It’s been a minute since I posted. Haven’t made any recent purchases, and so had anything new to review in a while. Of course, that all changed when the kind Mr. Andrew Harto was awesome enough to send out samples of this to the gongfucha diaspora. Without further adieu, here is my review of this lovely tea:
The rinsed leaves of this tea smell deeply earthy, pungent and fruity. There is wetness in these leaves, which after the first pour are a deep wooden brown. This wet and composted quality comes out in the first infusion, but the dominant character I’m encountering is tobacco-pipe-wood underscored by some subtle medicinal mintiness. The balance and poise of this tea is strong, and continues into the second cup, which has notes of forest log, tobacco pipe and wet leather. I’d say that there is a bit of mineral-astringency as well, so I let the water cool off a bit before re-infusing to see if I can’t reduce the harshness and smoke that I’m getting. As I sit for a moment I note how gently but penetrating the qi of this tea is; its as if I seem to be slowing down and watching the world move at a distance, and at its own pace.
The astringency is still there is the third cup. It seems to have the smokey quality of a Xia Guan tea, but atop an elegant, woodsy base that retains all of the many nuances already mentioned. By the time I steep the fourth cup, my water has probably fallen into the 175* range, which I think allows some of the more leathery and medicinal qualities to really shine. From what I can tell, this tea is everything it should be for Yiwu sheng in its middle years. It is rich and fragrant, gentle, woodsy, sweet and complex. The bite I’m getting probably really is just its middle aged awkwardness between vibrant green youth and dark, settled maturity.
Later steepings remain spicy and mellow. I’m preferring the cooler water for this tea as it does seem to be driving down the astringency now. Having imbibed this tea, my thinking feels easy and light. Lessening the grip of the more neurotic aspects of my mind, I fall into the spacious eternity of the present moment, recognizing that while form and function change, the nature of right now is nothing but surrender and peace.