Today's agenda: got the shengpu up in the Sentra.
Go to room 1-12,
tell 'em Miss Lin sent ya.
Please make your brewings clean, rinse up in between.
Rule #1 about me: I am pathologically contrary. If you tell me that I have to like something, or, even worse, that it is cool to like something, then I will almost certainly dislike it, on principle. This is not something over which I have conscious control.
So, when the (super-cute, "Mister Scruff") wrapper of "Poundcake" tells me that it says a lot about you if you not feeling us, then I am almost preternaturally indisposed to find the cake undrinkable. Without intervention of any decision-making process, that's just how it is.
On the bright side, this cake ($50/200g) was green and fruity; Miss Lin described it as being "outlier Yiwu", which is accurate. There is a hint of sourness at the back, which terrifies me, because it has a leafy green-brown flavour that tastes a lot like everything I try to avoid in shengpu. The opening infusions were much better than the tannic later infusions.
"This is quite ordinary", notes my dear wife, as she offers an opinion in passing. I silently rejoice, wondering if I might not be mad, after all.
Calm as possible, make the deal go through
$38/200g is, on the grand scale of modern tea, reasonably affordable. I love the way that the wrapper says "Will this do?", as if Miss Lin ran out of time or ideas. You couldn't say that about some of the 2016 cakes with their plush wrappers!
The leaves are rich, and dark, and spicy. The pale yellow soup is thick, and comforting, and very sweet. I appreciate the beefy, almost meaty, aftertaste. The dry opening is so dry that I am half-expecting to find grapeskins mixed in there with the leaves. It chugs on nicely, with the buttery scent of a clean wok'ing.
It is a solid little drinker, but the background has a hint of sourness that terrifies me; those of us in cooler climes ware the sourness like a werewolf fears silver. "Nice, but not for me", I hurriedly conclude.
I got a hundred bricks, 14.5 a piece
Now this one - this one is a bad boy. You know I saved the best until last, and it's absolutely true in this case. I totally dig 200% the cheesy old wrapper that looks like a leftover from the 1950s. This is real Communist space-race tea. Admittedly it's from 2005, but the ambience is very "planned economy".
This is another White Whale, and old Captain Ahab knows total embargaination when he sees it.
Like the Whale, this is clean orange in its brew. Like my purple-wrapper Dingxing (inexplicably prized from the hands of the dodgiest Taobao seller imaginable), it is sweet in its rustic Yiwu stylings. Unlike either of those two, it has a complexity in its scent, with floral summer-flowers. Hell, it even leaves an explicit cooling sensation in the nose. The nose!
So good is this tea, that it even managed to see off the cold that I had incurred recently, after hitting some deadlines. It cured the common cold, you read it here first.
The first half-dozen infusions are the best for this tea; while remaining clean, sweet and robust, it fades a little after that. For $88/400g, I think it has earned to right to do so. Complaining about this later infusions of this tea would be like complaining about the colour of the leather interior of a classic Jag that someone sold you for 10% market value.
The tongs, they are a-purchasin'.