Dadugang 1999 Yiwu Leaf: Medium leaves, mostly whole, medium meat. drying by heated room. Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / dried fruit. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 90s rests, 15s, 30s, 30s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 60s.... Liquor color: Cloudy / golden yellow. Flavor Notes: Medium bitterness, chalky, mild flora and sweetness, and menthol, hint of camphor, woody hint of bamboo flavor, drying mouth. mild body. medium complexity. Best Infusions: Starting at 5th-8th. Cha Qi: Mild, relaxing. Overall: Is there a storage problem? too cloudy to start. A cultivated specimen? On the delicate side for a Yiwu. Age-ability: OK. lack of liquor clarity. Would I buy this tea?: No.
Mang Shi 1999 Dehong Melon Leaf: Small leaves, mostly dusty, dry storage. Heated Leaf aroma: Sweet / wheat grains / straw. Water temp: Crab/fish eye. Infusion and ratio: 6g in 150ml gaiwan. brief rinse, 60s rests, 15s, 15s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 30s, 60s, 60s.... Liquor color: Clear golden yellow / small hint of brown. Flavor Notes: Refreshing, sweetness with bites, hint of smoke, straw, floral aftertaste, medium body. medium smooth complexity. Best Infusions: Starting at 3rd onwards. Cha Qi: Welcoming and present. Overall: Mine look too young for a 6 years old? Good easy drinking. Age-ability: Good. Would I buy this tea?: No.
This is one of the small-leaf puerh specie highly priced and sought after in Yunnan - 小米香 ( Small Rice Fragrance). This 150 years + old tree is a rare specimen.
There are among 23 genera and 380 species of tea-producing plants - Camellia Sinensis in the world as of 1993, 15 genera and 260 species can be found in Yunnan including the prime site for the origin of tea trees. In 1990, China's first preservation nursery for big-leaf varieties was set up in Yunnan, where 607 big-leaf tea trees are being preserved.
After 3 months searching for a decent Shi-Feng, the winner is a medium grade specimen. Left pic. medium grade vs. Right pic. 2nd grade pre-ming.
The competitor were 5 grades of Shi-Feng '06. Pricing from 250 US per pound to 100 US. 3 higher grades of Shi-Feng came directly from The Tea Institute in West lake, Hangzhou. 1 medium grade from Canton, and the last one from T-Gallery NY, which is also a medium grade.
Although the Institute's Shi-Feng on the right had the best appearance and top pricing, it lacked the strength and dropped out at 3rd infus. The Left medium grade from T-Gallery had lesser appearance. Both grades maintain the same characteristic of Shi-Feng: Green bean, Roasted grain/corn, floral, light aroma of rice and sweet, clean, refreshing seaweed finishes. Left one out brewed the higher grade at least 2 steepings.
I am not a big green tea fan, but if I have the 3 months Spring green craving next year. I will go for the medium late harvest instead.
A Specimen from the Original 18 Dragon Well trees on Shi Feng Mountain. Picked back in '03 from a visit to West Lake. Today, the price from these original trees are auction at $130 US per gram.
Tasting 2 Kung Fu Reds. 1st grade, Yixing Red, 3rd of March '06 Harvest vs. Pre-Ming Keemun super fine '05.
Using a 450ml Yixing Kung Fu Red Pot. A very generous gift from Master Jiang Meihua for visiting her studio last Fall.
Yixing Red is a day-to-day tea for most potters in Yixing, beside cooked puerh. The leaf size is similar to a Wuyi Shui Xian, so most of the local pots are larger with thicker wall, around 350-500ml for half-a-day brewing.
In the past, Shui Xian family was most popular among older generations in Chaozhou, Fujian and Hong Kong. Since this tea is mostly roasted, the "greener" properties which create problems in elderly health are dramatically reduced. Nowadays, younger generations are more trends oriented towards the lighter, more fragrance oolong in these regions.
For Shui Xian to fully unfurled, the shape of the Yixing and it's lid-footing's height is very important. Because of the larger leaves size and shape. Pot should be wider in body, shorter in height and have a larger opening. Longer footing creates a "pressing" function in the higher tea to water ratio among the more roasted group.
Medium roasted Shui Xian like Dan Cong should consider a thinner wall pot, since they are mostly more delicate. Heavier SX like Tie Luo Han or High Fire Chaozhou's SX should use thicker wall, almost like Cantonese TGI: http://chadao.blogspot.com/2006/04/yixing-pot-old-and-new.html. This solely depends on different level of roasting, the quality of the specimen and most importantly, the person's taste.
Top is thinner wall, short lid's footing pot for my Dan Cong. Bottom is my thicker wall, long lid's footing pot for aged/high roasted SX. They both have been serving me over 8 years.