Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2008 Gushu GMS Economic Corridors Forum Cake

I finally took a quiet Sunday to break out this tea pressed by a childhood friend of my co-worker.   This cake was not preceded by any hype or gushing blog post. It didn't have a romantic title like Secret Fragrance or Secret Lives to sway me.  There wasn't even an over-promissory vendor description to decipher.   I didn't know what to expect but I made this cake the first official recipient of my Biggest Twig Embedded in A Sheng award.

The compression is loose enough that I can carefully separate out the leaves in layers and I think I barely have enough for 3 sessions.  The brews were extremely pale straw colored- so pale that I worried I was too stingy with the leaves.  But after only the second sip, my tongue is instantly covered in a sugarcane sweetness.  This tea had probably one of the fastest acting huigan I've encountered.  Fourth sip and the back of the tongue is covered with sweetness.   I'm already plotting devious ways to get the rest of my co-worker's cake.

After my fourth brew, I jump up. I realize I have to be somewhere. I have to meet a friend visiting from Hong Kong in SF and I contemplate the discourtesy of showing up late. But they are not tea drinkers and would not understand such an explanation involving huigan.  I have to rush to get ready but as I shower and wash my hair, the sugar on my tongue is overwhelming, and clusters of sweetness keep exploding on my tongue. Even after an hour after I've stopped sipping, I am still surprised with the last latent bursts of sweetness on my tongue while I sit in a noisy BART train tapping out this entry.

Is such huigan evidence of being from a real gushu?  I've gotten decent huigan off Nannuo plantation before and I'm even suspecting this cake is a Nannuo but I hadn't drunk any in 6 years.  Now I am curious about the other old tree beengs I have whose huigan is nearly not as long lasting.  I will need to dust off some cakes this weekend for comparison.

The flavors for this tea weren't particularly complex- light and smooth with an underlying bitterness which went away after a few brews.  It's fun having so much sparkling exploding sugar action in one's mouth.   I feel like an old man who by fortune is seated next to a cute and sassy school girl on a long long transatlantic flight. (Once on a flight to Seoul, I saw an elderly gentleman sitting next to a most adorable school girl.  That guy was smiling the entire flight even when sleeping.)

Who knew a cake commemorating the GMS Economic Corridors Forum could be such a gem? I will try to find out a little bit more about this tea and get more.  After this round, I feel I should do more blind tastings as they tend to force you to stick strictly to the cup.


  1. That is either a good Jing Gu or a good Mengku. 2008 is juuuuust early enough that someone might actually use higher quality material from either place. Anyways, teas from those places definitely can be very high and sweet. A Nannuo is going to be pretty mushroom-y, and by now, you should have smell a conifer/herb Nannuo smell.

    The label does say Buddha something something shan, and there is a Buddha Mountain in western Lancang county, NW of Jingmai by a bit.

    1. My co-worker said his friend's wife is from near Puer city so you may not be far off. Lancang and Simao leaves tend to be sweet.

      (My friend only had a small chunk left which I traded two other beengs for so I'll do a few more tastings for fun before I ask my co-worker to ask his friend...)

  2. That'd be 佛連山, "Buddha Lotus Mountain." Seems to be the name of the brand since there's a big trademark symbol next to it. Don't appear to have anything to do with what mountain(s) it's actually from.

    1. A bit of research later, this is the brand used by the company named at the bottom of the wrapper. They seem to produce some nondescript items from rarely-heard-from mountains. Not sure what to make of it.