02 June, 2015

Be'elzebub and Aged Fish

When in 1816 that great Romantic poet, Lord Byron, wrote his famous verse

"I've got a love-Jones for your body and your skin tone"

he may well have had the 2014 Laochatou from Dubs in mind.

Laochatou [laow-char-toh] is the crystallised evil that is left over after the composting process for making shupu has completed.  They are, perhaps, the kidney stones of Be'elzebub.  Happily, when you brew those little badboys, they can produce some really satisfying tea.

Rock-hard and with a distant scent of shupu, they are almost comically inexpensive.  Such is the profile of by-products from making shupu.  The cost of these at Dubs is listed at $5.50 / 50g.  Paul writes that these are, in fact, made from springtime Bulangshan - we are thus primed for some tea with potential for power and endurance.

This is precisely what they deliver: power, and endurance.  They really do last forever.  It is cooling, and strangely smooth - the flavour of a pebble that has been eroded on the ocean floor for aeons.  It combines the activity of good leaves with a slug of pure molasses.   It tastes almost exactly like gloopy molasses syrup.  At $110/kg, the lab might well benefit from such a mighty and potent little fiend.

You should try these, if you like shupu, and if you like your teas dark and heavy.

The main event today is the 2005 "Gaoshan Qingzing".  Aren't they all gaoshan and qingbing?

At $40, this amusingly-wrapped cake could be a bargain.  It is cloaked in a wrapper that looks a lot like "big green tree", which it obviously is not.

We have fragments of smaller leaves, pictured above, with a most welcome aroma of aged sweetness.  This is a decade old!  2005 is a strangely long time ago.  I was just starting out into the second year of my graduate degree, and was married to my dear wife in the same year - after meeting just one year before, as it happens.

The soup is clean, clear orange and its first impression is: AGED FISH.  This particulary fishy note is one that I associate with sub-CNNP, and it not something that I have come to appreciate.  (Note to self: this is a whole different class of fish to the almost-pleasant Dayi fish.)  It is cooling, and clearly caffeinated.

Thankfully, the second and subsequent infusions lose the fish and gain a strong, pine-like sweetness.  I can take pine, in preference to aged fish, any day of the week.  The sharpness is rather appealing.  I interleave brews of this cake with the Laochatou (started the day before).  The Laochatou continues to be powdery and sweet.  By contrast, the 2005 Gaoshan seems to be rather unsettling on the stomach, which is not a sensation that I typically receive from tea.  The fishy character eventually returns, and I finish the session after some four infusions or so.

AGED FISH: just say "no".

I have altered the
bed time - pray that I alter it
no further


Hobbes said...

My youngest son, Henry, is without doubt the Napolean of crime. This picture demonstrates his Don Corleone style, while on a train for a visit to the countryside.

The text of the haiku is the only way that I can best my deeply strategic youngest son - I achieve bedtime harmony by breaking out the Darth Vader discipline.



paxl13 said...

He is absolutely cute :)

I'll have to revisit the LCT of W2T, when I tryed them, I was disapointed. I might have used a too muhc lighter hand.


Hobbes said...

Use tons!

paxl13 said...

How much exactly is tons ? I tryed 6g/90ml... I'll try 12 maybe ???

Squirrel said...

Somehow reminds me of muscly Arnold with "B-b-b-b-ad to the bone" played in the backround :)

Hobbes said...

Dear Squirrel,

Henry really is b-b-b-b-bad, and he wants your clothes, your money, and your motorcycle.

Dear Paxl13,

6g / 90ml is not really too much - for my 100ml pot, I had to use 15+g to get a beefy stew. Give it a go!



Tofu Miso said...

Hi Hobbes , 15 + grams !!! Either this shu is very very week, delicate and generally lacking - which I find hard to believe since it has come from White2Tea , or you have a constitution of Steel Sir !!!! Being a 2014 production , is there much fermentation flavour still present ? All the best ! Simeon . P.s what is your usual leaf to water ratio for shu?

Hobbes said...

Dear Tofu,

There is plenty of fermentation flavour - especially if you crank up the dial to "11" by piling on the leaves... Go long! You can do it!

I usually bang in around 10-12g for a pot (Zidu) that has a capacity of some 100-110 ml. This is very much a personal choice, though. I imagine that HUMBLE MORTALS probably use less leaf. -__-



paxl13 said...

For the fun of it, I tryed cranking some shu I have to 11 ahem 14... tryed 20g of one tea for 100ml turned out quite nasty and gave me all sorts of side effect, mostly negative, so I'm back at 6g for 90ml :)


Hobbes said...

I admire the willingness to experiment. :)