2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan (Spirit of Yiwu)

2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - sample This Yiwu cake was one of four members of "The Spirit of Yiwu" tasting set. I visited their distributor in Kunming and tried a two of their cakes, and remember at the time thinking they were passable, not exceptional.

The leaves of this cake are of medium size. The sample I received was all one layer--the face of the cake--so I can't say too much about the leaf.

This "Yiwu Zhengshan" bing fits in with my opinion of their cakes from before. Thin, bland, but with decent energy/caffeine, it tastes more like good green tea than sheng pu'er, even though it shares sheng pu'er's fertile, nearly floral scent. When I encounter bland young sheng it rouses my curiosity, usually resulting in a test overbrewing. Overbrewed, the tea is floral, biscuity, smokey, and otherwise flat.

The flavor sticks to the sides of the tongue, but doesn't extend past the back of the tongue. It becomes bitter around the 6th infusion, an unpleasant full tongue bitterness like long jing brewed too hot. It does, however, get a bit lemony and sour. It doesn't cause salivation; instead, it dries the mouth. It does, though, have a heady qi that's obvious from the second infusion onward.

In later infusions, it gets a little meatier, as though what good maocha used in this cake has surpassed the weakened flavors of the lesser maocha. However, the dry mouth remains, sour remains in the initial taste, and, perhaps left over in the mouth from previous infusions, the unpleasant bitterness haunts the tongue after each swallow. 2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - brew

While it seems I'm being harsh with this tea, I have had worse. In the spectrum of pu'er, this is not that bad. Still, taking it for what it is, removing it from the context of other pu'ers I've had, I can't drink it with pleasure now, nor with fond thoughts of its future. But, not having aged my own stash for more than 4 years, I can't really say, nor can most anyone else.

The leaves appear blended, a mix of bigger, mostly whole hand-picked leaves with machine-harvested smaller leaves and bits. The bigger leaves show signs of oolong oxidation, with many reddened leaf borders and reddened central veins. It was odd to me that this tea's leaves displayed more oolong traits but tasted green, while the leaves of the Tongxing Yiwu from yesterday showed almost no oxidation but tasted sweeter. Looks are deceiving.

2007 Guanzizai Yiwu Zhengshan - spent leaf