2010 Essence of Tea Manmai
Summer departs us and autumn arrives. Suddenly the leaves have that slight edge of comforting decay. While the days are still rather warm, the evenings are delightfully cool, sunlight takes on a certain warm glow, and the jet stream shifts, pushing a complex array of high clouds over us for weeks on end. Time to put on some Brian Eno and drink pu’er.
My memory of the Essence of Tea Bangwai already fading (was it that forgettable, or was the dose of 2008 Xiaguan Golden 8100 I had mid-week so incredibly overbearing as to push all other tea memories temporarily to the fray?), I continue on with the current round (no. 5) of the Official TeaChat TeaTasting Initiative (OTTI). I am afraid to say that the memory of the Essence of Tea Manmai may be even more fleeting than the last. This was an excruciatingly light tea.
Of all aspects of this tea, the most stunning was the initial wet-leaf aroma. Goodness. A rich, intoxicating push of licorice root and star anise, following by a bundle of tropical fruit: persimmion, jack-fruit, rambutan, and banana. Absolutely illustrious. A lot of aroma came out of a small amount of dark, large, well-dressed leaves that were dark and had an excellent sheen.
Hot steeps and long ones produced surprisingly light tea. I kept my chubby yixing only partially filled in an attempt to concentrate the flavors, but for the first few steeps of treating this tea like other young sheng pu’er, I felt as though I could taste the minerals of the water and the clay more than anything from the tea. An ephemeral and ethereal gauze of apricot, straw, and honeydew made brief appearances. Otherwise, the water extracted light green bitterness, a not so subtle reminder that pu’er, in its early days, is really a form of green tea. Maybe I should have treated this sample as such.
The Half-Dipper – 2010 Essence of Tea “Manmai / Bada”
The Sip Tip – Essence of Tea 2010 Manmai
MattCha – 2010 Essence of Tea Man Mai