19 May, 2014

Revision Classes

Trinity term has a pleasant feeling: it is sunny, there are few lectures, and my undergrad students are either heads-down in revision or heads-down in their glasses of Pimms. It is a time of revision classes and the like, which led me to some revision of my own...

I have received a goodly quantity of positive feedback for my previous foray into the nether-regions of my shelves and I am, Gentle Reader, always configured for maximal response to positive feedback.  If that makes me an unstable system, then may my poles will always reside in the positive half of the s-plane.

I have been revisiting some of my old teas, with an emphasis on the more trustworthy, reliable cakes that I know will deliver the goods.  This makes my sample biased, and I am fine with that: the goal, after all, is for good sessions these days.

Perhaps the most pleasantly educational encounter in the list below was that of the 2005 Xiaguan: this was a cake that was as black as an investment banker's soul when it was young, but which has matured so pleasantly that I am now wondering how my other "black" Xiaguan cakes have turned out.

To the victor, the spoils:

2007 Changyai - Yichanghao "Yiwu": sweet, heavy, solid, and aging despite being sealed in plastic.

2003 Changtai - Qianjiafeng "Jinzhushan": excellent tea.  Orange, heavy, and long-lasting.

2005 Xiaguan "8653": modern "black" Xiaguans can age well, it seems.

2008 Shuangjiang Mengku - Muyechun "Laoshu Qingbing": basic pu'ercha dressed up with purple tones, this is aging slowly.

2008 Menghai - Dayi "8582": in preparation for the arrival of a large purchase of 2008 8582, I try some of my own cakes.  They are coming on nicely, and provide basic Menghai richness.

2004 Changtai - Yichanghao "Yiwu Zhengpin": red, malty, and smooth, this is "old fashioned" tea of a reliable kind.

As ever, the new notes have been appended to the original articles, linked above, and so I invite you to scroll down when opening these pages.


Cody Turner said...

First off let me apoligize for using this comment area to ask a question not related to the post; I couldnt find a general question area.

Now, I have been reading your blog for awhile now and have always wondered if you enjoy other tea varieties. For instance, I notice a lot of Puerh drinker also enjoying high roasted oolongs due to the similar roast/aged taste. Do you ever stray away from your beloved Puerh? If so, what are you favorite varietals?

I would love to see some Oolongs but I completely understand you having your niche in the blogging world!

Have a great day Hobbes.

Hobbes said...

Dear Cody,

Please feel free to ask questions wherever and whenever you wish - this site is not anywhere so well-structured as to have a general discussion area. :)

I tend to write about the tea I drink at home, and that is very often pu'ercha, simply because I enjoy it a great deal. That said, if I am in the mood for a "lo-fi" session, without camera or journal, then I often break out a good hongcha or a decent shupu.

Perhaps alone in the world, I don't get a huge amount of enjoyment from high-roast wulong. I am quite certain that my tastes are too barbaric to appreciate its subtleties. Hongcha and shupu, on the other hand, can put up a good fight and are thoroughly enjoyable to me. :)

While I tend to write only about my sessions at home, which take place maybe once or twice per week now, I am a constant consumer of tea in my laboratory.

A good 50% of my life is spent in meetings, these days, either with my students or with my collaborators, and into each meeting I take a large, glass jug (approx. 500ml) with boiling water and some sort of "lo-fi" tea: often this is a leftover pu'ercha sample, or perhaps a robust, unrefined hongcha or shupu. For really long meetings (> 1 hour), I often take in a back-up flask containing another 500ml of boiling water...

These latter types of tea, while very enjoyable to me, are not really the stuff of written discourse: they are workaday sessions, taken in the background while me and my colleagues "talk shop". :)