2005 Yichanghao "Zhengpin"
My erstwhile chum, Yichanghao. Yet perhaps not entirely erst, for you keep on delivering solid, reliable treats at a very decent price.Ladies and mentlegen, I give you the 2005 Zhengpin
The dry, dusty, shoelace looking leaves of mainly brown were placed in the warmed teapot and rinsed. The first infusion yields a rich creamy sweet start carrying a malted creamy finish. In the taste under the creaminess is a layer of sour wood and even cooling eucalyptus finish in the mouth.
The aftertaste is woodsy and fairly dense with a touch of sweetness. The mouthfeel is quite satisfying with the mouth and tongue tingling just slightly from having the mouth's saliva retreat into the throat.
As shown above, the leaves are fragmented and dark - although certainly less fragmented than in the lesser recipes. I am surprised by a distinct lack of aroma in the dry leaves.
This character, oddly enough, continues in the cup. It cannot be said to have a significant density of flavour, and yet it does have a big, fat body and a dominant presence in the mouth. It is a fascinating thing: light in character (being mainly pinewood), and yet thick, sweet, and satisfying.
This sample was generously provided by Daniel, of The Chinese Teashop of Vancouver. In months past, I mentioned that I had queued up a half-dozen samples or so, only to find that the postage was a huge amount; this has since been remedied, and the store looks entirely appealing in its range and pricing (certainly on the Western scale).
This cake currently sells for an entirely reasonable $45. There isn't a huge amount that one can find of any quality from 2005 for less than that price, and this does a very good job of keeping my attention throughout the session.
Caveat emptor: I am a confessed Yichanghao fanboy. If you like their products to a lesser degree, then temper my enthusiasm at the appropriate heat.
Reviewed by Hobbes (The Half-Dipper)
08 June, 2011