Friday, December 21, 2012

Comparing Yunnan Dian Hungs

Today, Neil, a visiting tea friend brought his favorite red tea, a Yunnan golden tip Dian Hung (left on both pictures). This gave us the idea to compare it side by side with the wild Dian Hung from my selection.

Visually, these 2 teas look quite different already. Neil's is much more golden and appears more tippy. However, a closer examination shows that my buds (right) are thinner, smaller and more concentrated. Also, my Dian Hung is full of 'hao', tea hair. Like for a Bi Luo Chun, this hair, fur is a sign that the tea was picked young. The difference in appearance makes it obvious that these 2 teas are not from the same tea tree (cultivar). In fact, my Dian Hung uses wild, old, high mountain puerh tree material.
We brewed both teas with 2 white porcelain competition sets for 6 minutes approximately. Neil's Dian Hung (left) had a slightly less clear, less bright tea brew. The leaves turned greenish. This was reflected in the scent of this tea. It still had a 'greenish' smell that shouldn't be there in a red tea. My wild Dian Hung (right) had a nice shine and the wet leaves were still red. The flavors of my Dian Hung were very clean and bright.

The taste difference was even more obvious. Neil's Dian Hung tasted sweet (good!), but flat. Nothing much else was happening in the mouth in terms of aftertaste. For my wild Dian Hung, Neil found it had a touch of astringency, but not a bad one, he added. But what it had was energy, power, life, you name it! It's a tea that continues to create many strong feelings in the mouth, after it's swallowed.

Neil asked me about what vocabulary to use to describe a good tea experience (when you are with tea friends). It's can be quite difficult to find the right words. Too detailed, they can sound like a medical exam (salivation glands are activated, blood rush to the heart...) and too poetic they will border the mystical and weird (the harmonious energies of nature transport me into another state of mind...) What I recommend is to let other drinkers talk first and try not to influence them with your own take. And be honest. 

Neil and I had tasted my wild Dian Hung last year. It's from spring 2011, but I find that the aromas are more concentrated and finer now. And with the quality of its material, it's a tea that will continue to evolve well (if properly stored). With winter starting today, this is a tea I will often brew in the coming cold months...

No comments:

Post a Comment