06 October, 2008

2002 Hailanghao "Mengku Qiaomu"

"How about you, Jimmy? You an oak man?"

"Oak's nice."

Indeed it is, and getting redder every time I visit the nearby park.

The tourists have departed, crowds of fresh faces have descended on the city, perhaps coming up for the first time, while the stately oaks act like they've seen it all a hundred times before...

Autumn in ABC

Hailanghao is nice, too. I'm a Hailanghao man, should such a thing exist.

I had to obtain this cake, simply because it was the very first produced by Mr. Hailang. My records show that this cost a minimal £17 from Yunnan Sourcing.

The wrapper is beautifully naive, and that sums up the whole cake rather well. Pictured above, even the factory name (Mingxiang Yayuan) has only been half-translated.

The neipiao [inner ticket] is a CNNP print. The cake is a charmingly thick, chunky affair, and the same leaves run throughout the pressing. Adorably primitive. It is a far cry from the slick, modern Hailanghao productions - and I love it.

The leaves are tiny (see below), and have a gentle, sweet aroma - though they are tinged towards orange. Given that this is his first cake, I suspect Mr. Hailang has been a touch heavy on the oxidation.

Hoho: straight orange brew. The soup is active and sweet, if tweaked gratuitously, and it presents a fine cedarwood character that warms my chilly autumnal bones. "I like it, it's decent - perhaps I am biased towards this kind of tea", sayeth my dear wife.

It is clean, and manages some decent complexity despite its processing, with a hint of autumnal flowers - perhaps it's a little like Oriental Beauty in that regard.

These young orange shengpu are very easy to brew, being very forgiving. While they might not reach the heights of other teas, a good tea in this genre can be a warm treat.

Turning out the wet leaves, their colour tells its own story...

I applaud Scott of Yunnan Sourcing for keeping the price realistic on this cake - being the first of its kind, and six years old, it could easily have been priced much higher. Its lack of complexity and simple, cedarwood nature prohibit paying any more for this, and it is refreshing to see a vendor credit his customers in such a way.

Warming and comforting on a Sunday morning filled with "mists and mellow fruitfulness", I sit back with a later infusion and listen to my wife speaking hometown dialect with her mother via Skype.

Autumn in ABC


小 約翰 said...

Interesting opening salutation, in reply:
“Nobad, howsyersell son.”
Long time on talk .. regards john

Hobbes said...

Dear John,

Great to hear from you - I've been following your conquest of Gaul. :)



Anonymous said...

I love Hobbes

Hobbes said...

I always thought Suzie Derkins was pretty great...

Anonymous said...

Good food