Today's story is an epic tale of love and longing, a paean of thanksgiving, a chronicle of one man's unceasing journey to find that last, final bargain. Yes, we're drinking the shoops.
Today's teas are a pair of initially-anonymous samples, provided by PM of white2tea.
I used to think of the relationship between PM and myself as one of friendship. Buddies. Comrades. Now, after being exposed to a sequence of ab-sol-utely irresistible bargains, I am beginning to wonder if our relationship is not more like that of a drug-pusher and an addict.
At least I'm not yet stealing cars to feed my habit. At the time of writing.
No prizes will be awarded for guessing the identity of this first pseudoanonymous sample: it is the 421 shupu from 1998. This is tightly compressed, even for tuocha, which is expected for Zhongcha.
The colour of this shoop is striking: it is red-brown. This may not come out very well in the pre-dawn photograph shown below. It looks like a lot of other shupu, let's say, without being one of those "instantly black" kinds. It must be said that the latter are my preference, but I'm willing to give anything a test-drive.
It takes a long time to open, and that is thanks to its compression. When it does, perhaps around the third infusion, it is blacker in colour, while providing powdery sweetness much beloved by we quiet fans of shoops. It begins to resonate near the back of the mouth.
This was made by Kunming factory for the CNNP brand, and, while good, there is better to come.
...and here it is.
This shrivelled-looking piece of apparent excreta is actually a "white wrapper" tuocha, dug up by PM. He is excellent at such digs, as regular readers will know, and I am coming to the conclusion that I have quite a lot of PM "white wrapper" tea on my shelves these days.
I admire the spirit of investigation, willing to get out there, into the Great Uncharted wilderness, with only one's tastebuds to help navigate. The result is low-priced, high-quality tastiness, and this shupu is one such example.
1998 "white wrapper" shupu
Everything that you might look for in shupu is here:
- Densely humid scents of the dry leaves?
- Loose, hand-compressed texture?
- Longer leaves than normal?
- Soft vanilla scents in the aroma cup?
- Big, smooth flavour?
- Resonant in the throat?
- Creamy texture?
- Thick, soft body?
- Colour that is as black as your soul?