; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2015 Bosch White2Tea ;

Sunday, August 9, 2015

2015 Bosch White2Tea

2015 Bosch white2tea

My week of fainting in the arms of the National Guard got me the funds to purchase my very own cake of Bosch, something I've been looking forward to since white2tea released their 2015 house label teas. The description for the Bosch cake insists this tea is for the "experienced" puerh drinker, and of course Old Cwyn thinks she should be at the head of the line in this category. So to shut her up, I had to go ahead and order it. She really wants two cakes, but I also wanted another Poundcake ever since I drank up my entire 100g gourd from May's tea club. When two highly fragrant fresh sheng cakes like Bosch and Poundcake arrive together in a plastic bag in hot weather, they emerge from the box smelling like my Polish aunt's bathroom after she's used it. That's the aunt with hot pink fur wallpaper bathroom and too many perfumes.

Read it at your own risk.
The story on the wrapper of sex with an old Hungarian lady apparently has something to do with a  reincarnation as a Flemish painter. I'm not entirely certain what all this is supposed to evoke, but trust me and disregard this business on the wrapper. I have extensive experience in ignoring old Hungarian women such as my own mother, who also believed in reincarnation.

"I'm reincarnated from a Mexican Indian," we grew up hearing all too often.

"And how do you figure on that, Mom?"

"Oh well it's my gypsy heritage," she'd say.

"Mom. Your heritage is devout Hungarian Orthodox Judaism. The chances of you being related to any other ethnic group are virtually nil."

She never bothered to really look into who Gypsies are, content in her view that it's all about lifestyle and choices and not a history of isolation and oppression and forced wandering. Undeterred, she moved to southern Arizona so she could visit the land of her chosen heritage more often, mostly a dentist because Mexican dentists are cheaper. But still she did stalk a Mexican lawyer in Mazatlan for two years she felt destined to wed, even while married to her own third husband. And just before her death she kept herself busy chasing a Volkswagon dealer in Tucson of Mexican heritage, a second candidate for the destined fourth marriage but thankfully at least she was widowed by that point.

Bit of bleed on the neifei :P

Now don't get me wrong, my mother was a tootsie but I did love her. (A tootsie is someone who wears mini skirts well into her 70s). And I was rather proud of her flagrant and confident sexuality, that unlike other kids I had a Mom who didn't bequeath uptight hang-ups and explained anything sexual to a five-year-old in the most blunt language possible. But when you have a Hungarian parent with no boundaries whatsoever, you need to find the Off Button and press it frequently. If my mother saw the Bosch wrapper, she'd think it is all about her, even though she wouldn't have a clue who a Flemish painter is, nor know a Bosch triptych from a Van Gogh, or a gypsy from a Jew.

Long leaves characterize this cake.

Ignoring the wrapper, therefore, I allowed the tea to air out for several days in case the Poundcake had added to the fragrance. Also, given the rains in Yunnan this year I weighed the tea as well, and got a cool 200g reading on my scale. The tea has bled into the neifei, juicy and full leaves come apart easily. No trouble getting 8 grams into my gaiwan to start my experience.

Normally my Maine Coon isn't interested in my tea.
Overall, I drank the session tea over three consecutive days, usually in three cups of around 100-125ml, less at first and more as the tea expanded. Eventually I transferred the tea to a larger gaiwan to accommodate the expansion.

The color here is that of older trees.
The first three steeps after a single rinse smelled rather similar to a Menghai profile, that acrid apricot. Those first three cups also were the most bitter and astringent of the session, and in fact my eyeballs dried out from the astringency. Take that statement lightly, because I have medications that cause dry mouth and also remove excess liquid from the body. I also got very tea stoned in my face, and sweaty. I promptly passed out, partly from the tea and partly from fatigue. After the nap I went back at it with another three cups, less bitter than before. My cup smells honey floral, in contrast to the bitter lemon of the tea.

Steep number three.
One quality of the early steeps is feeling the tea well into the stomach. These steeps are very yang, something similar to border teas I've had before. While I experience a really good sheng through the throat and into the stomach, this one lingers full and warm in the belly for up to an hour, while cool in the throat and esophagus. This belly quality means that Bosch is drunk with the entire body, not just in the mouth, and in fact more so in the body than mouth.

Steep number six.
This belly sensation produced a kind of disequilibrium for me that I had to reach back into long-dormant knowledge from younger days in meditation classes. When I drink sheng, normally a belly sensation might be a sign of getting a stomach ache from rather bad tea, but that is not the case here. Still the body memory of stomach and tea together led my mind to interpret that a stomach ache might be coming, but this is a memory and not reality. So, the key is to observe. Some people, depending upon their type, may pass out during meditation, or during some types of deep body work like Rolfing. This has less to do with the body work than with hitting emotional memories and the tension that touch begins to release. Some people who are very physical in their type have repressed emotional memories in muscles, or an energy if you are a meditation person. I'm actually the opposite, more of an intellect/feeling person, and my issue of disquiet is more around the physical sensations that my mind cannot make logical sense of. The experience of pregnancy was 9 months of complete disequilibrium for me, where my brain had no clue what my body was up to.

Now, in meditation work, this is the point where you begin to observe more closely, when you hit a disequilibrium. You observe this, and see what it is saying. So my stomach is not really saying "stomach ache," as in feeling sick, it is simply saying "sensations." Thus the observation is merely to experience it as it is, rather than impose an interpretation or course of action.

Certain drug experiences also have a bit of a belly effect, I've never taken psilocybin mushrooms, but I understand these can have a disequilibrium effect in the stomach at first.

Now I'm probably making too much of this, such that anyone reading this is going to conclude too strongly that the belly effect is unpleasant, and my post hoc over-analysis is perhaps a bit much. The effect is actually pleasant and warming if you are a less nervous type than I am. I got a bit of the Woody Allen thing going, certain I have a brain tumor or some such if I have a twitch in my scalp and I find doctors reassuring when they roll their eyes as mine does. If you are a physically vigorous person, you'll truck along with this tea and have a great time. Keep in mind I don't like alcohol much, that explains a lot about my type. Your type might be vastly the opposite, hopefully. I'm someone who has to meditate and observe in order to understand, and I needed to observe the effects of this tea. And I'm someone who'd rather live without the whole business that goes on below the rib cage and above the pelvis, anything tummy and I run. Thus I'm in my non-comfort zone when I think of my digestion, and this is an issue dealt with squarely, long-term in meditation practice.

So the belly effect is quite warming, perhaps more so than I need in the summer and I look forward to drinking this again in the fall during cooler weather. I also noted a bit of char in the strainer and I definitely taste it in the first few steeps. This is something I will need to work out of the tea in a crock because after a year it will taste sour in the dry storage of my geographical area. I just recently crocked up my 2014 Manzhuan for this reason, the char in the tea had started to turn a bit acrid. A year in a crock will get rid of that.

Steep nine outdoors, the cup reflecting the clouds.
I let the leaves sit after 6 steeps until the following day and start up again with what now seems to be a completely different tea. Gone is the early bitterness, the tea tastes mostly sweet with nutmeg and deeper spicy notes. I think the older tea leaves in the mix are in the forefront now, drowned out yesterday by the younger bitter buds. Still some of the belly warmth present, lasting nearly an hour, and tea stoned feeling in the face, but much less pronounced than yesterday. Drank a total of nine steeps over the course of the second day, bringing myself up to steep 15 here now on day 3, when I transfer the leaves to a larger gaiwan and steeping around 2 minutes. I'm still getting plenty of flavor and color too, but the tea is lighter now, more like green tea. As of this writing, the tea is at steep 16 and I have no plans to dump the leaves yet. I expect the remaining brews to lighten and remain at a pleasant cup of green tea.

Steep number twelve.
Overall this tea is an experience of looking, tasting and feeling. I can see why TwoDog is trying to steer away newbies from this tea. They might just taste the bitter and astringent qualities of the early steeps and turn away from the tea, and not even notice the long effects of the tea in the body which distinguishes this from other tea cakes. They might miss the spicy and sweet notes of later steeps.

Steep fifteen and the leaves are really open now.
Also too, this tea is slamming me up against my weakness of mind-body disconnection, my meditation subtype and continued practice. Someone who is much more grounded as a physical type, someone who maybe is a muscle athlete or with more energetic gusto, will find nothing disturbing in this tea whatsoever. A bout of weightlifting or yard work, a roll in the hay would give more of a rush, and tea like this is but a dribble in a much larger blast furnace than what I myself possess. You know your type, and I hope I've provided enough info in this sense to help you decide on your teas.

Same photo as at the start above, steep sixteen.

I've spent some time with sessions of 72 Hours, a tea which is a more straight-up sweet experience. Still the 72 Hours has a bit of the same tea stoned in the face, relaxation quality, but not the changing flavors and subtlety of the Bosch. Flavor-wise, for a great tasting cup the 72 Hours wins. The Bosch is for the inner life, the person who has the time and a particular inclination. I'm glad to have it in my collection. But I plan to throw away the wrapper.

Requiescat in Pace.


  1. Thoughtful review. To bring it down to teaware (sorry!) what is the tea bowl and saucer in the first / last photo? I ask this because I have a thing about antique porcelain ( late 18 th century / early 19th) teaware, which can be picked up on-line at very low prices and which in my humble opinion is unsurpassed. The photos look like they may be of such stuff.
    This isn't on my list of teas to try this year, probably because i can't fit it in amongst the oolongs and others twodog send me every month, but I will look to my belly when drinking tea in future. Well there is plenty of it (belly and tea that is!).

    1. I know, right? The teaware is all modern. The cup is Lin's Ceramics. The yellow saucer is part of a gaiwan set from Crimson Lotus Tea, sold out now but you can still see it on their site. In the photo I was trying to go for an Eastern European vibe but really all of it is Chinese, and Lin's is in Taiwan.

  2. The sensations in the belly are probably one of my favorite things about tea, and it is one of the few times my stomach and I are on speaking terms. Like you, if I could just remove that whole region I would live a much happier life...though my bathroom would be so lonely.

    Very awesome review, I am glad when I read about other people experiencing some of the physical results of tea that I have, makes me feel like less of a 'too busy observing my own body' nutball...or maybe we all are just that?

    1. I don't think I'd last too long in an era with no Advil or aspirin.

  3. Good insights into the psycho-physical aspects of tea and pu-er in particular. I'm always looking for ones that have these attributes and am puzzled more people don't address these points (or do they not feel them, or are aware they exist?) Certainly they do in China and TW. Not really in Japan. Tea in N. America is 99% still on the level of, "This has X characteristics in its taste, and thats why you should drink it."

    1. Lately I seem to be meeting more people who are aware of it but either don't like it or are actively shopping for teas without it. I need all kinds of tea, some give me caffeine, a bit of energy, or put me on the floor. But I don't look for puerh to have everything. Other teas have a strong spot in my tea cupboard.

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