30 March, 2015

Chiptunes + Shoops

The Easter Vac.  It is a sacred time.  Not least because my college has, it being the end of term, wound down.  This means two things: (i) all the academics get to focus on sweet, delicious research; and (ii) I have the time to combat a Dark Breakfast every day, followed by a remedial diet of chiptunes + shoops (i.e., shupu) upon hitting my lab shortly thereafter.  

Bacon followed by shoops is the only way to fly, I have concluded.

Knackered 2003 Fenqing wrappers

As if picking up the psychic vibrations of the times, my homes from back home, Mr. TG, sent an e-mail to tempt me with some large doses of the aforementioned shoops + some shengpu.

As Oscar Wilde once said, "I can resist anything except temptation."

This is, in fact, a 2003 cake made by an outfit called Xiangzhuqing Tea Co.

TG (pronounced "TEEDJ") noted that this used to be available via the mighty bushido-laden Bannacha, but that it is now out of stock, and that I suck.  It seems that TEEDJ himself purchased his cake from Chawangshop, but, again, I cannot seem to find it listed there, and, again, I suck.

"Like, whatever", I thought to myself, in my native Valleygirl accent.  I busted out the sample from TEEDJ, which, pictured above, rather reminds me of my day job, in which we sometimes have to extract samples of tuberculosis DNA from the most antisocial of patient byproducts.  Say no more.  I count my blessings that I'm only exposed to the data, rather than the... original material.

Apart from looking like pestilent faecal matter, then, the 2003 Fengqing cake is allegedly "old tree".  Again, this causes my inner Valleygirl to start with the "whatevers", because why in the sweet bowels of Hades would you make shoops out of good laoshu leaves?  You wouldn't, of course.  If you think you're drinking "old tree" shoops, then the chances are quite reasonable that you're not, and that you're gullible, and that, like me, you suck just a little bit.

Edit: this isn't shupu, my notes are incorrect - it is shengpu, and the suction is all mine.

I've never brewed human excrement laden with infectious disease-carrying bacteria, but I suspect that this huangpian-infested, red-tinged leaf is not a million miles away from the charms that we might anticipate from such an experiment.

That is not to say that it's bad, far from it: what we have here is merely rather "rustic", let's say.  It is a Lincang cake, and it is smooth, and rather cooling.  I dig mightily on its sweet and mouth-watering satisfaction.  If it started out "red", which I suspect, then it has nonetheless managed to retain some its oomph, 12 years later.  The background is malted redness, and there is some Lincang grainlike sweetness in it - the impression is one of "decent minor-label artisan cake".  It is not the world's most complex tea, but it has much to recommend it, in its well-balanced way.  If inexpensive, it might be worth a look, although I cannot find its price due to the aforementioned negative pressure gradient that surrounds me.

Enough of the pussyfooting around: it's time drink dirty shoops.

The tiny wee picture above tells us that this is really rather dirty, in that sub-CNNP manner.  Thrills indeed!  This 200g brick will set you back a staggering twenty American bucks via Awazon.  It's cheap, it's nasty, it's just what I needed.

Let's do this.

Did you ever have a tea so rancid that all of the thick, greasy Chinese hair that was embedded in the leaves voluntarily got up and left, because it was too nasty even for thick, greasy Chinese hair to tolerate?  This brick is exactly like that.

Pictured below, we have some sort of... I'm going to say "webbing" embedded in the mixture.  Would you believe that it smells like rank heicha from Hunan?  You would?  Well, it does.  It has the scent of nasty tobacco, just like Hunan bricks of deadliness.  I'm just going to point out the epidemiological fact that this area of China has some pretty serious throat diseases - moreso than any other region.  I can hit you up with some project publications on that if you wish to see the data.

Now, I'm not suggesting that there is a causal link between drinking TEA THAT COMES FROM THE COLON OF SATAN and illness, but I'm going to leave the idea in the back of your mind.

The photograph below rather summarises my opinion of this tea.

It is dark, it is thick, and it is very (very) dirty.  TEEDJ notes that it "responds well to filling the gaiwan with leaf", and so I went heavy with the quantity.  I was rewarded with a very strong, knock-out dose of surprisingly sharp shoops.  It is so very smooth and so very powderlike that I fall instantly in love.

My current lab tipple is WUZIDENGKE from Menghai, which is amazing.  I have tins and tins and tins of this stuff sitting in my lab, thanks to Dubs.  Given that its name means (approx.) "five sons pass Imperial exams", this makes it a fantastic gift for academic colleagues, all of whom seem to get muchos chortles out of the name.  However, so thick and nasty is the CNNP brick from Awazon, that I am considering changing gear from time to time.  

I'm just not sure my white blood cells are up to the job.




Hobbes said...

I wrote this haiku a long time ago and found it in an old diary; it still makes me smile. Before I was a grad student, I used to play an on-line game called Everquest, which was the exact forerunner to World of Warcraft. I never played the latter, on principle, because (i) I played the former entirely too much and (ii) started my graduate degree in 2004 and didn't want to derail it. So, I know very little about "WoW", on purpose, but I know entirely too much about "EQ".

The haiku might look like random text, but I wonder if you can read it. The literal translation would be:

"Shadowknight looking-for-group
want-to-buy Dreadlands teleport
1-gold-piece please-send-tells"

You would see similar scrolling through the various channels all day long; its own parsemonious language, created to save people time. I won't go into the details of its meaning, if you don't already know, as it is not very enlightening. It's basically a (non-teleporting) character who is trying to join an adventuring group, and who would very much like to buy a teleport to a key area, and who is soliciting return correspondence.

The image that makes the haiga reminded me of this haiku; it is from the social event at a recent medical conference in Scotland. My inner "EQ" player chuckled.



P.s. I stopped playing "EQ" about six months before I met my dear girlfriend-then-wife at a conference. I heartily recommend not playing on-line games if you fancy your chances at matrimony.

shah8 said...

A most amusing missive!

/me taps his chin...


If you could have a makeup session with any potential leftover XZH Dinjin Nu'ercha? I mean...Xianzhuqing is a particular area in Fengqing where a famous three millenial tree is. The XZH is supposed to be from the same place, and seeing as how you're tolerating the hongcha from Bannacha SO well...

Hobbes said...


I must have some Daughter-Tea around here somewhere! Heaven knows I'm not quite gullible enough to actually buy the stuff, but I'm sure I'm gullible enough to have a sample at the back of a cupboard. I'll go digging - thank you!



Israel said...

Looks like you have the devil's mycelium on yer hands.

Hobbes said...

That sounds even filthier :)

Unknown said...

That shu brick was the first puerh that I ever tried. I fell instantly in love. The surface of The brick is covered with tiny golden buds and the center of the brick is filled with tea mulch ( not really positive it is tea) The combination is beautiful. Lots of fun was had blending ratios of bud and mulch in the gaiwan. I believe the brick was 11 dollar when I purchased my first one. I now have a la the stack. It is still one of my favorite shupu s of all-time.

Unknown said...


Hobbes said...

NP problem!

Hobbes said...

Eleven (11) dollars?!

Unknown said...

Hmm... If you like cheap stuff like that, Maybe I should send you a sample of the $10.50 (inc shipping) block of "1980's" fake Shu I am drinking now :D

Tea on the Western Reserve said...

Many children, many pu. Could there be a connection to this highly entertaining scatalogical post?