This here furry sliver tipped mini-beeng could almost pass.
But wait there is something different. It's like walking past a really well-done up tranny on the San Francisco streets. Yup. This is no shengpu. It's actually an oolong in beeng form- an Oriental Beauty no less. Why? What form of abomination is this? Maybe it's for tea drinker's like me that can't drink sheng anymore but still like to pretend... It tastes nothing- nothing like sheng. Let us not press this tranny metaphor further.
Oriental Beauty can definitely be aged and this is the main reason I got this pressed beeng. But perhaps the tea makers also needed to do something creative with those broken up leaves that can't be sold at top dollar. Inspecting the brewed leaves confirms my suspicions. Also it's not entirely clear the green leafhoppers have done their magic on these leaves as most of them look quite unbitten. For those unaware- yes it is insect damage which forces oolong plants to produce antibodies that lead to that fruity taste. I've had leaf hopppers going rogue in my organic garden but they don't seem to work their magic on all edible plants.
Is the vendor's price reduction from $27 to $22 an indication that this novelty pressing might be just a passing experiment? The tea as it is now is good but nothing amazing. Actually I think Scott's purple Dehong varietals have more sparkly fruity juicy mouth satisfaction than this. I'll age this little OB for another few years. I've been slowly drinking through my oolong order. The teas from this vendor are pretty reliable- their dong ding is good. I'll most likely order more tea from them when I am forced to drink oolong which is my current sad state.
I sniffed through my sheng collection this afternoon and found half of the pre 2006 cakes have taken on a distinctly less sweet smell- a tad more closer to dry compost. The colors are darkening considerably, some cakes more than others. The 2006 Douji Big Leaf is the darkest of them all with serious staining on the wrapper. I need to give them a brew but I've somehow lost my masochistic inclinations. I'm hoping just a few more years and the sheng would have mellowed out enough for me to start up again.