No manufacturer of tea, however well regarded, is infallible. Yiwu Zhengshan Tea Company, more commonly known by its (only?) brand, Douji, has produced many teas I have enjoyed. Even those Douji teas I thought un-spectactular, none did I suspect were poorly processed.
Unfortunately, today's tea is such an example.
I rather enjoyed the 2008 version of this blend, red "dà dŏu", roughly meaning red star, red north star, or red big dipper. The leaf grade/quality for this year's production compares poorly with it, however. Many small bits of leaf, twigs, and older leaf bits (huang pian) comprise the blend--material that was not hand-harvested.
The smells and tastes of the tea are green tea. This surprises me because usually tea blends' having multiple raw material sources usually results in any one poor source being balanced by other better sources.
How to tell? For one, the flavors say green tea: vegetal, buttery, mild. Young sheng pu can taste bitter, but the bitter of this tea appears in the wrong place: the front of the mouth. It also appears without the delicious feature of shengpu bitterness, which is that it fades into sweetness.
The most interesting note the tea gave was Parmesan cheese. The most interesting occurrence during the tea session was the appearance of this little stinker on our rubber plant.
Sort of appropriate.
Anyway, here are the leaves, which along with the soup, prove that looks can only tell so much about a tea. That is, they don't look bad.