12 June 2008

2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan (Spirit of Yiwu)

2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - sample This Yiwu cake was one of four members of "The Spirit of Yiwu" tasting set. I visited their distributor in Kunming and tried a two of their cakes, and remember at the time thinking they were passable, not exceptional.

The leaves of this cake are of medium size. The sample I received was all one layer--the face of the cake--so I can't say too much about the leaf.

This "Yiwu Zhengshan" bing fits in with my opinion of their cakes from before. Thin, bland, but with decent energy/caffeine, it tastes more like good green tea than sheng pu'er, even though it shares sheng pu'er's fertile, nearly floral scent. When I encounter bland young sheng it rouses my curiosity, usually resulting in a test overbrewing. Overbrewed, the tea is floral, biscuity, smokey, and otherwise flat.

The flavor sticks to the sides of the tongue, but doesn't extend past the back of the tongue. It becomes bitter around the 6th infusion, an unpleasant full tongue bitterness like long jing brewed too hot. It does, however, get a bit lemony and sour. It doesn't cause salivation; instead, it dries the mouth. It does, though, have a heady qi that's obvious from the second infusion onward.

In later infusions, it gets a little meatier, as though what good maocha used in this cake has surpassed the weakened flavors of the lesser maocha. However, the dry mouth remains, sour remains in the initial taste, and, perhaps left over in the mouth from previous infusions, the unpleasant bitterness haunts the tongue after each swallow. 2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - brew

While it seems I'm being harsh with this tea, I have had worse. In the spectrum of pu'er, this is not that bad. Still, taking it for what it is, removing it from the context of other pu'ers I've had, I can't drink it with pleasure now, nor with fond thoughts of its future. But, not having aged my own stash for more than 4 years, I can't really say, nor can most anyone else.

The leaves appear blended, a mix of bigger, mostly whole hand-picked leaves with machine-harvested smaller leaves and bits. The bigger leaves show signs of oolong oxidation, with many reddened leaf borders and reddened central veins. It was odd to me that this tea's leaves displayed more oolong traits but tasted green, while the leaves of the Tongxing Yiwu from yesterday showed almost no oxidation but tasted sweeter. Looks are deceiving.

2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - spent leaf


MarshalN said...

I remember trying the 2005 and 2006 version of this tea before I left Beijing, and thought that it was not bad -- for its price.

Passable is probably the best way to describe it, and for the fans of the "drink it now" school... certainly not a bad buy. There are far worse.

Anonymous said...


I have to say you got special power to make or break a tea!

I agree with most of your assessment.

I remembered Guanzizai Yiwu tasted so good when it was released in 2007 Spring. I am watching it if it could turn out to be a good one day. I have the 2005 version of the same cake, honestly I am not impressed either.

Jim at PuerhShop.com

Salsero said...

Where does the word Guanzizai come from. I don't see it on the vendor site. Is this the name of the manufacturer? Thanks again for another valuable lesson cum post, and thanks to MarshalN for adding his always valuable 2¢ worth.

Salsero said...

Oops, are we looking at the same tea? My tasting set sample says 2001. Now I am really confused!

Jason Fasi said...

Jim: Only time will tell. :)

Salsero: this is not the 2001 Yiwu. This is the 2007 Yiwu. Jim includes the factories in the small print towards the bottom of his listings.

Salsero said...

Thanks for setting me straight yet again, Jason.

Last night, I tried the 2001 Yiwu Zhengshan that came in my tasting kit. That's the one I mistakenly thought you were reviewing. Jim's site credits it to CNNP, but I'm not so sure that tells me much about who actually made it. I was pretty pleased with it. It had great staying power and a light, but insistent flavor that kept sending me back to rebrew.