Wednesday, March 15, 2006

06 Bai Hao Yinzhen

I received the first 2006 pluckings of white needle thanks to the miracle of global e-commerce. China is a purveyor of a billion things but nothing is as desirable and worthwhile as Yunnan teas. I had a boatload shipped to me express so I can surprise Big J who would love these fuzzy white silver needles smelling of chestnuts and sweet potatoes once brewed. Many pleasures tea brings and what more could one want than inhaling a subtle scent of mellow sweetness. Why do people love things which faintly remind them of other things? I use to scoff at wine drinkers with their "hints of this and that". Now I brewed tiny cups for my self and C and I happily went on and on about chestnuts and sweet potatoes. Is it not amazing how tea leaves share the scent of a tuber and a nut no?

The wikipedia says
" The very best Yinzhen are picked between March 15 and April 10 when it is not raining and only using undamaged and unopened buds". I wonder if this is for the Fujian only and the Yunnan which is warmer can produce good Yinzhen earlier? But with global weather patterns going haywire, nothing can be relied upon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Six Famous Mountain Confusion

From the Tao of Tea site:
"The names of these historic mountains were Youle (copper gong), Mangzhi (copper boa), Manzhuan (iron brick), Yi Bang (wooden clapper), Gedeng (leather stirrup), and Mansa (seed-sowing bag).
We do know that of the mountains considered to be the famous Six by the mid-twentieth century, many had fallen into extreme disrepair due to large fires, over-picking, or neglect. As a result, in 1962 a new group of Famous Six Tea Mountains were named based on the best tea producing mountains at the time - Yiwu, Jingmai, Menghai, Nannuo, Bulang, and Youle. All of these mountains had been famous for many years, one of which, Youle, was a member of the original Six.

Throughout the years, another Famous Six were designated from Jiang Nan (south of the Mekong River) and include some of the mountains from the 1962 list. These are Mengsong, Nannuo, Menghai, Bada, Nanqiao, and Jingmai."

According to JingTea's description:
"The tea that is harvested from the Yi Wu Mountain is always considered as the best quality in Yunnan. There are only a small number of productions made of the real Yi Wu tea each year due to its very limited producing area."

Youle Mountain is the largest I've read which makes me mad about my first bad purchase from 7 cups. Bah.

Current Collector's Notes

I've been trying to sample the widest variety of puerh so I can settle down on some initial preferences. I'm collecting only to enjoy with friends or alone.

Sheng. I prefer the taste of the tongue ripping green tart brew of raw puerh. The cooling flavor notes you get with green- grass, artichoke, hay you do not get with cooked or too aged pu-erhs. Who knows as I age with my beengs, I may change as well in time to enjoy an aging cake.

I may wrongly prefer frangrant beengs to cigarette butt beengs. I guess fortitude is what makes a good cake for aging but I like the teas best which transforms the water into cooling spring water.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


While picking up Victor's cake at Crixa, I casually threw in a canister of tea. What a fine brew. I happily sat and had a cup with the moist dark gingery ginger cake made- the kind made with fresh ginger root. So smooth, no bitterness at all even when oversteeped.

I go manically from praising this tea to cursing it for not being able to stand up to a cookie.