27 January, 2014

Laow Maine

I like to pronounce "Laoman'e", which should be pronounced "LAO MAN-ERH", to rhyme with "chowmein".  There's nothing quite so pleasingly discordant to the ears as when we Anglicise something inappropriately.  It's one of my favourite games, and, it seems, the favourite of many Americans: I give you the US pronounciation "NOTER-DAYME" for Notre Dame, which is enough to make every Frenchman's ears erupt in flames.

Inexplicably, despite a healthy intolerance for the French language, Americans pronounce "herbs" in the French manner, without an initial "h". Is that just to upset the French?

Pictured above, the rinse from my dry teapot, before the leaves.  Zidu ["purple belly"] is reaching the stage at which he doesn't even need leaves inside him to brew something that tastes like tea...

So, what do we know about "Lao-Mayne"?  This particular example is both fruity and fresh, with leaves that look very health indeed (as pictured above).  The colour of the soup is properly yellow, which is a good colour for a European three-year-old cake.  The first infusion, though cloudy, is most pleasant: it is sharp and bitter, in the usual way for "Lao-Mayne", but has the charming, fruity complexity of the greater Banzhangshan region.

This one is clean and well-made.  The buttery scent is common to many young pu'ercha cakes; the bitterness is that of grapefruit - again, something that I have come to expect from "Lao-Mayne".  This works more better than you might expect.  Its solid texture and long throatiness are compliments to its tangy sharpness.  It is, without doubt, an "acquired taste" and perhaps not one to try out on non-teafolk.

Thanks again to Peter for the sample, which was thoroughly enjoyed.  His cakes are coming along very nicely, and I always look forward to seeing what else will be coming out of his stable.


Nick Herman said...

"I like to pronounce "Laoman'e", which should be pronounced "LAO MAN-ERH","

That's not quite true you know, since the "er" thing is quite particular to the Northern Chinese dialects of Mandarin. That's like saying everything we Americans are saying is wrong, because it doesn't convene to the the way you, a Brit, pronounce the same words. Even within Mandarin (unless maybe you're a die-hard northerner?) there is a definite distinction between the "e" and "er" sounds..I never heard someone say "hungry" ("e") with an "er" sound.

Hobbes said...

Dear Nick,

It's not the Beijing "erh" ending here, but an actual integral character, a homonym for "goose" - it appears in every dialect, as well as Beijing (unlike the Beijing "erh"). As I'm sure to know, the "e" in "laomane" actually sounds a bit like James Brown saying "ugh!" No matter how you pronounce it (dialects invariably differ on all points!), it is a "real" character, not related to the notion of "Northern" Chinese.



wert said...

Can we have a photo of the inside of zidu to check out the chasha?

Hobbes said...

I shall try to do so!

Imagine a dark, brown interior of a dark, brown pot and you'll be most of the way there. :)