28 November 2011

2011 (2010?) Yangpin Hao 'Jing Mai'

Today's tea, the 2011 (2010?) Yangpin Hao Jingmai mountain cake, is another sample from the set of sheng pu'er offered by China Cha Dao with the expressed intent of contrasting plantation "small tree" teas with older arbor "large tree" teas. This is one of the small tree examples, and it is not a tea that the vendor carries. Perhaps this indicates the vendor's opinion of the tea?

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - dry leaf

The leaves, as pictured in the photo above, are of smaller size. This is typical for teas from Jingmai, whose tea trees are of a smaller leaf varietal. One other trait of note is the heavy stripe-rolling treatment given the leaves.

The first infusion has a hard-to-place aroma, and "leafy" seems like a terrible description, but I can think of no better word for the "baseline" smell of raw pu'er leaves when they are very young. It offers a brothy taste, meaty and astringent, with a cooling aftereffect in the mouth. It moves onward to taste more sour, but with a mouthfeel the lasts and extends to the root of the tongue.

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - brew

At times chocolatey and alkaline, and in later infusions becoming thinner in texture and offering mostly bitterness and hay, the tea falls into the "ok" category. It appears to be well processed enough, but of a medium quality material that, although it will likely improve with age, may not become spectacular. If this is the cake I suspect it is, it sells in China for about US$8 per 380g cake, a reasonable price given the quality.

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - brewed leaf


Aaron Chu said...

I am really impressed with size of the loose leaf tea. It looks so freaking HUGE!
But I guess looks can be a little decieving =S
When I had Jingmai at home, its really strange - the aroma is just, un tea like?

anyway, thanks for the review.

Bearsbearsbears said...

Hi Aaron:

For "small tree tea" the leaf size of this tea is pretty good. But, it's still smaller than Yiwu or Banzhang, for example.

Tea from Lancang (which includes Jingmai) does have its own fragrance that is unlike shengpu from other regions, even from other regions in Pu'er/Simao.

What Jingmai did you have?


Alex Zorach said...

I find that English doesn't have many words to describe the various sorts of leafy aromas that a lot of these teas have. I use the word "herbaceous" a lot but that's equally vague and I also don't think it is the same as what I'd describe as a "leafy" smell.

One thing that I find helpful, at least to myself (I have no idea if the analogy is helpful to others) is to picture myself outdoors, climbing around in thickets of leaves, and imagine which time of year and which type of thicket the tea reminds me more of. Early summer, late summer, autumn, spring?