Saturday, January 28, 2012

2011 Chawangpu Yiwu GaoShanZhai

Long time I have been getting ready for writing more tasting notes but absolutely unsuccessfully. As if something was holding me back. The whole time since Christmas I have been experiencing something powerful considering this world, something I am not able to talk about directly as I am running out of words each time I open my mouth in an effort to explain it. Strangely though, I have encountered people who are going through the same experience as I do and it feels more comforting at least. The beginning of 2012 is not easy but the more we can handle now, the easier will be the next step, perhaps. I desperately hope so. Life can be very bittersweet sometimes but it would be of no use if we tried to prevent ourselves from either of those two aspects. It seems to me that the dynamic process of change is usually easier for us to bear than enduring a long monotonous flow. 

But back to tea: I used to like sweet flavour in tea a lot, now I am looking for deeper bitterish side of it as too much of one thing turns out to be boring. I used to enjoy the taste of a little aged shengpu a lot, now I am enjoying leaf from 2011 and I cannot be satisfied more. The process of discovery is what makes me happier than keeping the treasure at the end of it. I received a sample of this excellent cake a few months ago and at that time did not feel like trying it. I told myself to wait for the best occasion, as this is what has proved to be a good thing to do. Once the moment comes, everything is perfect.

This little sample showed me something very important. I tasted some younger old-tree leaf in autumn 2011 and did not find special pleasure in tasting the leaf so young. This sample recruited me! It is very good, true, but I cannot say it would be so much better than other young old-tree leaf samples I drank before. I guess I probably was not ready for appreciating it. Or maybe I was looking for something very specific, something to be found in more aged leaf.. I am now discovering a plethora of flavours which to me seemed a bit boring before but now I simply welcome the change. 

This yiwu cake was produced (almost on my birthday) last year by Chawang Shop and you can read all the important information here. I found the leaf to be very nice, rather light green with lovely hairy tips here and there. The light green colour shone beautifully especially after the first rinse and throughout the first hour of the session before it started to oxidize. I enjoyed taking the lid off many times just in order to see the young spring energy embodied in perfect shape.

The flavour is really delicate. It is floral, sweet but very special, it almost reminded me of greener type of oolong from Formosa. I used to drink them a lot few years ago and did not miss it but now it was as if with each cup I was going through the pages of my old diary. It is quite aromatic, the element I never looked for when drinking shengpu. I however enjoyed every sip of this little wonder. It is a cake with great potential but I cannot say if drinking it in a few years time will be even more satisfying, I can only tell that at this moment it is really worth it.

2011 Chawangpu Yiwu GaoShanZhai Xiao Bing
Flavour: sweet, aromatic, floral, light
Aroma: sweet, fresh, floral, pleasant and promising
Bitterness / smokiness: none
Aftertaste: pleasant, refreshing

Good. Very good.



Jakub Tomek says:
at: January 29, 2012 at 8:14 AM said...

Sounds very interesting, Esteban! Looking forward to my own sample which should be already on its way...

esteban rivas says:
at: January 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM said...

Hey Jakub, thanks for your comment, I hope the sample gets fast to your teapot :) I'd be interested in your own impression considering this one!

A Student Of Tea says:
at: February 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM said...

A lot here that resonates with me ... Tea blogs were not of much interest to me lately, but you first paragraph hooked me, even though it is somewhat obscure. I would be curious to read more if you probably write about it later on, but I realize that it mainly means I ought to look into my own stuff more deeply. My start of 2012 felt rough, too, along with a sense that things (mostly inside) won't be the same any more. I get a sense I want to understand anew what gong fu really means to me. Craving some Bulang that I found too unbalanced in it's bitter side before. Strange, but I agree on your point about dynamic change vs. monotonuous flow.

Really appreciate your writing!

- Martin

esteban rivas says:
at: February 3, 2012 at 2:38 PM said...

Martin, thank you for your comment.

It is always a real surprise for me when I get a feedback like this one. Writing a blog is most of the time very solitary thing. The truth is, I did not expect anybody to comment the first paragraph, probably for realizing how strange it might sound. I am aware of the fact that my entries are very personal and sometimes also quite moody. However, after such a long time of learning to drink tea (15 years) I cannot separate my own experience of it from the rest of my life. The more I drink it, the more humble I feel, realizing that when it comes to life itself, I am still a rookie, just making an effort to live it my own way in harmony with the rest of the world. Tea helps me stop and see through and I am grateful for it. That's probably the only intention I have here, to express myself freely and avoid any judgment at all. I believe that we all have our own paths (as well as tastes) and Ms.Tea is simply a very good teacher.


A Student Of Tea says:
at: February 3, 2012 at 6:19 PM said...

Well, thanks back! I like it much better when someone brings all his subjectiveness in rather than trying (or pretending) to be objective about tea. Encourages me to look into all there is to learn from tea (which is not only nice things in my experience), and this I find one of the best ways to write - or read - about tea.

- Martin

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Drink your tea
slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves.
Slowly, evenly,
without rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend.
It pools where humans disdain to dwell,
Close to the Tao.

Live in a good place.
Keep your mind deep.
Treat others well.
Stand by your word.
Keep good order.
Do the right thing.
Work when it's time.

Only do not contend,
And you will not go wrong.

Tao Te Ching, 8 / transl. Addis & Lombardo