23 June, 2014

Big Melons

I have a distinct lack of melons on my teashelves. This is deliberate. Melon-tea (guacha) is right up there, in my estimation, with shupu pressed into novelty shapes / pictures, and stuffed tangerines. Bingcha: great. Tuocha: often very good. Zhuancha: more risky. Melons: terrible.

So, how about we then consider the blessed conjunction of melon-tea with something equally hideous: tippy pu'ercha?  The gang's all here.

As always with gifts from Keng, I am hereby forced to eat my words, and retract my statements about how terrible melon-tea and tippy pu'ercha might be.  Keng has a unique ability to demonstrate to me that my opinions are usually wrong, and that I should be ashamed of myself.  In the nicest possible way.  He achieves this through the medium of giving me very nice tea, for which I am always thankful.

As you can tell from the top-most image, this is a 2009 Guyi melon, and its name is "Jingua Gongcha", or "GOLDEN MELON TRIBUTE-TEA".  The capitals are obligatory, because I imagine a thick-necked Mainland tea distributor trying to convince me that this is Emperor's tribute tea.  Silly names are, as we know, par for the course when it comes to pu'ercha.  I think if I made pu'ercha, I could either take white2tea's approach and go for naming after music (anyone for the 2014 Hobbeschayuan People Equals Sh** special production?) or after characters from dodgy sci-fi ("the 2014 Hobbeschayuan Sarlacc Tongue is aging very well these days").  I might run into trademark problems with the latter, but it'd be worth it for the wrapper designs alone.

My special run for each year would be a bounty hunter.  The 2015 cake would be the 2015 Boba Fett, naturally, but perhaps 2016's special run might be 2016 IG88 - it even looks like a proper pu'ercha recipe number, with the added bonus of being a killer droid with a comedy head.

Back to melons.  This melon, being made of tippy leaves (arghle!) separates very easily, because the white fluff prevents the leaves from bonding.  With a little gentle massage, we suddenly move from the compressed melon, shown above, to the chahe of leaves, shown below.

Much like some of the other tippy-pu'ercha that Keng has so generously provided me over the years, this is actually really good, despite my vitriol.  The yellow-orange soup has the predictable and charming scent of fresh pollen (achoo), but it has a strong centre of irreducible pu'ercha proper.  It is well-made, clean, and has decent kuwei [good bitterness].  The latter is particularly surprising, and is the important part about fussing around with what is essentially pu'ercha's answer to white tea.

It chugs along like a little 50cc motorbike, but this is deceptive: it goes slow, and it remains constant, but it lasts forever. It gives, and gives, and then gives some more, without sign of diminishing. It actually lasts several days, in a way that many "proper" pu'ercha cakes will not, and for that it must earn our respect. I admire tenacity. If you've got endurance, and you're in for the long-haul, then you have many of the virtues needed to succeed, given time sufficient. That's fine, in my book. I've come across many a weaker student who, through sheer effort of will and endurance, manages to succeed where more naturally talented, but less enduring, students fail.

Thanks again to Keng for so generously and enjoyable demonstrating that my prejudices need to be reworked.


Unknown said...

Hi, I recognized my Chinese handwriting, not as pretty as the "pumpkin" tea. Cheers! Keng.

Hobbes said...

Your Chinese handwriting is far better than mine... :)

Toodlepip, and best wishes,


Jack M said...

Dear Hobbes,

I hope all is well.

Kindly put me down for a tong of the People Equal S**t production. Please make sure to include the numbers 555,666 somewhere on the wrapper ;)

Best Wishes,


Hobbes said...

Dear Jack,

I rather fancy making a tea or two just to get my cake names out there. Product byline: "Come on mother****er, everybody has to die."