Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lincang Yinhao 2007 Te Ji Tuocha

I've made a large enough dent in my small pu'er stash to justify opening the wrapper on this tuocha.  The predominant smell is sweet hay and the compression is tight but not impossible to pry leaves off.

The taste is simple but straightforward: hay, sweetness, astringency, smoke, and bitterness.  Each of the tastes can be picked out rather easily from the tea since they don't meld together into complexity.  This tea doesn't have a lot of middle notes to it.  It's just a little bit of sweetness and astringency as it enters the mouth, and then smoke and bitterness as it reaches the back of the tongue.

This tea never really evolved from the first few steepings.  I've become somewhat accustomed to tea being a little bitter than I'd like for the first two cups since the infusions are very short and it's often hard to decant a teapot precisely within 5 seconds or so for the first infusion.  And a few seconds late means bitter, astringent tea.  But this tea was smoky and bitter throughout several sessions and the flavor beneath the smoke and bitterness was hay.

All of these flavors combined to produce a tea that was ultimately forgettable. The smokiness was overpowering and never really smoothed out to add complexity to the tea, and the hay flavor never developed any sweetness or fruitiness or anything.  Maybe 10 years or so would be beneficial to this tea, but there's certainly nothing redeeming about it now.

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