Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sea Dyke Brand Wu-i Yen Cha

Part III of this yancha run-though. Jim of puerhshop included this fairly tasty yancha with one of my orders. Too bad it isn't offered on his website...
Sea Dyke Brand Wu-I Yen Cha (alternative spelling of wuyi yancha).

Dry leaf carries an enticing aroma of sweet roasted chocolate.

I filled my gaiwan just under halfway with leaf. After a rinse, the first few steeps came out rather potent so less leaf might be a good idea. I rather enjoyed the strong flavor, and nothing unpleasant became pronounced.

A heavy roast aroma comes out in the cup, along with chocolate and bark. During the first few potent steeps, the roast was very prominent in the flavor, but accompanying it was strong cocoa and sweet bark as well. Around the third steep, the prominence of the roast dropped off and the tea blended all the flavors together very nicely. This lasted for a while, and for the 6th steep I sat it for 45s.

I found this yancha to be quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, my palate is not the slightest bit developed in this area. The tea has a heavy roast and cocoa flavor, which last for a good 8 steeps. I expect the price to be cheap, and if that is the case, I would be interested in buying more. However, I currently have three yanchas on the way from houde, and I presume that after expanding my palate with those, this Sea Dyke Brand Wu-I Yen Cha will be a tea for the shelves.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

2002 Aged Rou Gui Yancha

Otherwise known as Mystery Sample A, thanks to Sir Brent of TeaNerd.

So this is what they call an aged yancha. "Quite aged," even. If it were a pu-erh, then I would still consider it to be young. This 2002 Rou Gui, however, is reaching the end of it's life. This starts to show in the lifeless aroma of the dry leaf, then even from the rather light flavor of the tea.

The tea starts off by giving aromas of subdued dark chocolate, dry grass, and bread. The flavor is much lighter than I'm used to in yancha. I had to increase from my usual short steeps, to 10-20 seconds, to get a good grip of the flavors. After that, the tea comes out with very little roast, but a dry grass flavor that seems to have replaced it. The roast is light enough in flavor to resemble something like bark. If I look for it, I can taste a bit of sour.

After being pleasantly surprised by yesterday's 07 DHP, I found this tea disappointing. I expected something as bold and sharp as that DHP, but got something much lighter, and perhaps slightly stale. The flavor drops off sharply around the 6th infusion, but the tea continues to give significantly dark-colored steeps. Interesting to note is that the tea started out light in color, then grew darker and darker through the steeps. The picture is of steep 1, and steep 6 got about 3 times as dark (brown/red). Each consecutive steep was longer, which accounted, at least partially, for the darkening.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mystery Yancha B

Thanks to Brent of TeaNerd for involving me in this mystery tasting.

At first I was curious as to why I decided to partake in a yancha tasting (I don't drink the stuff). The yancha I've had in the past has all been fairly cheap and not amazing, so I figured if this TeaNerd guy knows his stuff, then I'll get my paws on "good" yancha. As doubtful as I was about liking it, this tea surprised me.

The dry leaves were in good shape, smelling mostly of burnt wood and some dark chocolate. I threw the whole sample into my gaiwan, rinsed it once, and followed with a few flash infusions. The aroma from the cup was dark and new. My untrained sniffer drew in many long breaths until I came up with this: "dark (mysterious), chocolatey (not specifically dark chocolate anymore), pancakes (sweet dough with tart), all of this under charcoal."

The taste is less complicated, but I was shocked at first to discover how sweet it was! After my excitement dissipated, I tasted a sweet caramel, and a dark chocolate. The strong charcoal from the smell becomes a muted, yet complex taste.

Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this tea. I have to thank Brent again for this excellent tea. This was my first yancha that was more than $20/100g, and surprised me at how good it really was. It turned out to be the 2007 Exquisite Da Hong Pao from TeaCuppa which goes for $20/.42oz (although I waited for this information before I tasted it muahaha).