zaterdag 24 maart 2012

Wild concubine

Preparing the setup
Because of a hard week of school with lots of classes, sitting inside a dark grey building while the weather outside was incredible I treated myself with one of the teas I bought from Stéphane (teamasters). Actually I tried it yesterday already just in a cup I covered with a saucer to use as an gaiwan. I was so impressed by the tea that even my mom came to see why I was so excited. She tasted it aswell and liked it so much she even joinde my gong fu cha session today.

Maybe first some more information about this tea. It's a "wild" tea or as Stéphane preferes to call it a "semi-wild" tea. The reason for this name is because it's harvested from an abonded plantation which is overgrown by weeds and other trees. The tea will have to fight to gain his position, it's the story of the survival of the fittest. Eventually he probably will get overgrown by native, more adapted species of plants. Also there is this little insect called the tea jassid who eats from the leafs and leaves a bit of secretion on it. Also this will give a higher oxidation grade. It gives the tea an unique sweet taste. The "plantation" if I can call it that way is in the Feng Huang region which is next to Dong Ding (if I'm correct). The elevation is about 700-800m if my French is correct!

slightly roasted

I really didn't know what to expect from this tea because unlike Oriental Beauty this tea is rolled into little balls and it was also slightly roasted. I kind of was afraid at first for the roasting because I really don't like this burnt flavor I once had in another tea. But this tea was just roasted, not burned and that's a big difference.

When I tried it the day before (about 2-3g for 5min.) I was a little bit afraid that the tea would have this smoky/bitter from roasting but it was the complete opposite than what I expected. When it was dried it has this nice, sweet roasted smell which was very pleasant. But once brewed it was insanely fruity, like I was eating a salsa of grapes with peaches and other sweet, exotic fruits with just a squeeze of lime which gave a lovely sour tintle in my mouth.

Today when I went to make tea my mom joined aswell to try this amazing tea again but now in a yixing pot so I have more control over the tea. When I cleansed the tea with some hot water and smelled the leafs I could smell the roast but after the 1st steep all what was left was intense, sweet fruitiness. The tea has a thick body and is very smooth even at longer steeps. The first 3 steeps were extremely fruity and sweet, it tasted like peaches with grapes with some floral hints. The later steeps had a more astringent, bitter taste from the roasting but it was not disturbing but rather pleasant. The sweetness was still there but the fruitiness was gone which gave it a very special character of sweetness together with the slight bitter touch.
I like to serve this tea in a slightly darker cup which really enhances the rich, orange color of this tea. I also noticed that these unglazed cups give a deeper,intenser taste to more oxidized oolong. Though for the lighter ones it's best to use a glazed porcelain cup.

I was pretty surprised to touch and feel the leafs. I thought because of the competition between all these plants who grown on the abonded plantation the teabush would grown big,thick leafs to capture as much light as possible and to prevent other plants to get sunshine. But the leafs were very tender and small, maybe because there aren't much nutrients in the ground anymore. The tea will rather focus on gaining height instead of making big,strong leafs. Though this doesn't mean it's a bad tea, not at all! It's something very special and I feel strongly connected to nature when I drink this tea. This is how tea is supposed to taste, natural.

Can you find the little insect bites?
All in all this was one of the most special teas I've drank so far. I will keep this one for special occasion when I really want to treat myself. Thank you for the excellent service Stéphane, can't wait to taste and review the other teas I've bought from you.

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