20 August, 2007

2006 Dehong Yesheng

The life of uncivilised man is "nasty, brutish, and short" according to (Thomas) Hobbes. This famous quote from Leviathan sprang to mind as I entered into man-versus-leaf combat with this Dehong-area bing.

Of unknown factory, this is an intriguingly brutal cake supplied by the generous auspices of Tea Logic's VL.

En garde!

"Scottish Mountain" @ 100C in 12cl shengpu pot; ~7-8g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaf:
Very high compression and highly chopped, dark leaves make this cake look very old-fashioned. I give up my usual technique of trying to separate the leaves, and just drop a few chunks into the pot with a loud "thunk". It's like brewing dice.

3s, 5s, 7s, 10s, 10s:
The first few infusions are predictably quite quiet, given that we are merely passing water over the outside of a few chunks of very densely-compacted tea. What flavours are apparent are surprisingly pleasant: rich, deep mushroom, and a similarly surprising smoothness that coats the mouth.

So as the leaves separate from their chunks, whence commeth the almighty agony.

VL noted when he provided the tea that "the Dehong is quite strong, so be careful". As the first infusions passed, I thought, "Ha! Vlad is getting soft in his old age!"

After the fifth infusion, through watering eyes, I could almost hear his quiet laughter in the distance.

The brutality in this tea is not at all in its ku: it isn't like a (new) Banzhang, where the power is in the bitterness. Here, the agony is from sheer, unadulterated caffeine. Five infusions of this monster and I felt as if I had been downing doppio espresso all morning. It's the first time that I have ever had to stop drinking just because of caffeine, considering myself fairly well-accustomed to it by now. This is the tea equivalent of a faal curry.

Apparently, VL's father drinks this for fun. Consequently, I now harbour a quiet respect for this unseen (presumably rock-hard) patriarch.

Wet leaf:
Tiny little chopped, dark fragments. Inscrutable.

This tea didn't just pummel me into submission - after the pummeling, it tied me to the back of its chariot and dragged me several circuits around the walls of Troy.

I'm drinking it in my office, as I write this, and my head is reeling in Dehong-induced agony. Never have I been so able to believe the claim to "yesheng" [wild]. Overwhelming.


Mary R said...

Hmm. Pummeled into submission you say? This sounds like a tea I'd like to try. Do you happen to know where VL found it?

Hobbes said...

Dear Mary,

I'd love to know, too! When VL has satisfied his wanderlust, I trust he'll fill us in. My money is on Royal Pu'er or Yunnan Sourcing, based on where the rest of the batch came from, but I can't find anything in their current lists.

The odd thing is, the actual tea is really rather good: chunky, bold flavours, and that surprising smoothness. It can't be too expensive, and should be worth buying to see what happens to it at the least.

Plus, I can try it out on coffee addicts for my own personal amusement.



Hobbes said...

I just noticed that I ignored the neifei! The company is Wantong Tea Factory, according to Lei - but we couldn't see much in the photograph, and that's all that remains.

Anonymous said...

I drink hefeweizens that are clearer than that.


Hobbes said...

Absolutely, it's a dirty tea and no mistaking. I neglected to mention that in the notes. It was a real surprise that something so dirty, hard, and fragmented could taste so pleasant (and cause such woe).



Vladimir Lukiyanov said...

Erm... this is the tea in which I found the piece of brick? I think it is! It was a mini beeng and it came from YSLLC, most of which as far as I remember went in the trash :(


Hobbes said...

Priceless. :)

ankitlochan said...

an intresting tea and a good review. i would love to try some of it. is there any place that i can purchase it


Hobbes said...

Dear Ankit,

Thanks for the kind words. "Interesting" this tea most definitely is!

Sadly, I couldn't find any more of these at Yunnan Sourcing, from whence VL originally grabbed the original - but Scott has been known to be able to find things upon request around the local tea market.

Regarding your earlier question of "subscribing" to this blog, I noticed that there is a link on the front page that I hadn't previously noticed, labelled "Subscribe to: Posts (atom)" which might do the trick for you.



ankitlochan said...

if you get access to this tea let me know.

i have subscribed for the blog - thank you.