Saturday, May 29, 2010

2009 Fan Ji Early Spring Bing Dao

I tend to think that all things strive to have balance.  As our bodies change, various glands and organs work together to keep the body balanced - homeostasis, they call it.

When it comes to tea, balance is hard to measure.  It could be something that is understood only by each individual taster, given the wide ranges and intensities of flavor that we experience in each given tea.
                                     
Today's tea challenges my concept of balance.  My first round with this tea a few weeks ago revealed no aroma or flavor, so I simply put it aside.  Revisits revealed nothing as well, so for this tasting I've decided to bump the leaves up from five grams to six and a half grams.

4, 2, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5

Given the loose compression, I decided that a flash rinse would be fine.  The first four cups had an aroma- a first for me, but the bitterness became so overwhelming that I removed some leaves in both the second and third cups.

The thickness was impressive, but the bitterness was getting in the way of the leather and grain flavors that were emerging.  By the third cup, I felt very nauseous.  I let the water cool down and walked around a bit, which helped.

The fourth cup was the last one that had flavor, and all I could detect was a hint of mushroom with a powerhouse of bitterness.  The last three cups continued down the dreary road of flavorless, thin liquor with an abundance of bitterness.  I even added the leaves that I had taken out earlier in the session, but they didn't have much to give, either.

I seem to have had trouble with Mengku area teas before.  They seem to be extremely finicky brewers, as I have proven to myself in the past with this tea and other similar ones, like the Shuangjiang Mengku Wei Zui Yuan.
As previously stated, this tea challenged my concept of balance by showing no balance whatsoever.  It was either much too bitter or it had no flavor at all, even with minor changes in brewing parameters.  Perhaps a few of you will decide to grab a sample of this from Yunnan Sourcing and have better luck with it.  If you do, let me know what you did.

In the next few days, there will be more reviews, so stay tuned!

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