|I love how the green glaze of the cup echoes the deep wet greens of the NW|
MattCha's recent post about a delicious shu he sampled, and feeling more in the mood for something smooth and maybe a little sweet, I nosed through my sample packets for some shupu. I decided to try out something from Hou De's selection, an 80's CNNP Shin Ya loose cooked puerh, from the Guang Dong Factory. As I poured a little from the package it reminded me a lot of the gong ting I have from New Century Tea Gallery. Worried that it might also carry the super strong earthy taste of the gong ting I put a little less into the gaiwan than I might have normally.
The initial aroma was reminiscent of that wet storage smell from the thick papered MengKu from my last tea session, although it wasn't quite so strong and was mixed in with plenty of dark sweet earth. I did a quick 5-second steep, poured the watery espresso-colored liquid and gave it a taste. I was surprised to find a light sweet sensation bouncing around in my mouth. But it was very subtle, more "sensation of sweet" than sweet itself. The color of the liquor was a bit on the light side for what I'd expect from a shu as well, so I decided to add some more leaves to the gaiwan and do a bit longer infusion.
Feeling a little bored and unfulfilled I decide to pull out another shupu sample to do a taste comparison. Linda Louie of Bana Tea Company sent me a few shu samples some time ago and I sort through them to choose. One is a loose cooked shu with just some handwriting describing it as a 1992 Ripe Puerh. It looks similar to the 80's CNNP and probably only a few years younger -- a great candidate for a taste-and-compare.
Another 5-second brew and I'm detecting vanilla notes now as well as high fruity tobacco. It's got me thinking of mole' sauce, not in the aroma or taste but in how so many flavor notes are present that are normally associated with sweet, yet this is decidedly savory. Deep roasted coffee, dark cocoa powder, dark spices and tobacco. So rich and complex. I'm hugely tempted to try adding a bit of cream to it just to spread and round out the flavors slightly.
|(warning: Chinese tea blasphemy, but oh so good)|
Overall, this 1992 Ripe Puerh from Bana is a pure delight. The kind of tea that makes me lose all sense of time as I get lost in the tastes and aromas and complexity of it. I don't see it listed on Bana's website, though. I don't know if this was just something extra they sent me because I tend to buy a lot from them, or if it's yet to appear as one of their ripe puerh selections. I'd love to have more than just a sample of this one.