12 September, 2010

2009 Yangpinhao "Mengku Yesheng Zhutong"

It is the season of mellow fruitfulness. My dear wife is fruiting nicely, and so is our garden...

Even the garden is growing its own fruits - mushrooms, in this case, pictured lower-right

Hand-selected, hand-grown, and hand-picked - just like good tea. The flavour and character of such products exceeds the mundane versions to such a great degree that I am left wondering why we eat anything else apart from home-grown vegetables, or drink anything else other than first-class tea. The answer is, of course, availability.

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

This "zhutong" [bamboo-tube] tea, kindly provided by Keng represents our first foray into such pu'er.  You may recall my aversion to novelty products, whether they be "braided leaves", wrapped in tangerines, or any other type of crazy packaging designed to attract the eye.  This one, however, has a charming rustic feeling, and so I attempt not to be (too much of) a grouch.

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

The design of the tong has clearly been considered well: tea may be extracted from the tube by inserting an implement into the groove that runs along its length, and then taking a quantity to the opening at one end.

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

A cylindrical section of tea pops out, along with perhaps one of the most potent scents in pu'er I have ever encountered: the entire room is filled with thick, sweet fruitiness.  It reminds me of the freshest of purple-leaf pu'er, with the fruitiness dial turned up to "11".

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

The small leaves look picturesque, and have been well handled - they are mostly whole, and have a healthy, furry sheen.

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

Such activity!  Pictured below is the yellow brew straight from the pot - it is almost green, when viewed in natural light, such is its freshness.  Thirty seconds in the air and it has visibly oxidised to the thick orange pictured above.  The transformation is quite remarkable.

2009 Yangpinhao Bamboo

I am left dazzled - such aroma and activity are really rather surprising.

The aroma and flavour of the tea are, however, quite heavily roasted.  "This reminds me of my roasted wheat tea", notes Lei, referring to the grains that she hand-roasts in a wok for afternoon (caffeine-free) drinking.  As a result, what could have been a walk through fresh, Mengku territory turned out to be a constant, fairly constrained wander through a roasted-maocha that tastes pleasantly sweet, but goes no further.

Thanks again for Keng for the opportunity to try such an interesting new experience.

P.s. To the 23% of my readers that use Internet Explorer: I recently loaded the Half-Dipper into IE to be surprised to see that the background doesn't scroll properly.  I hope that my recent fix for this works for you!  I apologise for not spotting it sooner - I usually use Firefox, which the remaining three-quarters of my readers seem to use, according to Google.  If you're an IE-user, then you should be all set, now.


B said...

Hey, you forgot about me ! I read in bed on weekend mornings on my iPhone, where the page looks fine. Although I do have to zoom in on your little P.Ses to read them. :)

Anonymous said...

Last week I picked some fresh, fresh pears from a variety meant for canning.

It's obvious why it was meant for canning--thick, rough skin and lots of grain cells, but it was *delicious*.

Freshness, can't be beat.


Hobbes said...

Reading blogs in bed sounds incredibly good fun! Rather like enjoying the Sunday newspapers. Not too many Opera or Safari users read the Half-Dipper, according to Google, but I hope it looks OK in those browsers. :)

Shah: agreed!