08 April, 2007

2006 Yunnan Black "Pure Buds" Dianhong

Xiaomao and I wish you a very happy Easter Sunday.

There is a joy about town that is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the festival. Unusually, even the tourists look happy.

Today's tea tasting came immediately prior to mass at our local cathedral. In what I believe is a unique arrangement, the cathedral church of our diocese happens to be the chapel of a college (Christchurch, above).

It's a fine place to spend a Sunday morning, after tea. Unfortunately, it's most famous for the Harry Potter films, even moreso than holding the remains of an old English saint.

Look upon the works of J.K. Rowling, ye mighty, and despair.

This morning's tea is the partner of the previously-encountered 2006 "Gold Tips" Dianhong. Also from Yunnan Sourcing (and thanks again to CB for the sample), this variety dispenses with the admixture of larger leaves, and just contains 100% golden tips.

10cl hongcha pot; mineral water @ 100C; 2 scoops; 1 rinse.

Dry leaves:
All tips, as suggested - unlike the previous, which contained darker leaves. Mostly yellow, some green, entirely furry. Floral scents, a little rosebud.

10s, 15s, 25s, 40s, 60s:
Rich amber, with much fur suspended in the soup, though not cloudy as was its peer. The lengxiang is very sour, but very pleasant.

"An immensely fresh and tender fruitiness."

The sour aroma is taken up immediately in the flavour. Condensed pollen, reminding me of the yellow fields of oilseed rape around my home-town.

"This tea is a very innocent young person, a teenager - energetic, not mellow, but fresh."

This isn't as remarkably smooth as the 2006 "Gold Tips", but is smooth in itself.

It has an aftertaste that I initially placed as being the skin of pears, without the pear flavour. Later infusions developed this into the full flavour of perry [cider made with pears rather than apples]. It is the texture and mid-taste of the perry that is present in this fresh, young tea. The perry flavours gradually evolve into something akin to Chinese sweet potatoes.

This tea has serious endurance for one so young. Recalling that its peer, cut with larger black leaves, began to show signs of tiredness after the third infusion, the six-infusion marathon without a hint of slowing down is quite noteworthy.

Dark brown/green, and homogenous tips. It is an excellent grade, just as Scott's product description stated. Full marks for accurate salesmanship.

Refreshing and enjoyable. Surprisingly enduring. Not as fine as the really rather staggering 2006 "Gold Tips", but this grade shows its class by the sixth infusion.

Treat this tea with a strong hand: plenty of leaf, plenty of time for infusion. It seems almost impossible to overbrew.

Hayfever sufferers might wish to beware the pollen flavour of bright yellow oilseed present in this tea...


~ Phyll said...

Hogwarts or Oxford, you live in a beautiful place, H. Come to Los Angeles and truly despair! I appreciate the photography on your blog. Is that bridge also in Oxford?

Thanks for the wonderful tasting notes.

Ido said...

I got sore eyes after looking at your pictures for too long (if too long can exist for these pictures). They are stunning!
You and V.L should start a new blog about photography.

Your wonderful tasting notes make me jealous of your taste buds... .

Do you mind telling where you get your teas from?

Hobbes said...


L.A. is my idea of urban excitement, at least the image that I have in my mind!

The bridge is in Scotland. Have you ever been there? Most of it is just like it is in Braveheart, oddly enough. :)


I'm very glad that you liked the pictures; I definitely love those blogs with more photos rather than less. Tea Logic has to be top of the pile for artistic tea expression. All that good proportioning must be due to the mathematical bias... :)

The teas are mainly from internet vendors; I'll try to ensure that I mention where each is from, as the notes are less useful for others if the teas are unobtainable. Then again, I enjoy reading tasting notes from others of teas that I am unlike to come across, such as MashalN's tastings in Beijing. Those blogs can be an education simply from the descriptions, without the necessity to be able to find the actual tea myself.

My favourite internet vendors to date are Teamasters, Yunnan Sourcing, and Dragon Teahouse. There are plenty others that have great recommendations from people I trust (Houde, etc.) but I've no personal experience of them yet. They're a great place to start! I'd begin by starting at the pu'er LiveJournal page (to which there's a link on the main page of Half-Dipper).

Toodlepip both,