Saturday, January 1, 2011

2004 "Zhai Zhi Po" Beeng

2004 Nan-Jian first batch "Zhai Zhi Po" Beeng
Type: Raw uncooked pu'erh
Manufacturer: Nan-Jian Factory
Origin: Zhai Zhi Po region, categorized as "small leaf arbor" tea trees

This was a free sample sent to me with the cake I ordered, below. I know some people complain that these tea review blogs only give positive reports on teas, so this one will shake things up a bit. I had high hopes for this tea upon opening the bag. The leaves, even in their dry state, were richly fragrant with plenty of tobacco and vanilla and some overtones of sweet citrus fruits. Same with the aroma from the freshly wetted leaves. It smelled so promising! But the taste of the first infusion was uninteresting and flat. Really nothing going on at all. Even the color of the liquor was unexciting -- a boring brown color with a very slight tinge of dull orange. But sometimes tea doesn't reveal itself until later infusions, so I marched on. 2nd infusion (which I steeped for a bit longer than I normally might with other pu'erhs) showed a faint hui gan, a little dry and bitter at first but soon rising to a subtle and mellow sweetness. But it was weak and not very pronounced. Certainly not like the tea from my last post. 3rd infusion showed a stronger hui gan, but still there was little flavor to the tea. Just not much there to add interest and complexity. You can see from the picture, too, that the leaves were quite small and broken up, in addition to being a uniform flat brown color. I tried a few more infusions but it wasn't long before my stomach started to tense up and hurt, and I know from experience that when a tea causes that sort of reaction in me I'd better abandon that tea session quickly or be uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Disappointing.

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