2011 (2010?) Yangpin Hao 'Jing Mai'

Today's tea, the 2011 (2010?) Yangpin Hao Jingmai mountain cake, is another sample from the set of sheng pu'er offered by China Cha Dao with the expressed intent of contrasting plantation "small tree" teas with older arbor "large tree" teas. This is one of the small tree examples, and it is not a tea that the vendor carries. Perhaps this indicates the vendor's opinion of the tea?

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - dry leaf

The leaves, as pictured in the photo above, are of smaller size. This is typical for teas from Jingmai, whose tea trees are of a smaller leaf varietal. One other trait of note is the heavy stripe-rolling treatment given the leaves.

The first infusion has a hard-to-place aroma, and "leafy" seems like a terrible description, but I can think of no better word for the "baseline" smell of raw pu'er leaves when they are very young. It offers a brothy taste, meaty and astringent, with a cooling aftereffect in the mouth. It moves onward to taste more sour, but with a mouthfeel the lasts and extends to the root of the tongue.

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - brew

At times chocolatey and alkaline, and in later infusions becoming thinner in texture and offering mostly bitterness and hay, the tea falls into the "ok" category. It appears to be well processed enough, but of a medium quality material that, although it will likely improve with age, may not become spectacular. If this is the cake I suspect it is, it sells in China for about US$8 per 380g cake, a reasonable price given the quality.

2011 Yangpin Hao Jingmai - brewed leaf