Thursday, May 15, 2008
2001 Xiaguan Baoyan
I got this brick after reading the positive remarks put forth by Hobbes.
The leaf is rather crumbly, flaky, small, and over all, low quality. It's no surprise when the filter accumulates nearly a full gongfu sessions worth of sediment after only a couple steeps. The tea is a light-brown orangish-red. I can't smell much in the aroma besides a light-sweetness and an almost grainy bite. The taste comes out quite nice, although somewhat bland in the first steep. I can taste a mellowness surrounding a slightly complex flavor profile.
The second steep comes out a deep-red, a significant sign of aging. Although the aroma is subdued, hints of wood, tobacco and the mellow end of age are present. Most notable so far is a taste that is somewhere in between a tang and an astringent bite (acid). A very interesting taste, and very welcome. Noticeable calming/qi and a cooling effect in the mouth and nasal passages.
The leaves in the gaiwan change to resemble something like mush. More wet-stored flavors are released in later steeps, as well as a nice rush of qi. Also noted to be in more abundance in later steeps is a strong acidity (that tangy/astringent bite).
It's too bad Xiaguan didn't use better quality leaf, although, that could make it an entirely different tea. While I agree with Hobbes that this tea is in a very good stage, I think I'd enjoy it even more after a few more years. The acidity seems prevalent enough to stick around.
For a comparison of notes, please see posts by: Bill and Hobbes