2021 Mattcha blind tasting: Beta

// Published August 27, 2021 by mgualt

Following Matt’s Alpha, we have a significantly younger tea. I had to try this one a few times to get a handle on it, it’s a wild animal of a tea. It appears to be from around 2015 or so, and is quite an extreme tea in several respects.

The dry leaf is pungent and sweet, looks like a boutique gushu production. The wet leaf is smoky and barnyardy, not cigarette smoke or food smoke, but singed tea leaf smoke. There is a decent amount of char, but the material is not damaged. This looks like a rustic production.

The roasty, gamey, umami profile is not entirely foreign, I feel like I have tasted this before but can’t quite place it. For a moment I thought it was rustic zhongcha but this can’t be, this tea is too young.

The empty cup aroma is a woody pungent resin.

Lots of heat coming, blasting I would say. Strong tea. Frisson and strong heat. In all my sessions this was the case.

Somewhat umami and sour, savoury, not explicitly sweet in the taste, although in the mid steeps the aftertaste begins to have a sweet aspect… sweet aftereffect even if the taste is not sweet.

It reminds me a bit of teas I have had from Youle, but on the other hand it also has this burnt hay profile (and certainly enough strength) which I associate with LBZ. On the other hand it isn’t really bitter. Hard to say because this tea is quite unusual. The material is robust, with thick midribs and stems. Definitely not a Dayi or XG tea.

Strong heating and frisson, lots of sweating.

This is a very strong tea in terms of heating and energy. The material looks to be high quality, processed in a somewhat rough way which gives a lot of rustic charm and smoke. There is a nice strong sweet-ish aftertaste even if the tea itself is quite umami and somewhat sour. After having it a few times, it reminds me quite a bit of the 2005 peacock cakes from Dayi, either the Mengsong or the Bulang, not sure which is closer. But this material is much beefier and nicer than those teas, and this tea is nowhere near that age. The rough processing, good material and strong energy make it a pretty attractive choice for long term aging. Thanks again to Matt for another belter of a sheng.

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