Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Compressed Dianhong" from Yunnan Sourcing LLC

The fellow tea drinker who shared a sample referred to this as a "compressed dianhong," and it is also from Yunnan Sourcing LLC. It is worlds apart from the other golden Yunnan I sampled from this source. The other Yunnan I am referring to was the newer lot that had the maple sap note in aroma and a lighter floral-honeyed character in the cup. This compressed Yunnan may be the tea Geraldo was asking if I'd tried?

This compressed Yunnan moves in the opposite direction from the other Yunnan Sourcing LLC Yunnan that I sampled. This tea is distinctly sweet in aroma but in a savory-smoky way. It drinks with a very nice clarity though, which surprised me given the more rustic aroma. Quite mellow actually (if you don't overdo leaf amount I was warned). There is something in the taste of this tea that I mentally 'know' but can't put my finger on immediately. Perhaps it's an earthy bean sprout-y or bamboo-like taste? Because yes, there's an earthy/ashy note to the tea but very clean somehow. Bean sprouts? what is it? maybe it is ash. Of all the Yunnan teas I've sampled that have the smoky-savory thing going on, this has to be one of my favorites. That smoky-savory aftertaste really does linger as does that 'other' flavor note. I always hesitate to use meat references about teas as they must sound unpalatable to vegetarians or to those with religious scruples in this regard. But the sweet-savory-smoky note of this tea does, I confess, remind me just a tad of a hickory smoked bacon. If you are vegetarian or etc., please pretend I did not say that!

Have others tried this one? What is that other flavor note I am trying to pinpoint? ash? beansprouts? bamboo? none of the above?


Geraldo said...

Anodyne--You write really well. Yes, it was I who asked if you tried the compressed Dian Hong. I don't get bamboo, bean sprouts, or bacon. I do get molases, honey, and maple. So I'm in the same breakfast realm at least. I don't think anybody can write about red tea like you write about red tea. Have you been to http://teemann.blogspot.com/ ? I have an essay on pu'er there. Danny is writing well. It's a cool blog. All the best ~geraldo

anodyne said...

Thanks, geraldo, for the pointer to the blog. There is indeed some excellent writing going on there, yours included. I had not thought of pu'er as yet another way of experiencing "time's winged chariot hurry near," but certainly I could see it as another bitter-sweet way of marking the passage of time. It reminds me of the feeling contained in "Birthday" by Billy Collins:

"Before it was over
I took out a pencil and a notepad
and figured out roughly what was left--
a small box of Octobers, a handful of Aprils..."

...and the poet goes on to muse whether one should should be using this precious time "reading a large novel" while parked on the couch "every evening."

I have a feeling that your own measuring of time via aged pu'er is no less pleasing than the poet's reaction:

"yet I cannot come up with anything
better than to strike a match,
settle in under a light blanket,
and open to the first sentence of Clarissa."

Seems to me your pu'er quest is time well spent for the amount of pleasure it gives. Anything we do that helps us hold on to the "visionary gleam" seems time well spent, if you ask me. Very much enjoyed the essay and Danny's, too.

Anonymous said...

Anodyne, your thoughts, as ever, are wonderful. Billy Collins has a great approach, except for his choice of Clarissa. I have a large readable draft of tea matters, tea travels, tea discoveries. Maybe you would like it, and I would value your comments. I'll e-mail the piece to you if you send your e-mail address to me via corax. I hope all is well and bright in your life. ~geraldo

anodyne said...

Will do, geraldo, thanks...I'd very much enjoy reading this. So I can safely live and die without reading Clarissa? Good...that's one book off my list anyway. :-)