Today was a good thrift store day, best I have had in quite a while! Got myself a vintage 1950s era Jingdezhen porcelain cup that I swear is eggshell thin and has one of the most unusual takes on rice patterning I have seen. Alongside that I found a set (I say set, they came from different places and slightly different times) of Japanese Imari Arita sauce dishes from the 1860s-1920s, they are pretty beat up, but wow are they something else. On top of that I also found a classic lidded Korean Celadon cup, usually these come with little strainers, but I wouldn't use it so I was not sad it was missing. My teaware hoard grows, and my antique and vintage teaware game steps up! It is my main goal now, I have several really good sources for new and modern pieces, but the thrift store and mislabeled ebay auctions are the way to go for antiques...in fact I have a mislabeled ebay item on the way that should be here tomorrow!
For today's tea rambling I am looking at Teanami's Palace Mo Hei (Ripe 2007) a Gong Ting Shou and is from the Yang Li Kun tea factory. This tea, unlike the other shou I looked at from Teanami, has been pressed into a cake and my sample tin was full of chunks, meaning no need for me to break out the puerh knife. The aroma of the broken cake bits is lightly sweet, with notes of cocoa and molasses and very strong notes of leather, wet wood, dry wood, and pine sap. It is a very leathery smelling shou, specifically well worn wet leather. This shou is more rich than sweet, but there are underlying notes of sweetness that mellow it out just a bit.
I decided to use my neglected Shou pot again, poor thing needed more love. The aroma of wet leaves after their first steep and rinse is very sweet! I am getting a distinct custard and caramel note that really reminds me a lot of flan, and I have no complaints. There are also notes of wet leather and molasses with a touch of earthiness at the finish. The liquid is very sweet, burnt sugar and custard with wet leather and pine sap notes.
The beginning of this tea session started out fairly malty, not a note I often associate with shou...but then again neither is custard, but that has changed recently. The malty notes wander lazily (it is shou, shou is always lazy to me) to notes of cocoa and wet wood with underlying sweet burnt sugar. The finish for the first couple steeps is light, with a gentle lingering sweetness. Of course that all starts to change with a real increase in richness around steep three, where the sweetness becomes custard and lingers well after my cup was empty.
The middle steeps of this tea were pretty intense, thick in taste and texture, notes of wet leather and caramel custard dance with wet wood and loam, with sweet thick molasses that lingers forever. These middle steeps are dense, I felt as though I was sinking while drinking them, a mark of a good shou in my book. Towards the end of the middle (and odd statement at that) it picks up a middle note of cocoa that is faint but adds a level of richness to an already fairly rich tea.
Tao, my very fat sweet cat decided that lying on my mouse was the best way to help me blog, thank you Tao. Now that she has left I can tell you all about the finishing steeps, which finish with sweetness and a surprising touch of cedar. I loved the cedar at the finish, I was finding myself becoming quite warm and it added a bit of a cooling effect, combine that with the cocoa and custard sweetness and mellow leather and wood, and this tea finished quite well. It was around steep nine that the taste became too diminished for my liking, I am enough of a barbarian to say I like my shous strong, and I could probably stretch it more but preferred not to. Of course now I need to say if I liked this one or the 2005 Palace more, and honestly I am not sure I can, they were obviously very similar, but the points at which they differ made them both very enjoyable. I think if I had to recommend one over the other it would be the 2005 Palace since it is a touch sweeter.
This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.