2001 Yiwu One Leaf
Thank you very much to Johan for this sample of the second batch (400g) of the 2001 Yiwu Zhengshan, a special production of the Menghai Tea Factory commissioned by Ye Binghuai. I wish I had two pieces, so let me photograph the front and the back:
This has seen natural Taiwan storage, aggressive but very clean indeed. No geosmin, no funk, the wet leaf smells initially of dark fruit componte, jam, very slight smoke. Very nice deep slightly sweet aroma, and very clean.
- Right off the bat, it is remarkably thick, one of the thickest teas I’ve had in terms of viscosity and texture. Very mild taste (blank) and a white tea aspect. Very thick, reminds me a lot of the Chenyuan Hao Dashucha 2003, although the CYH has a much stronger white tea aspect. Gentle sweetness.
- Super thick and viscous. Clear orange liquor. Opening throat, controlled breaths. Very slight rose incense. No YQH style minty aroma, very nice kind of storage. Cleaner than YQH in that sense, mushroom broth.
- Briny oiliness starts to show now, with ultra mushroom broth mouth-smacking thickness.
- Superthick herbal soup. Heating begins. Subtle taste. Warming the face and stomach.
- Thick, slight juiciness, not much juiciness, not much flavour besides the slight herbalness, could really believe this is a herbal tea with some white tea. But very warming now. Clean. Excellent purity and energy.
- Continued heating. Super thick. Some woodiness. Some storage coming in now. Mushroom. Melty, neck relaxation. Very pleasant. Subtle taste. Late aftertaste has a bit of milk aftertaste, slightly off taste.
- Long steep is deep red with the yellow-green ring appearance. Oily, very slightly perfumed. Banana. Bittersweet. Silky herbal mushroom broth.
This tea is quite remarkable in its mushroomy thickness, I mean mushroom soup, not fungus or geosmin. It reminds me a great deal of the Zhencang Chawang by YQH, but without the characteristic mintiness of Yang’s storage. I also don’t remember the ZCCW being quite this thick. Also on long steeps this Yiwu one leaf is darker than that tea. It also reminds me a lot of the 2003 Chenyuan Hao Dashucha, which has a stronger white tea aspect. The material is quite nice, a lot of unbroken, tightly twisted leaves with a rough texture, almost toad skin but not quite, and the stems are medium but not very thick. There is very little, almost no bitterness and very smooth tannins, and very little acidity. The taste is very subtle, so someone expecting a mouthwatering full taste would be disappointed. But the thickness and voluptuousness of the experience is remarkable and it doesn’t veer too much into white tea territory. The energy is medium strong, very nice heating and relaxing. I enjoyed this immensely as a whole experience, I don’t think any aspect really dominated, except perhaps the thickness. Since this tea doesn’t have much bitterness, astringency, or indeed flavour, one might worry about its future. Perhaps it will just get thicker and darker — maybe that’s OK. Also, one wonders if it might be Autumn material, it kind of strikes me that way, in a good way.