Sunday, April 24, 2011

tea testing

A couple of weeks ago, my friends arrived from their "tea education" trip to China. As guides and companions on this trip they were happy to have owners of the quite new eshop based in Kunming- Cha wang shop. So I have taken an advantage of it and asked my friends to bring me some tea. Every time I look at menu of any new teashop I am tempted to buy some new tea. But especially, when the offer looks honest and interesting it is not easy to choose. So I appreciated the opportunity offered by ChaWangShop to get samples. I asked for few and have got double of it! 

So what should I try like a first? I was feeling if I do not hold back I will open them all at once. At the end I try few readily. But can I choose from 10g of leaves if I should go for whole cake or basket? It can be tricky but I enjoyed the adventure...

First tea I have tried from this selection hit me by label - 98 Maocha from Lincang pressed in to the 400g cake in 2006. That does sounds interesting, doesn't it?  I approached to this tea without any additional informatio.

It was not easy to take picture of those leaves - dark, shiny with moderate pressing.

What is it? What is going on? If you were present on my tea section that day you would probably hear these questions several times. When I sniffed from the bag for a first time - dry plume aroma reminds me aged oolongs. But later I realized that there are rather raisins and walnuts. Shiny, dark leaves which crepitate between my fingers. Only from those dry leaves I knew - this is going to be something new in my cup.

 rom first sip of the tea I was sure this is not Puer as I know it. I cut the sample in half  - first I prepared it in porcelain wood fired teapot with less leaves and then the second part in small Ixing with less water and shorter brews. For the first time it reminded me a fancy red tea from Georgia I had years ago. Then in smaller pot I find more similarities with some oolongs. Liquor is sweet in both aroma and taste. Raisins and walnuts join herb flowers and scents of flowered devilwood. It will be nearly true that leaves were oxidized, with low or without roasting and then dry stored for many years.  

It will be nearly true that leaves were oxidized, with low or without roasting and then dry stored for many years.  
Looking at leftover leaves you don't find many buds or superfine leaves. Rather larger broken leaves with some stems. None the less I enjoyed five -six good infusions.

 And I was becoming quite sure – This tea is going to be quite difrent/exiting with  more leaves! This tea was not what I asked for and going thru ChawangShop I have not find this cake. So I send my questions to Honza (owner of the shop) and got my answers. "The Maocha is from Lincang-Burma borders and tea businessmen from Kunming found it around 2004. But "material" itself - honestly I don't know and even those discoverers don't know. For sure the tea is old, dry stored and unsorted quality. It reminds me some HeiCha. I have few samples of very expensive, old Sichuan heicha with similar character. On the other hand it is also similar to pressed Formosa TieGuaYin from 1995 I had before. I still work on to get  this tea for eshop. The price should not be too high (around 30-35usd for 400g cake)" 

And I have to say I look forward to it!


  1. I have found this cake to be very interesting too.

    I think that the fact that leaves are a bit broken does not mean much - some of great shengs (and even wulongs) I've had were broken-leaved (although, on the other hand, most of good teas I've had were rather intact).

  2. What an intriguing review! The picture of the dried leaves is so dark I find myself wondering if this is actually a shu? Unfortunately, I'm unable to open the link to this new e-shop, and my attempts to find it via Google leave me with the same "no site exists" message. You post got me very interested to take a look at their offerings.

  3. Thank you both for your comments,

    LTPR - try this The cake should be already there...those leaves are dark but when you see them live you know -it is not Shu at all. It would be great to hear your impressions from it.

  4. I just check it out, and yes -the cake is already available. Here is the link to it Also pictures are better then mine.

    Enjoy your day

  5. Looks like it could be what's called "wild tea" which isn't our normal camellia sinensis.

  6. From taste and "mind-body impact" I would label it as heicha. Does the "wild tea" have some sort of caffeine?