Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Anodyne In the Company of Greens

Geraldo has been Filling in the (Green) Spaces (May 28, 2007). I see that we've been drinking a few of the same teas while I also am in the company of China greens and a yellow tea. I tasted a few 2007 harvest sourced via TeaSpring. All but the Meng Ding Huang Ya were new teas to me, so I have no real point of reference for them in seasons past and thus no past notes to jog the memory. My tasting impressions mostly reflect that first time immediate reaction.

Xu Fu Long Ya is also known as Xu Fu Dragon Tooth or Xu Fu Dragon Bud. This spring 2007 green originates from Yi Bin City, Sichuan Province and is a second flush harvest. It has a very fresh sweet spinach-vegetal aroma to the dry leaf that carries over into the cup. It is definitely more vegetal forward than some greens but quite pleasantly so for my own tastes.

E Mei E Rui, also known as Pistil of Mount E Mei or E Rui Zi, comes from E Mei Shan, Sichuan Province and is a spring 2007 tea. The dry leaf has a nutty aroma, and the cup is very fragrant with some sweet floral against the nutty-vegetal.

Yang Yan Gou Qing or Yang Yan Green Hook is another 2007 green from Lin Hai, Zhejiang Province. The leaves are downy little curls. The dry leaf aroma is softer and yet registers higher on the aroma scale than the previous two greens. This tea does not have the forward vegetal notes of the Xu Fu Long Ya and is not as nutty as the E Mei E Rui. Once brewed it is very sweetly fragrant with more floral-nutty notes. It has a more ethereal green taste, but that is not to say the taste and aroma are subdued. It has a delicate nutty/creamy-sweetness against a pleasant light green nip as I made it today. Of the three tasted so far, this might be my favorite. The empty cup really retains the nutty sweetness.

Meng Ding Huang Ya or Mt Meng Yellow Sprout is a yellow tea from the spring 2007 harvest from Meng Ding, Sichuan Province. The dry leaf aroma has that piercing green edge but with some nutty notes. The nutty notes do come into the cup itself. The aroma is full, fragrant, sweet, and surprisingly deep given the piercing green edge of the dry leaf. It combines a richness of flavor (without crossing over to savory or brothy) with that kind of cleansing note I find in some green teas. I quite like that contrast.

I tried a Meng Ding Huang Ya from TeaSpring in 2005 with similar favorable impressions. From old notes: The dry spear-shaped leaf smells very deeply sweet in the bag but with a sharper fresh vegetal note. It’s not what I think of as brothy since it doesn't have the salty-ham rind quality (think of bean and celery soup just staring to simmer). I get a very fresh artichoke-vegetal hit with a deep sweetness that I associate with vegetal-nutty (nutty artichoke/nutty asparagus). There is indeed a brisk edge to the cup that balances out nicely with the other characteristics. The brisk and almost grassy edge (more pronounced with more leaf/longer steep) is going up against that full sweetness. In today’s cup, there is even a hint of floral. But behind that floral note, there is the very rich and nourishing vegetal-nutty characteristic.

But back to the 2007 Meng Ding Huang Ya. That piercing or grassy quality against the richness is very appealing to me. This yellow tea along with the E Mei E Rui green are probably my favorites of the four tasted, although I found something to enjoy in each one.

I had taken a cup out to the screened-in porch. It turned out to be a rather appropriate tea choice as there was a thumb-sized spring green frog sitting on the exterior of the windowsill basking in the green from the nearby ferns. Perhaps he/she was drawn to the water chime fountain just inside the porch, s subtle mix of gurgling water and pinging chime. The frog is very much the color of the infused leaf of some of these teas, and the brisk but pleasant grassy note in the Meng Ding Huang Ya is not unlike the pinging sound from the fountain chime.

It is good to be in the company of greens again. Frog. Ferns. Spring 2007 green teas.

Source for teas: http://www.teaspring.com/


Unknown said...

Dear Anodyne,

I've not tried EMER, and given the sheer volume of green tea about the house, I might not get to it this year. Is it like DT PLC? Of the other three, the MDHY and the YYGQ are both really outstanding, though very different. Thanks, amiga, for you discerning notes. As ever,

All the best,

anodyne said...

Well, the long answer is, perhaps, in a post I made today on TeaSpring's Bi Luo Chun. But the shorter answer would be that, for my tastes, the EMER carries a less aggressive flavor than the DTBLC. The EMER has the nutty, floral, and vegetal, but it doesn't cross over into being quite as substantial or "nourishing" as I think of the DTBLC. This one almost just wants to strike me as "savory," which EMER doesn't. But again, that's just how I personally define them to myself.