Changtai Tea FactoryEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
“Trip to Changtai, vol. 6”
Taking trip another way, I just faceplanted into a puddle of pond-stewed decayed wood and leaves. I swallowed a few mouthfuls and picked up camphor. The camphor alone kept me going for a few more steeps. I just couldn’t let myself lie in that puddle, so I did what you do when you think somebody nearby has glanced your folly. Get up, nonchalantly look around and brush yourself off. And dump the leaves in the compost.
It oversteeps really well, though, and pours very dark and a bit murky.
Looks like it’s Jinggu material. Now I have one point of reference for how Jinggu teas age. Don’t much care for Jinggu to begin with.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Pepper, Camphor, Decayed Wood, Forest Floor, Nuts, Peas, Smoke, Spicy, Tangy, Vegetal, Yeast
“Trip to Changtai, vol. 4”
Dry leaf smelled like gently smoked leather, leaf litter, plum undertone. Humid storage notes such as baked bread, nutritional yeast and damp concrete came out when the leaf was warmed and more of those humid notes presented in the rinsed leaf — beets and carrots pulled right from the soil. I also smelled tangy currant and barbecued meat.
The taste and body were mild, underwhelming. I couldn’t come up with anything besides a citrus tone, light, baked plum sweetness, wood, fast-moving bitterness and some tingly tannins. It tasted kind of shou-y. Very mild aftertaste, no returning sweetness. Plenty of that chesty, heart-bumping energy. The prankster in me came out to play.
This is like a much-needed rest day on a journey, a time to process your recent experiences, but your goofy traveling partner is constantly urging you to just “go for a walk around the block…”
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Bitter, Black Currant, Carrot, Citrus, Leather, Meat, Plums, Smoked, Tannin, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wood, Yeast
“Trip to Changtai, vol. 1”
I asked the mechanic friend to pick a card, any card. He drew the youngest Changtai tea in my stash.
Dry leaf has lots of bitter woodsmoke overlaying sour plum and smoked flowers with a slight custard undertone. Warm leaf: woodsmoke, vegetal-buttery-caramel, sour plum. Rinsed leaf: smokey-sour, aged wood, floral and pungent
First steep starts off interesting with a very fluffy, rich, sticky sweetness (caramel-honey-overripe melon-marshmallow) that clings to every crevice in my mouth. Then whoosh, second steep brings massive greenwoody body. Green bitterness comes out as I swallow and it lingers. The sweetness is like sticky spiderwebs. The liquor is slightly coating and moderately drying. Smokeysweet aroma. Floral, light caramel, hint of blueberry perfume in mouth exhales through nose. Somewhat metallic in the aftertaste.
Third steep, mechanic friend says “witch hazel.” Fourth, the wet leaf smells very pungent and fruity. The bitterness dies down a bit. Fifth, sweetness is only available on the sip and somewhat in the retronasal aftertaste. Taste is general green astringency and bitterness. Some slight mouth cooling but overall body warming. Returning sweetness finally makes a meek presence. Sixth becomes very metallic in character. My gut’s a’gurgling so I’ll call it quits.
For a wild tea, this tastes very different from the others I’ve tried and I wonder if it’s due to processing methods. The sweetness gives me an Yiwu vibe, not Menghai, though a walnut-sour plum impression does draw me back toward Menghai. I’m only postulating since I don’t have a ton of experience but this seems like the kind of young sheng that would benefit from aggressive, humid storage. It is one of the greenest sheng I’ve ever had.
Addendum: I think the sweetness might actually be embodied as jujube but I haven’t eaten them enough to be sure.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Bitter Melon, Blueberry, Butter, Caramel, Custard, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Green, Green Wood, Herbs, Honey, Marshmallow, Melon, Metallic, Plums, Smoke, Sour, Sweet, Tannin, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood