"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