Thursday, May 15, 2008

2003 KunMing Tai Lian Tea Factory Wild Arbor Sheng

Jing Mai Landscape

JingMai Mountain is located north of the main town Jinghong in Xishuangbanna. The mountain sits approximately 5000 feet above see level and covers over 11,000 acres of ancient tea tree plantations in Yunnan. Earliest records concerning the cultivation of these ancient tea trees extends back to approximately 696 AD. Today this ancient tea tree variety continues to be harvested in the same manner as it was more than 1000 years ago; free of the use of pesticides or fertilizers. As a result, teas from JingMai are certified organic under both United States NOP and European 2092/91 organic standards. The forest of JingMai are considered a living eco-museum by Yunnan making this mountain a true national treasure.

This beeng is currently an offering at Yunnan Sourcing LLC. Unfortunately, I don't have much information about this particular factory other than it has recently changed its name to the ChaMaSi Factory. The beeng is made of Spring material which appears to be stone mold pressed.

The dry leaves did not omit much of a scent other than the ever-so-slightest quintessential shengpu note. The beeng is a mosaic of choice, shinny, greenish-dark and brown leaves with an indication of slight age.

Brewing Parameters

Vendor - Yunnan Sourcing Ebay Vendor

Water-Bottle spring water, generic brand. Source of water Lafayette Springs, WS

Amount – 5.3g

Water Temp - Boil then cooled for 2 breaths

Brewing Vessel - Yixing Teapot 140ml

Method – Gongfu

Infusion times



Initially, the nose was quite metallic, brassy with a muted honey and a floral accent. However, after the 4th infusion, the notes had transformed more into hay with a subdued tobacco background. Very fresh and soothing.


What was most noticeable in the first infusions was this unexpected fruitiness. The liquor was quite tangy and fresh coupled with a nice huigan and acidity. The liquor contained a a nice viscosity which coated my tongue effectively. In subsequent infusions, the notes subtly transformed into leather, rubber and toasted rice - almost savory. The chayun was keeping things active where I felt most of the sensations at the top of my mouth followed by a nice massage feeling of my throat. The cha qi left me soothed and comforted.

Spent Leaves

The leaves appear to be very healthy with a nice mixture of buds.

Final Impressions

The tea was a nice suprise. I have tried JingMai before, but never one with a fruity background. Although the beeng had been stored in KunMing 5 years, the liquor did not appear to have an aged ting to it which means that perhaps it has been too dry of a storage.

Although its age did not come through in the color profile, its flavor did indicate that it was not 'new born'. All in all, I really did like this one. I believe that this pu-erh has a little something for everyone.


Hobbes said...

I always love the fact-packed Billposts, love 'em.

I didn't know that this was the old name for Yibang Chamasi - they make the lovely Gedebaohao that I occasionally bore people with. :)

Was the tea fruity in the oxidised sense? It looks nice and yellow.

Thanks again, and toodlepip,


Bill said...

Greetings Hobbes,

Yibang! Well that answers a lot of questions for me.

As for the fruitiness, I think it maybe due to the oxidization of the leaves. I really am not sure. It was a pleasant touch which I genuinly enjoyed.


Anonymous said...

As always, great review. You made an interesting comment about the subsequent infusions had a leather and rubber taste that was savory. I am trying to imagine how leather and rubber are savory. Care to elaborate?

Bill said...

Hey Tea Escape,

Thanks for the kind comment.

Well, whe savory description was not directed to the leather and rubber itself. What I mean is that the liqour almost had an herbal, pungency to it.


Life.learning.sherab said...

Hey Bill, So glad to read your new review on this JingMai beeng. As you probably could understand, the recent horrifying earthquake(s) happening in China prevents me from tea enjoyment, even though I just receieved some great (and expensive!) Taiwanese Oolongs including Da-yu-ling and Li-shan! Worse I think is for my tea friends in China for you can see a greatly reduced volume of post about tea tasting these days since it happened.... However, I'm here want to get back to you for the response to your last Douji tea reviewing post which I translated and posted on two Sina blogsites! --

Chinese readers there were all very impressed and praised your tea review, and the words being used is "being an expert and professional!" My friend who in turn sent us this Douji said that she was very surprised to see you had such a clear understanding on the Douji business even to its internal administration. And she was also "surprised" [an expression of being pleased in Chinese] for your high evaluation on this Douji tea.

A friend Lao Gu asked 2 specific questions as follows.

Lao Gu's comment:
呵呵,很好的学习交流机会.如果有可能,山人兄帮我问问,[1] Bill所说的那种酸是一种什么样的味道,或者类似什么样的味道,以他的经验推测会是何原因产生的? [2]对与茶韵以及喉韵,呵呵,西方的茶友是如何体会的?先多谢啦.

[The first question is referring to your words "nice acidity with hints of dry grass with a very delicate flutter of rubber"--]

My translation:

#1 [This is] a good opportunity to learn and exchange. If possible, can you help me to ask Bill about his "acidity" -- what kind of taste (or smell?) is that, or what similiar taste it is? According to his experience, how this comes to be?

[The 2nd question is a general one]

#2 How western tea friends experience (or, understand) cha yun (tea rhyme) and hou yun (rhyme of throat)?

I was also about to ask you to elaborate on your analogy of "rubber." This time you used "leathery" on you current review. Then I saw Tea Escapade had posted the same question -- haha, sounds like this is your unique terminology -- can you please say something more about it? Because I had a special difficulty in translating the term "a flutter of rubber," for in Chinese "rubber" would definitely NOT be a possitive way to describe tea taste! As well as "leathery" -- So, give me some options!

Bill said...

Greetings Sherab,

You and your fellow countrymen are too kind! I have never considered myself and ‘expert’ or professional! I read and learn from everyone else and hope to devour and tea knowledge that I come across. As you can assume, being a westerner where many do not even drink hot tea much less pu-erh, I am certainly at a learning disadvantage. Nonetheless, I trust my abilities to learn and I am patient when it comes to obtaining knowledge and truth.

No words can describe my sentiments towards the Chinese people and those in Myanmar. It is certainly a tragedy of biblical proportions. I pray that the creator will ease the suffering of the bereaved and help those that managed to stay alive.

Now, for the questions – As you can see, the west certainly lacks a tea vocabulary. I compare this phenomenon to the Inuit tribes in Alaska who have more than one word describe snow. Unfortunately, for most Westerners, snow is snow and tea taste like well tea. As a consequence of never have been exposed to the lexicon of tea lingo, I have devised words which in my humble opinion try to describe what I am experiencing and moreover tasting. Rubber as I use it is the taste of ‘natural rubber’ such as the scent you would find in rubber gloves. That said, let me be unambiguously clear, I use this term as well as others loosely. Leather will refer to the order that aged tanned leathers omit at times. I find this scent very warming and masculine. It is the smell you will find when you sniff an old briefcase or old leather jacket.

Now for my interpretation of huigan - When I refer to huigan, it refers to my ability to taste the liquor and flavors well after I swallow. It is a penetrating profile that generates saliva and keeps my tongue from becoming dry. Or, it can be slight flavor that has the same effect but will last not as long. When I experience huigan, it is generally on the sides of my tongue. If I had to give it a flavor profile, it would be sweet.

Chayun, well this is my interpretation and I am sure that most tea masters have their own. However, my reference to Chuyan is the ability of they tea to give my mouth and throat a nice sensations. Sometimes it is a tingling, perhaps a massaging feeling at the top or bottom of the mouth, back of the throat and even the gumline. It can even be a cooling sensation which I generally can feel in ancient arbor teas.

I hope this helps Chinese readers better understand what I mean :D


MarshalN said...

Tailian made some nice teas. I think I had a few in China -- they were not bad.

Yibang Chamasi's offerings are more of a mixed bag, but I think that's a common story for all factories post 05/06

Bill said...

Marshaln, do you happen to know why Tai Lian changed their name? As for 05' and 06' I agree. I can't say that '07 was much better. I was especially dissappointed at the Xi-Zhi Hao teas.

Life.learning.sherab said...

Thanks, Bill, for your consolable words on the natural disasters in China and Burma.

Your answere and explanation are helpful for me to understand what you meant by "rubber" and "leather" in sheng puerh taste! You mentioned "the natural rubber" -- which I did try to go that direction in my translation (even though I didn't do it -- I used the Chinese equivalent for "gum" in stead!).

It's very interesting to see your comparison of sheng puerh's warmness and masculine to that of the smell of a fresh rubber or leather product! I guess, the sense of smell is very much related to one's memories and experiences -- as probably Chinese smells less rubber or leather products, so there is no such a comparison! Or, maybe, you had a "previous life" on the Ancient Tea Horse Road?! :)

I learned a lot from your elaboration on huigan and chayun -- Learning is always two ways -- I'm collecting your tea lingo so that I can be better in talking about tea in English!

MarshalN said...

Why they changed their name? Anybody's guess, really, but if you want to be a seller of tea in China, naming yourself the same as a Taiwanese political party is really not the way to go.

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