"Whatever occurs externally as the manifold appearance of the five types of external objects (forms, sounds, smells, tastes and tangibles) or internally as some mental activity, at the very moment of its inception as a field it is seen just as it is, and by the force of its advent it is fully potentiated and then vanishes by itself--how could it possibly remain?--released without a trace, and in that moment the three crucial functions--carefree detachment in whatever arises, access to wide-open spaciousness, and easy relaxation into the appearance upon its inception--are assimilated."
-- Longchenpa (1308 - 1363)
Yes. It's that good. But don't take my word for it. I am in no way an expert on tea. I'd only heard rumors that Douji was one to pay attention to. The ebay vendor China Cha Dao has a nice selection and I was lured by the "gold award" this particular tea was granted at a big competition. Seemed like a logical place to start my Douji inquiry and I am blessed this morning to have experienced what this tea has to offer.
I used the remaining Fiji bottled water I have for this morning's session. I still have much to learn about water and tea but thankfully not so much attachment that I can't enjoy what I have. There is plenty of time ahead of me (with many thanks to those who have pointed the ways I can further my understanding).
This 2007 Douji greeted me first with a warm fragrant welcome of leather. I felt suddenly nostalgic for a time long ago. Immediately following the leather fragrance were soft buttery notes with fruit just around the edges. The liquor pours a distinct peachy yellow hue, though my picture above doesn't capture the almost-pinks that were evident. As I pour the first infusion I find another surprise in the fragrance rising in the steam, aromas reminiscent of a Chinese herb shop, particularly five-spice powder (noting the echo of "five" in the Longchenpa quote above). I haven't even had my first sip and I'm thoroughly delighted thus far.
Let's see... wonderful fragrances, well-balanced, with fruit notes well tamed and kept in harmony with soft wood. Plenty of nuance and complexity. More than I care to twist and contort my words around. The taste is just as delightful. Suggestions of butter cream in the mouth and surprisingly none of the more common youthful aspects of astringency or boisterous ku. This tea presents itself as though it has many more years of wisdom than it's true age denotes. All that I've said thus far suggests a very fine sheng indeed, but what launches this tea into the category of exceptional is the cha qi I experienced with it.
Now, it could be that I was simply in a particularly contemplative mood this morning. I'd been mulling over the Longchenpa quote even before deciding which tea to drink. But my sense is it wasn't all due to the state of mind I brought to the table. I experienced this qi initially with the sensation of deep cleansing as it penetrated my mouth and throat, producing a clean salivation and hui gan. By the third infusion it was clear this tea possessed a very strong qi. Thankfully, this wasn't one of those knock-you-over-the-head, "Hey look, I'm tea drunk" experiences. Rather, this was a quiet and deep penetration into an inner stillness. A perfect meditation tea. In fact I pretty much had no choice in the matter. The invitation to sit quietly, take my time and let go into the stillness was happily unavoidable. There was no rushing this tea. I am swimming in deep gratitude for this wonderful tea. I even found myself tasting and eating the leaves and enjoying them very much. I often eat the spent leaves of green tea, but puerh leaves are more of a challenge, often too bitter so as to overwhelm the drinking of the tea. But these leaves, while containing pronounced ku, provided a perfect counterpoint to the smoothness of the tea soup. An added treat.