Thursday, 3 February 2011
Old Notorious Ding Xing
Along comes a tea once in a while that causes a bit of a stir. It's not because of it's excellence, everyone agreed that it's pretty good for the price, but it is because it has some controversy and is also pretty cheap. The controversy over this cake is it's age and that it comes from a slightly shady seller, not as shady as the geezer that sells little bags of herbs openly in public on Camden Town bridge but someone still of questionable repute. Cheap to boot too as you could score these for puppies for about £20 I believe on Taobao and much kudos to Hobbes for giving us advice on how to purchase them, even more kudos for updating his blog on this cake's availability at Pu Erh Shop. So off to Pu Erh Shop I went and picked up a couple. I'm not as bigger collector as some so I tend to buy one for keeps and one to drink.
The wrapping has been eaten somewhat by bugs or what have you, one of my cakes much more than the other so I chose the most tarnished cake (chubby little bugger) for my drinking cake. I inspected it for frosting and there was just the slightest hint and with a swish of my knife the leaf happily crumbled off. Being about ten years old is a funny old age for pu erh, past it's teenage years the leaf has some signs of maturity but you can appreciate how it must of looked when it was new. I popped about 5 grams into a gaiwan for brewing and gave it a rinse and was immediately greeted by those pleasant woody aromas.
This tea is very nice, I must say that I like it a lot. It's very smooth in the mouth and after an abortive attempt where the flavour rose no further than my throat, it has given me an extremely rewarding huigan full of peach. The cha qi is also very noticeable, uplifting to the eyes and forehead early on and then settling to warm my middle jiao followed by warmth creeping to my upper jiao. How rewarding this session is!
My collection is made up of teas mainly between the 2007 to 2010 range and although I occasionally pick up small quantities of old tea I didn't have any cakes younger than 2006. Given it's availability and price I heartily recommend picking up some of this tea before it goes.