Sunday, April 15, 2007

'01 Kunming Blue Label

Many thanks to Bill (Ancient Tea Horse Road) for this sample.

I tried this tea two ways: Gongfu, and a slightly modified "professional tea tasting" method. For gongfu, I used 6g of leaf in a 90ml pot and after a rinse, I brewed it for 20s, 30s, 30s, 15s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 120s. For the modified tasting method, I used 2g of loose leaf in a 150ml gaiwan.After a flash rinse, I brewed it for 5 minutes, uncovered.

Out of the package, the leaves have a cool minty aroma with a barely noticeable smoke smell. Once placed in the heated vessel, an aged "earthy" aroma comes out, along with a strong smoke aroma. For the first gongfu infusion, the earthiness came out, but disapeared after that. For the second method, the earthiness was noticeable, but not as strong. For both methods, one thing remained the same: smoke. There was a strong cigarette and campfire smoke flavor throughout. The is also some woody and leathery flavors. When the tea, leaves, or cup cooled down, the mintiness aroma would come out.

It wasn't bad, althought the smokiness really threw me off. The original aroma of mint suggested that the tea would taste minty, but it was smoke that came out. Maybe in a few more years.


Salsero said...

Some of these flavors sound pretty awful -- especially "cigarette." Would you say this tea is overall an enjoyable experience now or more something to lay down for the future?

Also, do you think the 2 g method is worth repeating in the future? Does it reveal different facets of the tea? Or is it too early to tell?

I am revisiting the Ye Cha from Chen Guan He Tang that the LJ collectively reviewed. Maybe it's because my expectations were so low, but I'm pleasantly surprised with the quality of this light flavored tea.

Thanks for posting.

Warden said...

I think it's a lay down for several years type tea. Allowing the smoke to mellow would improve it greatly.

I doubt that I'll do the 2g method again. It makes sense for tasting many teas at once, but for just one tea, gongfu was good enough. Also, it's more enjoyable gongfu. gongfu has a thicker mouthfeel, and less bitterness.

I need to try the yehcha again. I think my experience with yehcha was similar to MarshalN's second experience with chawang. I guess there is some broken leaves mixed with whole, and I used broken leaves the first time.

Bill said...

I concur with you Warden that this tea will be best in a few years. Although it is a bit rough on the edges, it does have great potential as all of the indicators are definitely there. I didn’t receive as much smoke as you did. My notes are more metallic in nature, but still very pleasant. I must admit however, that although it has been aging now for some 6 years, it still seems quite adolescent in nature. If I could make one recommendation. Try using 1 gram of pu-erh for every 30ml of water. You will be surprised at how much more of the nuances you can taste.