20 October, 2007

2006 Changtai "Taipei Expo"

My first xiaoxiaobing! Many thanks to the Davelcorp Foundation for this little fellow.

Created by a gentleman that the Houde product pages alternately refer to as "Huang Chuanfeng" and "Huang Chuanfan", this cake was apparently made to recreate the "aroma and flavour of the 50s Hun Yun Tie" bing. This is the first of two cakes I've been drinking blended by this particular chap, entirely by coincidence.

As the entire country gears up for the fundamentally British* experience which is this evening's Rugby World Cup final (in which England are playing, no less), today's tea is being consumed against a backdrop of the sounds of the nearby university rugby squads slamming into each other, with accompanying vehement shouting.

We say "soccer is a gentleman's sport played by thugs; rugby is a thug's game played by gentlemen". Listening to the screams from the nearby pitch, I'm not entirely convinced about the gentlemanly credentials of some of the players, but at least they're trying.

4 cakes of these sweet little bings, taking the leaf amount up to 400g (and approximately that of a real-sized bing), would cost around £28 / $56 - is it worth it?

The dry leaves appear fragmented, but decent: there are plenty of tips to be seen, with some bigger, darker examples. The aroma is really rather good, being sweetly leatherlike, with tobacco. I love tobacco pu'er.

The aroma in the wenxiangbei is sickly sweet, with a hint of green about it - very pleasant it is, too, as with the scent of the dry leaves. The aroma is enduring, also, which bodes well for the performance in the pinmingbei.

The soup is solid orange, and is thick in texture. The flavour is up-front, and instantaneous in its presentation of plenty of pleasurable bitterness. It leads into a pleasant acidity, giving a huigan that endures in line with the wenxiangbei.

The body of the brew is sweet, acid, and excellently mushroom-like, and it is this latter character that stays so long in the nose. I like the flavour very much, and the price (after gradually readjusting to Western prices) seems fair. Already the potency of this tea is filling me up with caffeine...

The wet leaves are chopped to high heaven, characteristically for Changtai, containing all grades, and plenty of stalks. Not pretty.

I liked this tea very much: its fresh, interesting character left me pleasantly surprised. A solid "division two" tea at a not-outrageous price.

* Well, including the Commonwealth and France, mainly, with some random other countries thrown in for good measure


MarshalN said...

Excuse me.... but I thought you actually say "football is a gentleman's game played by thugs, and rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen"???

Maybe I should get my hands on one of these little things. The store 5 minutes walk away sells some....

Anonymous said...

Bon, puisque l'on a perdu contre vous,je vous souhaite à vous les Anglais de gagner !Vous le meritez!


Hobbes said...

Sometimes I go one step further, and call it "Association Rules Football". I like to mentally keep the revolting sport at arm's length. ;)

The Changtai cake: surely, it must cost almost zero bought out there - you may as well get one!



Hobbes said...


Merci beaucoup pour votre acclamation... we need it. ;)

A bientot,


Anonymous said...

Dommage !
Vous avez trés bien joué,but,but...


Hobbes said...

La-cri-mo-sa... di-es il-la...

C'est la vie, non? :)


MarshalN said...

I don't know how expensive or cheap they are here. I'll find out.

小 約翰 said...

Aide, je ne parle pas français, jean

haddemall said...

Dear Hobbes,

Thank you so much for your great writing.

Have you had a chance to revisit this tea lately......



Hobbes said...

Dear Haddemall,

Actually, I'd completely forgotten that this cake exists! I'll have to try and find it! The pictures make it look rather tasty... Thirst is increasing...