; Cwyn's Death By Tea: Broken Cup Teahouse Yancha ;

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Broken Cup Teahouse Yancha

Back in October 2022, I caught a tweet by Max Falkowitz saying a friend of his opened a new tea pop-up called Broken Cup Teahouse, please offer some support. I’m happy to try a new vendor once, so I ordered 30g of a “1993 Old Style Narcissus,” a Wuyi Yancha. Along with the order I got a free 5g of 2021 Dark Honey, a hongcha. I probably should have got round to drinking these teas sooner, because the Yancha is sold out now. 

2021 Dark Honey Black/Red

I drank the hongcha first, all 5g in the Kamjove gravity steeper, as a casual morning cuppa. I brewed 3 steeps per day for 3 days, so a total of 9 steeps. The longevity is impressive, the tea could have gone more, but after 3 days I decided to toss the leaves, not being sure I should really keep them longer. 

The profile is Yunnan style, with a hot cocoa note start and then red tea tannins. It’s a pleasant enough tea.

The Narcissus Yancha was more interesting, I think I paid $30-ish for it? So maybe a $1/g. I brewed 5 grams of this too, also over 3 days. 

“1993 Old Style Narcissus”

I’m not a Yancha expert, and all the Wuyi Yancha I’ve had in the past were 7 years or younger. So I don’t have any way to judge the stated age, but I bring puerh skepticism to the session and I don’t take 1993 literally. Wuyi teas are rife with fakery issues similar to puerh, they are pricey and not enough real Wuyi style teas actually exist to create all the those sold as Wuyi. So yeah.

The Narcissus is a very comforting tea to drink if you like oolong profiles and a bit of damp in your tea. The storage on the tea is very good, it has a faded wet note that for me characterizes natural storage, along with a not-unpleasant dusty closet front. But I didn’t rinse the tea, I normally don’t rinse Yancha. Might be ideal to rinse in terms of the steep quality, but the storage is also more obvious without the rinse. 

I don’t know the provenance of this tea, but I can dream up a guess. The faded roast, dusty closet, and retired damp seem like a tea stored in bags or a box or basket, in a shop or warehouse for years, where nobody currently working can remember how long that tea has been there. “Yeah, it’s been here as long as I’ve worked here,” and they add up the years of the workers and after that make up any year for the tea.

The tea has nothing green left in it, and requires a hard boil to get it to open. The storage and a prune note are there along with the faded roast, my first 3 steeps were flash brews, but then the tea seemed tired for three brews and I needed to really extend the time. Brewing a minute per steep I got 7, 8 and 9 steeps no problem. 

The tea having no green in it does not get stewed such that it sticks to the bottom of the gravity steeper. It stays fluffy. The gravity steeper is probably not the best vessel, it needs ceramic to boost the temp for longer. On my next session, I will switch over to a ceramic teapot or a gaiwan. 

Aside from that, it’s a Yancha. A comforting tea, but not as interesting as a puerh tea, and brews faster than a rolled oolong. After 9 steeps the pot had a tart cherry aroma and mineral notes. 

All that is just information, because Broken Cup Teahouse had some 90s puerh in the shop that was sold out before I hit the shop. Seems like this vendor is a good one to bookmark, to check out if you are looking for something of a lite snack in terms of tea. 

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