Please click the link below to see our album of this visit. Hope you enjoy!
We are going to offer three of our selected (from around 12 samples!) 2010 Xi-Zhi Hao cakes:
2010 Spring “Lao Wu Shan Gu Cha” 400g. Lao Wu Shan is in very remote area of “Xiao Jin Gu” of Si Mao region, old plantation of tea trees from 200 to 600 years. I chose this tea not only I like how it performed/tasted, but also it was distinct enough from the Man Ning cake – this one, I would character it as a more feminine, refined and more balanced one. Organic matter, floral and fruity, long and lingering after-taste (hui gan).
2010 Spring “Man Ning Gu Cha” 400g. This is, contrasting to Lao Wu Shan cake, a heavy, punching, and masculine one. I could imagine if not brewed properly, it could overwhelm your palate. Very interersting young pu-erh, wild, energetic, abundant mineral, thick and juicy.
2010 Spring “Risk one’s Life to Pursue” – an extremely rare XZH cakes, we were able to only acquire 5 pieces. The wrapper was screen-printed on unique handmade paper in Taiwan. Only available (but sold out) in Taiwan.
We are offering again a limited special for two samples of 2010 Xi-Zhi Hao - for only $9.5, you get to try the Lao Wu Shan and Man Ning.
A news came in from Taiwan. Burglars broke in the store of Xi-Zhi Hao in Tainan by bursting a hole on the wall. They stole couple antique/old pu-erhs and yixings
You can see Mr. Chen and some of the 2011 cakes in the video.
Just talked with Mr. Chen of Xi-Zhi Hao over the phone. There has been too many rains in Yunnan, that the quality of “Gu Hwa” – autumn mao cha – is aversely effected. XZH has decided not to produce autumn cakes this year. That can only mean scarcity of its 2011 spring cakes.
On the other hand, Taiwan has been in a near drought situation. The prospect of Winter-harvested oolongs is not good.
Bad weather … bad weather… Somehow I feel a bad, strange weather has become the “norm” in recent years.
: This is the only 2005-vintage pu-erh released by CGHT in 2010. Made of equal percentage blend of spring-harvested mao cha from Lao Ba Zhan and Lao Men Er.
- Tasting Notes: Although of the same vintage as the 2005 Meng Hai Yi Wu Yieh Sheng, this Ban Zhan cake does taste like 1 year younger, but with a cleaner and more floral aroma profile. I assume the difference is mostly caused by the storage conditons. Bright amber-colored liquor with nice clarity. Initial nose is mature fruitiness, with an intersting sense of “chillness” from the camphor-like fresh woody sensation. Taste is – wooow, a quite thick, “jelly” coating on the tongue. The punch is there, like you would expect from a good Ban Zhan cake. While I am making the second steeping- and I have in mind I want to shorten the steeping time slightly to tone down the “punch” feeling of 1st cup – the aftertaste keeps expand and penetrate, good. The more refined 2nd cup definitely allows me to feel more layers from this tea. Fresh chilled woodiness, fruit of apricot, apple, berry-like acidity, still “jelly” and with good dynamic after-taste. Clean, no smokiness or any “wet” feeling. Tea leaves – and it is probably my only complain – appear more crumbly than I like. I even detect an “oak” woody fragrance from the empty cup.
: According to Mr. Chen (of CGHT) recent research, “Tong Ching He” was one of the earliest established tea plantations in Ming dynasty (1368~1644), or even earlier. After hundred years cultivating, being abandoned, reinvigorating, etc., the area is now mingled with very old growth cultivated ta treas to naturally grown trees of all kinds.
- Tasting Notes: Nice, healthy-looking cake. Initial nose is floral, decorated with delightful fruitiness, mineral, “organic” matter like mushroom. Impressively mature for its vintage. Even though less punchy than the 2005 Ban Zhan, it appears quite balanced and refined, again, for this young vintage. Very clean, both in its aroma and liquor. I increase the steeping time for the 2nd steeping, to test how harsh/bitter it can get. And while the taste surely gets stronger and heavier, beyond the range that I would say comfortable, the harshness is still in well controlled. Very robust and dynamic aftertaste. More fruitiness in the 2nd cup. Interesting layers with hearty fruity acidity.
I like CGHT for its offering of more approachable prices on great-quality pu-erhs, albeit usually with less sophisticated packaging and 357g weight – feels less substantial. But the CGHT offerings we’ve kept in Houston all show nice progress in ageing. The 2005 Ban Zhan cake is a strong, punchy, mature cake with jelly-like consistency. The 2009 YiWu is well balanced and refined, nicely developed for its vintage.
Denver -> Colorado Springs -> Breckenridge -> Boulder -> Estes Park/Rocky Mtn National Park -> Denver
It was simply too much to see, to do and to enjoy there! When we about to leave Estest Park and head back to Denver International Airport, Yuan had tears in her eyes, “I don’t want to leave Colorado.” Asking her which one is her favorite, Disneyland or Colorado? “Colorado is much better”, she replied!
We had received several oolongs before we left for summer vacation. We wait until after we are back to Houston to post them:
2011 Spring Oolong of Li Shan, Fu Shou Shan Farm
2011 Spring Li-Shan “Da Yu Ling” Oolong
2011 Spring MuZha Black Tea from Tie Guan Yin Cultivar
Hope you also have a great summer time!
Guang : )
David posted an interesting review of the Vacuum-dried Green Tea Powder (2011 Spring)
Since it was introduced last year, its sale on Hou De has been just ok – and not a surprise at all. People come to Hou De to find connoisseur-oriented and rare teas. Green Tea Powder? Not unless it is from Japan and costs $$$.
This Green Tea Powder has quickly become my go-anywhere partner: out-of-state travel, I would bring enough sachets; if just go ourdor like fishing, tennis or whole-family day trip, we would bring a well-shaked icy bottle of it, and it takes only 30 seconds to prepare!
Why not give it a try?
It’s was like the continually weakening US dollar and the “recovery … What recovery?” economy haven’t loaded enough challenges, the shipping cost of small-quantity teas from China kept escalating faster than the speed of squirrels running away from my dogs’ chase.
Those Wuyi yen cha which we tried, loved and acquired last year could not find a reasonable way to ship to US until last month! At one time we almost wanted to give up offering them. But, how could we call ourselves Hou De Fine Tea without the finest Oolong from China?
So here they are, Shui Xian, Rou Gui and Dao Hong Pao. And it just seems that suddenly it well worth all the efforts.
Hope you like them like we do