Pat and I have made it to Taiwan alive and in one Piece!
In our first couple of days here, we have gotten my motorcycle, visited 4 tea houses, pumped out a demanding 26 reviews each, translated 3 pages of super poetic literary Chinese in traditional characters (what do you know about Tang Dynasty tea?), made ChaXi on a mountain with Stephane, and have drank tea from the early 1950’s.
That Pu’er was given to us by the great and generous owner of Wisteria Tea House, Chow Yu. It was a Antique era Pu’er brewed in a Santao tea pot (I believe it to be the type of clay used for chaozhou GFC, but this is the first time I have knowingly come across that name).
Yet all of that pales in comparison to the Spring 2012 GuShu (over 700 years old) Single Tree (!) Lao Ban Zhang (he oversaw the picking…).
Seriously, look at this face:
That comes closer than words ever will to describing it.
It was punishingly young and potent, but no astringency, very active mouth feel including the tell-tail LengXiang effervescence of GuShu, a Immediate and lasting Huigan with a floral sweetness. An amazing young Sheng.
It is only recently, after ~5 years of study (since 2007) and 2 years of research with the Institute, that I have really begun to understand the psychophysics of the sought after teas; aged tea, GuShu, high mountain, yancha, all versus faked or flavored tea, etc. Somewhere along the way it clicked. Obviously I still make mistakes; I mistook a High Mountain Summer tea for a lowland spring tea recently, and it is easy to be guessing on nuanced terroir in Taiwan and much of Yunnan; but when it comes to the major “expense points” I can, for the most part, trust my taste-buds.
I have all of those who have provided samples and guidance to thank for this, and particularly, the role of the Institute in collecting and preserving so many of these tea samples, and making them available for my research. It is amazing to see my vision come alive, see how it has helped me, and know that it is helping others the same way.
Now on too victory and glory in Taiwan.