Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1970s Jingua - Golden Mellon puerh

The ghost of old puerh
This 1970s, 500 grams, Golden Mellon raw puerh looks like it came from a Halloween Party. It's white, torn wrapper looks kind of ghostly. But underneath the cloth, the puerh buds appear small, clear and beautiful. From the outside layer, it seems that only very high grade leaves went into this tightly pressed Jingua. (I have also made samples with this Jingua and so I could see that the inside matches the outside and is only made of small buds). These leaves are not coming from a wild habitat, but from plantation trees.


Scents: From dry earth to stable over to old wood, all classic old puerh smells can be found in this Jingua. Despite the profusion of smells, it is interesting to smell how clear and pure they are.
Sight:The tea liquor is also very clear and transparent despite its dark brown color. It's even shiny. And during the first minute, you can see a white fog on the top of the tea liquor. This confirms the high quality of the leaves used in this Jingua.

The taste: The result is a very smooth and round taste. One that says 'give me more'. Pushed to its limits, some astringency and sour taste may appear, but most of the time the brew was so smooth and fine that it almost felt like it disappeared. I remember saying to myself that I feel 'a presence', but almost too faint to grasp. A few hours later, my son reminded me of his upcoming Halloween party. This reminded me of this puerh, because, like a ghost, I could somewhat feel it, but never attain it. Not because it would disappear quickly -it lasts quite long-, but because it tends towards the neutral taste.

I had tried it two years ago, but liked it much more this month.
The open leaves show how small the leaves are.

Conclusion: This Jingua is made with very beautiful leaves that bring a high purity to sight, scents and taste. It doesn't have a direct way of expressing itself. The -usually- heavy old puerh smells are light and the aftertaste is evanescent. It is more reminder of his old self, a ghost of old puerh.

Note: This Jingua costs twice as much as a 1985 wild Yiwu Tuo Cha. (It also weighs twice as much). I have also prepared samples of it. But because it is heavier, I prepared 20 samples (of 25 grams) with 1 Jingua. This means that a sample of this Jingua weighs and costs the same as a sample of the 1985 wild Yiwu Tuo Cha.

7 comments:

jeancarmet said...

"you can see a white fog on the top of the tea liquor. This confirms the high quality of the leaves used in this Jingua."

For which reason ??

Naruwan said...

Can tea masters identify these special old teas in blind tests like wine experts can with wine? Do they go in for that kind of taste testing at all?

Stephane said...

Jeancarmet,

The fog is something to look for in old puerhs. (You almost don't find it for young puerhs). But I forgot the reason Teaparker gave us. Sorry. However, I deducted the high quality of the leaves less from this fog and more from the clarity and transparency of the brew.

Naruwan,

Yes, you can do similar tests as wine wine and try to recognize in blind tastings. But tea is actually even more fun, because you can also make competitions to see who brews a particular tea best. That's because tea is a semi-finished product while wine is a finished product.

Michel said...

'Ghosts of old pu ehr'makes me think of ghosts of Yesterday by Billie Holiday.. Perfect for this midnight brew..

this mellon is like a wise old friend, you look forwards to each meeting and you always leave him with a happy grinn.. Morever this old friend hardly tires of your company.

jacie said...

Fameux ton pu erh "Halloween" !!!
Dailleurs je trouve le rapprochement avec le mot "ghost" bien trouvée. Ce pu erh est, je dirais, entre deux mondes. A mi chemin entre le monde de la jeunesse et celui de la sagesse et du sommeil des vieilles choses en train de se bonifier en cave.
A mi chemin entre la force du jeune et la douceur de l'ancien. En somme, il a du caractère, mais sans aucune agressivité. Du caractère tempéré par l'âge.

Au goût je l'ai trouvé très doux, presque suave. Boisé, terre sèche, encore bien parfumé. Très agréable à boire.
Les saveurs sont bien présentes, mais très pures, très fines. Comme si la chose commençait à se "désincarner" pour accéder à un niveau supérieur d'existence, pour reprendre l'imagerie du fantôme.

En tous les cas, c'est encore du très bon que tu nous a déniché ! Tu a eu une magnifique idée de nous le proposer à la dégustation en petites parties.

Encore une chose : l'infusion est d'une très grande limpidité ! On sent les feuilles bien choisies pour ce melon, et d'un bon grade.
Je l'avais fait dans ton zhong, et même en poussant un peu les infusions, il tenait bien sa route, sans jamais virer de bord vers l'amertume ou l'âpreté.
Je l'essaierai en théière pour voir ce que ça donne. En général la première fois que je bois un thé, je le fais en zhong pour avoir une opinion, un goût plus "neutre". Puis je le fais en théière, et je compare.

Encore merci pour ce morceau de choix.

Anonymous said...

Stephane
Can you comment on the Chi of this 1970 Jingua, how do you find it's effects on the body?

Stephane said...

Tricky question. This old puerh has a less strong Cha qi than the wild 1989 Jiang Cheng or the 1985 Yiwu.
Cha qi is more elusive to describe than flavor or taste. It also depends much more on how your body felt prior the tea. So, instead of trying to remember what I felt a few months ago, the last time I tasted this tea, I would rather recommend that you focus on how YOU feel when you drink it.