28 July, 2007

2007 Tieguanyin "Dajindai"

First of all, on behalf of both Lei and myself, some words of sincere gratitude to Chabei's JMcM for his very generous gift, pictured below.

Readers of Chabei will be long familiar with the author's considerable explorations around Dongguan, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong - one of the best lessons I've learned is not just how to get a full gongfucha table set up in one's office, but how to get the waste-water running into the bottom drawer of the desk...

(Image courtesy of Chabei)

Though the exact provenance of some of the teas remain a mystery, we have named them after the containers in which they arrived - hence, today's tea is "dajindai", or "big golden bag". I should emphasise that this obviously isn't a real tea name!

Brita-filtered water @ 90C in 10cl tieguanyin pot; ~5-6g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaf:
Vivid green, and in smaller balls - what British usually know as "gunpowder" (due to its appearance being reminiscent of gunpowder balls).

7s, 7s, 16s, 25s, 45s, 80s, 120s, >120s, >180s:
This tea is a real trooper, as you can tell from the infusion times. I can't remember the last time a tieguanyin has lasted so long, which is often a good indicator of quality.

The first infusions look like lime cordial, being translucent green, while later infusions take on a fresh yellow-green appearance as the leaves begin to assert themselves.

A distant voice from the kitchen says, "Mmm, beautiful! I can smell it!" The aroma fills the room, being a potent example of the classic buttery-floral, sweet scents of tieguanyin. The lengxiang is similarly enduring, and is of brown sugar.

The flavour is unhurried, full, and rich. Building like a wave from a quiet appearance at the lips to a full-bodied, sweet finish in the throat, it ends in a mouth-watering huigan. The texture is smooth, and the flavours are well-integrated, and balanced.

In the final infusions, as the brew is stretched, the qualities of the underlying leaf make themselves apparent, being simple and "tea"-like in their sourness. The huigan stays until the end.

"It's good, isn't it? Tieguanyin is so thick and sweet - delicious."

Wet leaves:
Small spring leaves, thick and healthy. The edges are all basket-bruised, as used to promote oxidation in the leaf.

A classic aroma, with a bass, smooth flavour that, as a Scot, I'm sure JMcM will know what I mean when I describe it as "butterscotch". A good quality texture, with a solid huigan makes this a very pleasant experience. Thanks once again for the very kind gift - a real pleasure.

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