A few weeks ago, I was confronted via e-mail with a proposition by David of the now well-known tea blog Half Dipper to participate in a pu-erh blind taste contest sponsered by TEACUPPA tea vendors. Being the tea admirer that I am, I humbly agreed. The samples arrived direct from Frankfurt Germany byway of China. As you can see there are 6 individual samples, where each are assigned a letter; 3 shupu(s) and 3 sheng(s). Luckily, TEACUPPA, the organizer of this global tasting event, (I do mean global as there are 10 others from around the world whom also have been tapped to participate) has included the names of the of each sample:
1. (Cooked) Menghai Tiandiren
2. (Cooked) Organic Luxi 8821
3. (Cooked) China Tea Brand
4. (Uncooked) Jiangcheng Yesheng
5. (Uncooked) China Tea Brand “Big Blue Mark”
6. (Uncooked) Simao Yesheng
My objective is to decide which pu went with which type and give my opinions for each. Of course I had no methodology to this maddens, so I have decided to proceed in alphabetical order. Samples (A) (B) (C) were obviously the 3 shupu(s) and the remaining where the Sheng(s). Below is my accounts of the shupu(s).
Sample (A) Identified as Organic Luxi 8821
Tasting Notes -- There was really nothing out of the ordinary when I first examined this shu. It did not have a pungent dry smell as some younger shu(s), and was quite gray looking IMHO.
Aroma - Dried grass, with a slight woodiness.
Taste - Virtually no layers of complexity. In fact, it was quite light an airy with a woody greeness to it. It's body was flimsy with a shallow aftertaste. Almost like a semi-ripe shu.
Liquor - Golden light maple syrup quality. Very light for shupu in my opinion.
Sample (B) China Tea Brand
This sample looked more like shu than sample A. It's dry leaf smelled faintly of molasses.
Aroma - Its aroma had undertones of dried wood, slight floral cooling notes, and a heavy presence of pecan nuts of which I enjoyed.
Taste - The liquor did have a nice viscosity, and was quite smooth. It had a soft touch of spice, and celery seed, which were wrapped in pecan. Unfortunately, none of these were lingering.
Liquor - The liquor was darker than sample A.
Overall Impression - It was a bit better that sample A, however, I would not waste my time drinking this particular example.
Sample (C) Identified as Menghai Tiandiren
The sample was a bit more dense than the previous 2. It also appeared that it was made of a higher grade mao cha as the leaves were considerably smaller.
Aroma - The aroma was light with fickle hints of melon, wood and currants.
Taste - The taste was somewhat surprising, unfortunately in a bad way. I have tasted MengHai Tiadiren before, however on this particular occasion, it was not the same (assuming it is the MengHai). The first thing I had noticed was this overwhelming sourness which was wrapped in a woody note with nothing more. Simply unpalatable.
Liquor - The liquor was beautifully clear and amber. Unfortunately, this was its high point.
Overall Impression - Just a huge disappointment. IMHO, age will not better this example.
I am just glad that the shupu samples were free. I really didn't care for any of them. However, If I had to choose one, it would be sample (B). It was more consistent with the other shupu(s) of my liking and did have its moments.
They gave no indication as to when the results will be posted. However, as soon as I am aware, I will post them. Wish me luck!
To Be Continued ...........