; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2002 Yong Pin Hao Red Yi Wu Zheng Shan ;

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2002 Yong Pin Hao Red Yi Wu Zheng Shan

One of the reasons Good Tea so insanely easy to find is because I know people who have better palates than myself. At the top of my list are the guys over at Teadb.org. Every week the site features videos of actual tea brewing and sometimes "special guest" tea drunks. On Saturdays, Teadb issues an article covering a tea of the month or a feature article on tea vendors. I find the articles appealing because their analytical approach to tea is much like my own (minus my insanity). Teadb videos demonstrate a high level of skill in verbally expressing the experience of complex flavor profiles. Not to mention the teas look mouth-wateringly good.

But more than this, Teadb demystifies tea by focusing on brewing and tasting techniques. Eschewing myths, tea mysticism, politics, stories and hype, Teadb instead zeroes in on the two most important questions about tea: Does it taste Good, and How much does it Cost? With regard to good taste, Teadb displays skill in finding and discussing complex teas as well as the best brewing methods. As for cost, teas are broken down into price per gram or ounce, depending upon the offering. I have yet to be disappointed with any tea I've purchased from their video or article list. Today I am finally getting around to tasting a tea I bought five months ago after reading about it on their website.
Neglected in tea fridge.
I've had this 2002 Yong Pin Hao cake from Yunnan Sourcing for so long now that I've forgotten it is a Yiwu cake. When I smelled and tasted the floral I thought, this seems like Yiwu and how did I get so many Yiwu cakes in my collection?  Went and looked it up, sure enough Yiwu right there in the name. I bought this from Yunnan Sourcing's China site last spring, and have been storing it ever since. The cake is still available. Looking back at the website, my cake seems a bit more green in appearance by comparison with the YS photos. The underside of the cake is more brown, so mine might be a top o' the tong, as it were. A cut on the top of the very thin paper also supports a tong-topper guess-timate.
Winter natural light here adds a bluish tinge to my photos.
Hoping for a good Sunday tea drunk I work off 9 grams for my 125 ml cup. I see a number of sticks and pray they are not a bad sign. This cake is one of the  strongly fragrant floral teas I own. Been wondering what's stinking up my tea fridge, so now I know the Yong Pin Hao is one of the culprits. Gotta love it when a 14 year old cake still smells so sweet, pointing to good leaf and excellent dry storage.
I pretend I'm using Stig Lindberg tea ware
Initial flavor notes include the usual apricot char, plus grape-y floral and then what I call daisy vegetal. Wisconsin field daisies don't really have a sweet scent, plus they have stringy stalks which split into strands, giving off an acrid vegetal smell.

Thick, dark orange soup on the first steep which contrasts a bit from the reviews on Steepster I've read from recent months, which noted a honey yellow soup instead. Don't know if the summer storage worked on this cake or if it just turned a corner on its own. Subsequent steeps get thicker and very syrupy. When I pour the tea into the cup I don't hear any liquid splashing sounds, it's viscous like lube.
Had to use flash here. Probably forgot to mention my camera is circa 2005.
 Three cups in and not drunk yet. Reminds me of my old dad, a finger of vodka eventually turned into a fist. Then two fists. I'm heading for four fists over here at the tea saloon. Might be due for a Tea-aholics Anonymous dry-out so I can start getting wasted on tea again. Two days later and I'm still steeping away around 10 steeps. This is reminding me a bit of Last Thoughts by White2Tea in the flavor, but where Last Thoughts goes past 30 steeps for me, this one I'm already lengthening steep times once it hits 8.

Sigh, it's all good but what I really want is dark brown and muddy in my tea. Maybe that's an auspicious sign. I'll be tasting mud for eternity and pushing up daisies soon enough, and perhaps I'm just craving what's to come. A reverse of the nesting instinct. Keep up this tea business and I'll be wanting diapers, the logical direction to go next. Really hoping for the extended nursing home stint, got it all planned out now with tea cake horde, IV for caffeine hook-up, Xbox, and online delivery orders of cherries in port wine from Marks and Spencer. That last bit is the wishful thinking part.

I intended to take a photo of the tea leaves here, but jones-ing for a stronger fix I dump them in the trash without thinking. Sorry, in a bit of a hurry to move on to my Liu Bao. The problem with aged sheng is most of the caffeine is fermented out. I literally fall asleep after drinking shou puerh. Green and black (red) teas never entirely leave my cupboard, sometimes one needs a good strong fix.

Yunnan Sourcing has some excellent deals on Yong Pin Hao productions at a wide variety of price points. I paid the premium to get more aging because of my own situation. If I were younger, I'd be tempted by the 2003 Yong Pin Hao 100 gram more tightly compressed tuos of broken Yiwu tea bits for $6.50 each, what an inexpensive daily drinker with 11 years on it! Or the 2013 Yong Pin Hao Nannuo spring tips, a steal at $19. Even just going with the 2005 Bamboo House Yiwu is less than 1/3 of what I paid for my cake and probably another good tea. Anyway, you can find all these by doing a search for "Yong Pin Hao" on Yunnan Sourcing's China site and see for yourself.

Thanks to the guys at Teadb for the recommendation!

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