Sep 10, 2011

2002 Jing Mai Old Tree Sheng

Forecast: A bunch of Tea Shirts custom made and hand painted for Life in Teacup have arrived at my doorstep! They are not in a style that everybody would like. But I love them, and thought maybe some other people would love them too. Also arrived some cute ceramic cups manually custom made for Life in Teacup! The above and a few other small cuties will be put on the blog soon!

To me, this tea is both interesting and strange. Wrapped in a blank piece of paper, it has beautiful leaves. According to the producer, the cake was compressed in 2009, with tea leaves harvested from 2002. I don't know why they waited for years before compressing the cakes. Maybe the tea leaves were bitter when newly made? Maybe they were experimenting on some new method? I don't know.

The liquor color is quite red for a Kunming-stored 2002 tea.

The taste is the interesting and strange part. I took a few sips of the tea. After about 20 seconds, my mouth was filled with wonderful aroma, honey and floral, wave after wave. In my mind, that's typical Jing Mai aroma. This is the positive side, and I want mention the positive thing first. On the other hand, here comes the strange part - in the first 20 seconds after I took the sips, all in my mind was, where is the flavor?? I drank this reddish liquor, and didn't feel much, if any at all, flavor. For a moment, I thought there was something wrong with my tasting sense. Then I realized probably this is what the tea is. It feels very strange.

The sweet aftertaste kicked in after a few infusions, but it didn't show up as fast as in many other aged sheng.

I tasted this tea for a few more times. Finally I decide that I do like it, and it can be a pleasant casual drink. But still I feel it very strange that either the tea doesn't have much flavor before the aromatic aftertaste comes out, or my radar cannot detect its flavor at all. If the infusions are made longer, the tea will yield some mild astringency which turns into pleasant aroma instantly. But still, I didn't detect much flavor.

So I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the tea leaves stayed loose for 7 years before being compressed into cakes.

This tea is a lot milder than some other Kunming-stored sheng of the same age. Milder, and, to some extent, weaker too. I guess it may have something to do with the fact that the tea was kept as loose leaf tea until it was compressed in 2009.

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