17 April, 2009

2007 Yongde Ziyu "Qingbing"

Copious thanks to the mighty Jamus for this sample, which he discovered as part of the private collection of Scott, from Yunnan Sourcing. It's price at about $25 from Norbu Tea, where the vendor comments that this is a garden-grown tea from trees that are around 50 years of age.

"The trees in this garden at 6,000 ft elevation on Mang Fei Mountain (7,200 ft at the peak) basically grow wild until harvest time when the leaves are hand picked."

It would be nice to think that this is true and, perhaps to some limited degree, some of the leaves may indeed come from such trees. I think we'd all be quite foolish if we took such claims at face value, which is a great pity - regular readers will know that I am entirely in favour of introducing DOC-style protection for tea farmers. Then again, I'm sure the tea farmers themselves find it advantageous to make their old-tree growth go further by mixing it with leaves from plantations and younger trees. Maybe we'll get there in 50 years...

2006 Yongde Qingbing

Saturday mornings, wonderful times. The week-end stretches out ahead of us, and we can sit down to enjoy some tea, safe in the knowledge that all of those "essential" tasks have plenty of time to be realised. Just, later. Much later.

Tea first.

The leaves (above) are pleasantly green, sweet, and well-defined. It's a good start.

2006 Yongde Qingbing

Our tea-table is only about one foot off the floor, so we sit under it on cushions. On Saturday mornings, the sun slants through the windows and lights us up in dramatic fashion. Heidu snoozes on a sofa. The music to "Hongloumeng" tinkles away on the stereo.

2006 Yongde Qingbing

This tea is a funny fellow. Lei loved it. She found it "delicate, like an educated middle-aged woman." I found it thin, sweet, and quite astringent. There was plenty of roughness adhering to the walls of the cheeks, and around the throat, which seemed to indicate the presence of at least some plantation leaves in this "50-year-old growth" cake.

It has a pleasant, savoury base, and the astringency can be partly avoided by very quick brewing, but the results are so very thin.

2006 Yongde Qingbing

Altogether, a tea I wouldn't pursue, and I daresay probably isn't worth the asking price. That's in terms of critical appreciation.

In terms of a good tea-session, this was a great one, and a lovely way to start the week-end. You can't argue with gongfucha. Thanks again to Jamus, who was with us at the tea-table in spirit if not in person.


charles brynan said...

Great photography,as usual! Is that a wood or ceramic strainer atop the clear pitcher? By the way I've heard the pitcher called a "tea ocean". Is there a counter part name for the strainer?

Hobbes said...

Dear Charles,

Thanks for the compliment! The strainer is ceramic, and I bought it from Yunnan Sourcing for a pittance. There are no "romantic" names for the strainer that I've come across. :)