Zao Qiao Di, 2015, YS

Notes are from a while back, been a bit scattered this month so I haven’t really been focused on blogging.  The following is a review of the cake my parents bought for my birthday at the beginning of June, Yunnan Sourcng’s Zao Qiao Di.

“The first thing I notice is how many small buds are in this tea.  Especially when it is broken from the cake, so I expect a forward and potential tea.  Another thing I note is the somewhat dark shade of the rinse, and the pungent, earthy smell emanating from the gaiwan.

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Infusion one is all this and more; it is powerfully bitter, fragrant, earthy in the vein of wild mushrooms and damp moss.  It is not lacking in sweetness in spite of the above notes, as it has the returning throaty sweet aftertaste that young sheng puer should.  In the subsequent infusion, I note a minty and herbaceous quality atop the deep green forestry tastes of the first.  This strikes me as somewhat of an older tea in a young tea’s body, with qualities I’d usually expect from a tea wth a bit more age.  Indeed, this steeping three is oily and thick, with young sheng bitterness, there is also a sort of basementy dankness that is surprising from a tea barley a year old.

There also seems to be some subtle apricot in the aftertaste, which is obscured by the above note dankness.

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The middle infusions mellow out a bit, revealing a tea-base that is full bodied and textured.  There is more sweetness now, still underscored by mushroom-y bitterness, but now that’s moved into the background.  These rounds of steeping are quite crisp and clear, with the earthy and sweet flavor freely intermingling.

At around the seventh infusion, I decide to pack it up, even though the tea leaves could probably support more steepings.”

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I’ve had this tea quiet a few times since.  It’s certainly very different, and undoubtably has a high base-quality.  I can’t really say if aging would make this better or worse, but I certainly count it as an integral member of my morning tea rotation.

Thanks as always to everyone for reading.  I hope only to have, even if only in some small way, added to my readers’ understanding and enjoyment of tea.

Ginko-San

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