02 February, 2015

E-Z Listening

(Note: the name of this article is pronounced "EE ZED listening".  It's my article, and so I get to decide how it's pronounced.  I choose English pronounciation!)

Sometimes, you don't need your world to be rocked.  Sometimes, settling for "aww yeah" is just fine. Sometimes, a pu'ercha simply doesn't need to kick derrieres, nor take names.

Today is one of those times.  Both of these cakes came from the now-departed splendour of Origin Tea, which has sailed off into the Undying Lands of Elvenkind, far out across the western oceans, beyond the sunset.

The first of the fine pair of E-Z (zed) listening cakes is something named "1990s Round Tea", which is probably an English rendering of "yuancha", a straightforward descriptor for bingcha.  I wish I'd discovered Origin before I did: as it happens, I should be grateful for discovering it just before it closed up shop, a few weeks before it set sail.

As the photography might hint, this session kicked off before dawn.  A father of two fine young dudes  needs to either drink before dawn, or not at all.

Before dawn is a good time to drink teas in the E-Z (zed) listening genre.  This particular "round tea" is crisp and pinewood in its sweetness.  It needs a lot of brewing, straight for the get-go, to get anything resembling character out of it.  Uncomplicated and tangy, it is a basic tea that has been aged quite well - presumably HK following by Taiwan, if this follows the pattern of other Origin Teas.  The nondescript name of the tea is fitting for its character, but that's OK.

Not every tea has to shake the world.

Also from t'Origin, here cometh the 1999 Kunming "Red in Red".

There's something rather smug about these "X in Y" names that rubs me up the wrong way.  I cannot quite put my finger on it, but something is ab-so-lutely wrong about Westerners using this phrase, even though it is a straightforward translation of a phrase that simply describes a zhongcha character in its usual encirclement of eight other zhong characters.  The irritation I feel for the affected nonsense of the phrase "X in Y" is not unlike the irritation I feel concerning use of the phrase "tea master". 

Just a personal beef there.  And aren't personal beefs the best kind of beefs?  No-one likes impersonal beef, after all.

Tar-like, cloying, and strong, this is More Like It.  There is compact, dense sweetness that could only have been acquired from hot and humid storage.  The Taiwanese component of the storage, if it existed, must have been significant in duration, because it has "aired out" considerably.  Some activity remains on the tongue, suggesting that the humidity has not claimed the entirety of this cake's soul.  It is not particularly complex, but it endures.  

Pu'ercha is so very satisfying: even a straightforward tea such as this makes for a comforting and enjoyable session.

Dawn Station

dawn station
loose suits, distant stares
empty coffee cups

dawn sun
and double espresso
melting the frost


Unknown said...

The Red in Red (sorry) was HK dry storage and TW dry storage. Nothing close to traditional there. It's constant dry(ish) storage instead of humid then dry.

Hobbes said...

I wish I could remember this cake. :)



NorberT said...

how come you switched to gaiwan?

Hobbes said...

If memory serves, the quantity in the sample was a little on the low side, so I deployed the weeny gaiwan. :)