Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2007 Huanglong Mengsa

The leaves look alright, 2007-green.

No prominent aroma from the leaves in the preheated gaiwan. The liquor comes out quite yellow, with orange character. Smell is rather dry and grassy. Hints of bark and lumber with hidden hints of zest. Taste is pleasant and clean, like trees and grass in dry months of summer. Hints of zest are tasted now as a mellow, non-acidic dull orange. The second steeping reveals some honey-floralness.

The second steep seemed dull, so I used less water and more time for the third. It came out smelling very little. To sum up the aroma in one sensation: dried-up oranges under a canopy of withered trees, over a floor of dried-out grass and earth. I pick up the orange to smell it, but alas, it does not smell.

The color of the brew darkens, but the flavor remains lifeless. At this point, I'm rather tired of the tea, so I thumb through the leaves to find one which is smooth, thin, and fragile, and another which is coarse, thick, and durable. A rather interesting find.

The coarser one looks to be about 1/3 of a larger leaf. This picture shows the varying leaf types found in this tea.

My lack of enthusiasm for this tea isn't because it's a bad tea. Its taste reminds me of a stale, sun-dried Chinese green tea. This is kind of what it is. I've had some bad shengs, and I can't lump this tea into that category. For the price ($12 and change), it's not a bad way to go. I'd be interested in tasting it again in a few years, which is likely, because the sample is sizable.

I arrive at the grove. The area is arid. The orange trees have all but died, spewing forth only a number of green leaves. I crunch over the dead grass and kick up some dust and grass pieces from the ground as I walk. Noticing oranges on the trees, I become curious. I grab an orange and rip it off with modest force. It comes off with a snap along with a sizable portion of the branch. Pollen is released from the branch. I squeeze the orange, but it is dried-out and solid as a rock. I smell it, but the smell has dried away. All that's left is me in this dead field. It's time for my nomadic-self to grab up my spear and depart.

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