18 June, 2010

2009 Changtai - Qianjiafeng "Jinzhushan"

Regular readers will know that I rather like Yichanghao cakes.  They're often very decent, and not too expensive.  I can't say that this extends to the standard Changtai numbered recipes, which are usually fairly rough, but the "YCH" are usually good.

Imagine my delight, then, to come across a brand from Changtai that I've never noticed before: Qianjiafeng [chee-an jee-ah fung].

2009 Qianjiafeng Jinzhushan
It's a whole new brand (to me)

This tea was kindly provided as a review cake / gift by Red Lantern, where it usually sells for $23.  As the sticker on the box shows above, "Jinzhushan" [jin djoo shan] means "Golden Bamboo Mountain".  This is in Simao, which marks it out as an "outlier" tea, which I usually enjoy very much.

(I have samples of the 2003 and 2005, I think, of this one still to try.)

2009 Qianjiafeng Jinzhushan
I wish I could convey the scent of this cake

The leaves are really rather enormous, and have a pungent, green aroma.  The scent is aggressive, which is surely a good thing.

2009 Qianjiafeng Jinzhushan

I must confess that this tea was rather good, which you'll have to take on trust.  Given that it was a gift, you'll no doubt be expecting me to like it - but, in and of itself, it's a tasty cake.

Is it raw?  Raw like most maocha?  Raw like most decent hand-selected cakes?  No.  As shown below, it brews up a big, fat orange colour, and it has plenty of tobacco and other darkened flavours that have been accentuated through some artful blending.  Consequently, its bitterness has been toned down a touch, and one can start using long infusions without fear of overbrewing.

However, it is a blend - there is plenty of raw shengpu in here, which give a decent kuwei, and the whole has been assembled rather well.

2009 Qianjiafeng Jinzhushan
Huskiness be thy name

There's something about its processing that reminds me of Dayi, but I can't quite put my finger on it.  Perhaps it is the exaggerated, heavy overtone; that sweet-roast that hangs around in the back of the nose.  It's very familiar.

It's also very Simao - sweet, tangy, and long in a granary, cereal way.

It cuts a very pleasant course between too rough and too empty, and, while it has some plantation roughness, it is just $20.  Rather nice, if slightly compromised.


Anonymous said...

I bought two of this at a slightly lower price and found it quite agreeable; it's not raw pu'er, but it's okay to drink now. I would have liked more raw pu'er for the long run, but I think this one might turn out okay...

I haven't sent you the samples I mentioned yet, because I'm still waiting for a cake that got delayed (quite a bit apperantly) by the volcano eruption. I'm guessing three weeks...

Have a great summer, and please keep on posting!


Hobbes said...

Dear Terje,

I get the same impression - it's tasty, and there are plenty of not-quite-raw- Yichanghao cakes that have turned out very nicely 5-10 years down the line. I like their quality of leaf. They seem to know what they're doing with their procesing, too.

Thanks for the samples! I am taking two weeks of annual leave in two weeks time, and do solemnly promise to put several of the hours together to send you, and the other 3-4 souls on my long-suffering "to send" list, some samples from my additions over the past year :)

Best wishes and toodlepip,


Bret said...

Have you noticed any difference in the procesing between the 2005 & 2009 cakes? Ive got a cake of the 2005, it brews up yellow (provided that I brew it correctly) I like this tea quite a bit but for some reason I,m not hurrying to buy any more of them.

Hobbes said...

Dear Bret,

I've not had the time to try the 2005 or 2003 yet, but the DTH tea-tasting session from a while back included the 2006 version (it was the "green" cake), which I didn't find too thrilling at the time. This one was much more noticeable and enjoyable.



Hobbes said...

Re-reading my notes from that 2006 version, I found simple granary characteristics, which are at least similar to those in the 2009 variety.