08 July, 2007

2000 Jingyehao Yiwu

Originally from Yunnan Sourcing, this sample came from CB [thanks!]. It's £26 - not too expensive for a seven-year cake, going by Western prices. Actually, seeing as each cake gives over 60 sessions, very few of these bingcha really turn out to be all that expensive, in the grand scheme of things.

However, the relatively low price and the listing as simply "Yiwu Zhengshan" on the supplier's web-site (not mentioning the Jingyehao brand) is enough to arouse my suspicion.

Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 12cl zisha pot for shengpu; ~6-7g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaves:
Fairly large and whole, this could be interesting. The presence of tips gives everything a silver downiness. There is a rich mushroom aroma, which seems a touch damp.

There is a consequent rich old "bookishness" on adding the leaves to the rinsed pot, with a little menthol.

5s, 15s, 30s, 45s:
Orange-yellow. Sweetness turning into a cloying sourness in the wenxiangbei. Highly enduring. A "tea calmness" comes over me, and I turn down The Marriage of Figaro.

The soup has a pleasant oil about it, but a fairly thin body. The oiliness is everywhere, lightly and pleasantly.

A touch of dark fruitiness, which initially makes me cautious. No ku whatsoever, which further raises my eyebrows. I give the tea the advantage, and assume that its imminent faults are due to my underbrewing the soup.

Later infusions show that it was, on this occassion at least, the tea's fault: it is very friendly, but has that dark fruitiness and absence of ku that reminds me of the 2002 CNNP from MarshalN [notes at a later date] and, to a lesser extent, the final stages of the 2004 Changtai Yiwu.

Wet leaves:
So minty. They bring to mind the 2006 CNNP tuocha from Turin, in which most of the character was substituted with menthol.

Unsurprisingly, the leaves show signs of red oxidation at the edges, and along the main vein. In what I usually assume is a lack of kill-green processing, I wonder how the original tea would have tasted.

Not much to get excited about, and the low(-ish) price is now understandable. I can't comment on its alleged zhengshan status given that it is processed in such a manner - and I do not see it getting better with age, as it has no ku to mature, nor depth to enhance.

It's a pleasant distraction, but not tempting to buy one for ourselves.


tb. said...

I'm glad to hear your thoughts on this. I just dug in to my sample for the first time last night and had essentially the same experience as you did. I'm still debating if I want to spring for just one beeng to see what happens. In my sample, I didn't notice any of the oxidation on the edges, but perhaps I just need to look closer at the leaves (which are luckily still sitting in my gaiwan... whoops).


speakfreely said...

Hmmm...never got the cloying sour you mention in the wenxiangbei, rather a pronounced sweetness. I really like this one as a "drink it now" kind of tea; I don't think it has the strength to do anything interesting with more aging, but, as one somewhat sensitive to too much ku, I like it for what it is now, even if it has no long-term aging potential. Glad to have a couple beengs in my tea stash.

Hobbes said...

I can see this being quite a popular cake (or at least, if not "popular", bought by quite a few people) - it's one of just two cakes in Yunnan Sourcing's "aged" section (at the time of writing), and isn't too expensive. I know I've looked at it before!



speakfreely said...

Forgot to ask you about your use of "Jingyehao". Reading the description of the 2001 edition of this cake on HouDe, one gets the impression that the 2001 is the only cake that would be called this, even though this is the same wrapper, and the same producer. Thoughts?

Hobbes said...

Interesting - what's listed as "2000 Yiwu Zhengshan" on YS shows Jingyehao on the wrapper.

I didn't realise Houde sold this - on checking it out, they clearly look like the same cake from the wrapper - I suspect that YS has the date wrong. Either that, or Houde's claim that only the 2001 is "chung hwa yi wu jin yeh hao" [zhonghua yiwu jingyehao] is incorrect. I suspect it's just YS date estimation.

It's good to get some more information on this cake - thanks for pointing out that it was sold by Houde. It's a bit of an unusual special purchase - very oddly processed!

It's also good to find out that it's the Mengla Manla Tea Factory - that can't be discerned from the bing wrapper alone.



speakfreely said...


Not being literate (or fluent for that matter) in Chinese, I didn't realize the wrapper had "Jin Yeh Hao" which translates to ?Gold Leaf Trademark? according to babelcarp, but which Guang's writeup seems to translate as "Old Tree Tribute Cake".

Hobbes said...

The "Jingyehao" are the three isolated characters, under the central ring of "Yiwu" and "Cha" characters. Jingyehao in this case means "Respected Estate Brand", where "estate" is used in the tea sense (implying an estate used for production).

There's nothing about old tree tribute cake on the front wrapper, I assume that would be laoshu (or laocong for "bush") gongbing. Maybe that's from the neipiao. :)



Tehahlia said...

Hi Hobbes,

The "Jing Ye" in Jingyehao means to focus and concentrate on one's work and do it well, from the proverb "Jingye Lequn", literally, to work hard and play hard! :")

Scot has its age at 2000, Guang puts it at 2001, I think the age would be closer to Guang's estimate, could be 2002, but certainly not earlier than 2001. I've raised this to Scot before, but he preferred to keep it at the age from his purchasing source.

The wrapper says "Wild Grown" - Ye Sheng, and there is a blend of wild grown tea inside, but the tea, from what Yiwu purist friends of mine and I have sampled, is a blend of not only leaves from Yiwu, but from surrounding region as well - still, the notable blend of wild grown leaves in the tea makes it worth its price.



Hobbes said...

Dear Tehahlia,

Thanks for the extra information, it's much appreciated!