Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review Series Pu-erh 3: "Gamma" by Yunnan Sourcing

And this our life,
exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees,
books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones,
and good in every thing.

Drinking tea often sets me to musing. In my last pu-erh tasting, I made reference to the sophistication of this pastime, and how oh-so-nuanced it all was. But here, I think almost the exact opposite: that I'm experiencing something primal, something ancient, perfectly tuned to nature and her wildly exuberant fancies.

With this tasting, I have been enjoying thoroughly pu-erh of a quality that I had not experienced before.

For the gamma bing, I followed roughly the same method of tea preparation as with the previous: I kept a large bowl of very hot water, in which I mostly submerged my teapot and prepared my tea with a fairly large amount of leaf and many short steeps.

Once I rinsed the leaves, they took on a pungent, complex, almost chocolate aroma, which I found intoxicating. I had hoped the aroma would carry into the cup, but alas, they diverged.

At the very first, the tea leaves seemed hesitant-- or, perhaps I should say, I was unable to bring out a very strong flavor. But then . . . well, I'll let you read my notes.

Steeping 2: 12s
Amen, hallelujah. The second steeping smells like Pau D'arco, and like the Forest of Arden. The first sip of the cup was truly weak; but then after it rested a few moments in the fairness pitcher and was poured, the flavor awoke: sharp, rich mouthfeel, indescribably complex. Still a bit on the light side.

From there, the tea progressed through an entirely pleasant session, with a beautifully woodsy and airy cup. Throughout the experience, the tea remained fairly on the light side, which I found surprising-- remember, my previous experience with pu-erh had been with shupu tuochas, which were pretty intense and rather heavy by comparison. This was almost wispy, with this woodsiness (that Forest of Arden aroma) that I described earlier.

Thank you again, Hobbes, for a lovely tasting event. I'm trying to keep up! But, alas, a too-busy schedule put me behind. I'll be adding my tasting notes for the last couple samples in the next couple days.

Here are Hobbes's introductory remarks about the identity of this mystery pu-erh, which is 2009 Yunzhiyuan/Ruicaoxiang "Bulangshanyun." Please read the rest, and enjoy!
"Gamma" is the "Bulangshanyun", which by coincidence or design is the same name as the dreadful "Bulangshanyun" from Puerh Shop that I lamented a few days ago. Yunnan Sourcing notes that this cake was made from 2006 maocha from Mannonzhai [winding-lane village], near Hekai, some 20km north of Banzhang.


Hobbes said...

Excellent stuff - thanks again!



Unknown said...

Hobbes, you're too kind. Thank you for letting me be part of the event!