I read someplace about the "golden flower" fungus having a property that reduces heat in the body, specifically around the heart. I do have heart disease, which is controlled by medications, but a ticking time bomb nevertheless. My odds aren't great, assuming none of the existing plagues manage to take me out (and I am worried about that too). Another issue is menopause and the heat it generates, waking me in the middle of the night. Long story short, I could do with a bit less heat any way I can get it. And I can deal with drinking a not-so-swell tea for the sake of a little health benefit. In the world of herbal tisanes and Chinese medicine, I've drunk far worse tasting stuff to be sure.
My first purchase of Liu Bao is this Three Cranes Guangxi 250g brick I found on Ebay. As it happens, I have $17-and-change built up in free Ebay Bucks to spend, so might as well pick up some scratch as any tea drunk would do when given free money.
|2011 Three Cranes Liu Bao|
|Wanna play Insanity with me?? photo credit|
The Ebay 2011 Guangxi brick (of summer 2010 material) catches my attention after sorting through the 2008 and 2009 bricks on Chawangshop. Seems like these things sell out of various years and I don't see another brick quite like this Ebay cake anywhere, unless I want eschew the Ebay Bucks to pay more for shipping someplace else. Another advantage is that this brick has been in Florida for a couple of years, so am hoping for at least some moisture in the cake. I haggle with the seller for a week over the offer price, paying less than you see on the sticker, and it is mine.
No way am I going to take a puerh pick to this cake in its current condition. In my younger days, I once gouged my finger real good trying to use a nail scissors to pry up some offensively girlish bows stapled onto a perfectly good pair of leather pumps, resulting in about ten stitches and a scar I still have to this day. Using a Dremel tool instead, I cut 2 mm depth guidelines which allow me to break off pieces by hand. But I break two ceramic cutting wheels just making those lines on the cake. You can see the mess I'm making in the process.
|circa 1950s bird pipe dish, Hoenig of California #102|
|One night of crock storage and pouch button|
This stuff is surprisingly GOOD. Got the qi sensation in the middle of my upper back. The flavor isn't so much about yum yum, though I do like minerally, salty tea, it's more about satisfying what a tea jones really is. How I crave this deep satisfaction, not just relaxation, but something in tea satisfies a hunger and thirst at the same time. My body needs whatever it is in aged tea, a physical aspect, like eating all my spinach or a chili cheese hot dog. A feeling like from balsamic vinegar on beef, or soy sauce on sauteed vegetables, melted cheese on toast, freshly roasted warm nuts, turkey with bread stuffing and sage, onions cooked with fish. It's not about the immediate flavors as about deep flavor and the body experience from certain types of food. I've read before that oral physical satisfactions behind food or smoking or drinking are about a deep yearning for love, about filling an essential emptiness. This Liu Bao, like many other teas I've had, is really bringing it even though I'm only experiencing a dry mess of leaves and sticks, not the fully developed cake as it should be.
As for cooling the body, and reducing heart heat, well, I don't know about that. I'm not feeling cooled at the moment. Maybe I need to give the tea a chance to work over time. Or maybe I need a nap. Waking up from a nap will be a nice little test, as I usually wake up overly warm. Hopefully I can grow out the flowers more in the tea cake and really develop that mushroomy flavor. Will try to remember to update this post with more photos later on. That's assuming I don't drink this cake up quick, which I just might.
Requiescat in Pace.