DI must be the grandfathers of the Internet, by now! Chip tunes are surely the logical next step for a good techno / electronics outfit.

Keep on digitally importing,


Scott Wilson said...

Good to know they have other fans... they have tons of channels and the premium service can be broadcast at 256kbps MP3. An excellent level of quality. I like the Chillout Dreams, Progressive, Trance, Space Dreams and Liquid Drum and Bass channels the best! We should form a Devo style chiptunes band based around Pu-erh dorkery!