As I mustered enough courage to try TWO teas from Wuliang in a couple of previous days, I thought I've got to keep the wave rolling and have another one - from Fu Cha Ju. Fu Cha Ju is, if nothing else, an uncommon factory, trying various new ways how to make puerh. Some of them, I do not favour (i.e., aging in plastic bags). Some of them, I tend to like as they give larger variance to puerh world (i.e., adding tea flowers to Jingmai teas). I fondly remember the 2005-6 teas from FCJ which Yunnan Sourcing was selling and which I liked. Even their Ailao and Wuliang, both from 2006, I believe, were quite good.
I guess that this Wuliang from 2008 is also a bit uncommon as it does not bear a slightest hint of smoke. It is even sweet and pleasant. The tea was put in a drier after pressing, which could be why it is unusual. Anyway, I took pictures of leaves after steeping and they do not look like wulongpu or hongchapu. I'm just saying that this is not a common-style Wuliang (and I'm grateful for that). I guess that this tea is like if I took young Wuliang and said "Ok, please, develop these potentially pleasant features and get rid of the unpleasant ones".
The dry leaves are brown-green, a reasonable color for a 2008 tea. I am not sure where it aged, but it must have been someplace good. The aroma of dry leaves is really nice, fruity, like strawberries. I often thought that if many Wuliangs shifted a bit, their green-ness would become pleasant taste of strawberries. There was even a nice 2003 minicake from Wuliang which sort of did that. Anyway, this Fuchaju Wuliang does the shift perfectly. It is a bit surprising as the 2006 Fuchaju Wuliang which should be similar, was a lot woodier.
The wet leaves smell powerfully sweet, fruity and complex. The fruitiness starts like strawberries with canned lychee, transforming into a generic mixture of lighter garden fruit and as the leaves cool down, it becomes darker and darker (and even sweeter). Sweet tobacco can be detected too. An interesting "aftersmell" happens, reminding me of herbs and licorice. But it's quite faint - it springs up and goes away quickly. However, such is the case with aftersmell, it tends to be rather volatile. Or maybe just my brain needs to adjust more. I remember well the times when I could not detect aftersmell of any sort.
The color of the liquor is standard orange I'd say. Clear and nice. It is, similarly to the aroma, very tasty. The taste is strong, intense, fruity and "wide", while being rather straightforward. It is several tastes together, but they all go in the same way, there are no "countermelodies", if you what I mean. The taste is a mixture of garden fruit, with the strawberries being more obvious than other fruits. Although the first one or two steepings give the impression that the taste is a bit shorter than one would desire, further steepings show that the length of taste is quite saatisfactory. After a couple seconds, it gets a bit jammed by bitterness and later astringency (which is mid-strong).
While the stamina of the tea is quite good, later steepings can be a bit thin in taste (although the tea is generally nicely thick) and a bit "empty". I did not have the urge to push the leaves to their limits really. Nevertheless, I had some 6-7 really good steepings.
In some steepings, there is a nice, gentle, but long activity on the tongue. In some, it is neligible. I guess that this points to a smallish portion of old tree leaves in the cake.
That guess was sort of confirmed when I dissected the contents of the teapot, see below. Most leaves were like the on the right - large, not too thick, while there was a portion of leaves like on the left side - stronger, more leathery, with stronger stem, which is a feature one associates with older tree leaves. I put representatives of those two sorts of leaves into two bowls and poured hot water over them. The bowl containing the left sort of leaves had slightly thicker liquor, with less taste (and the tastes were rather "high") - but there was good actvity on the tongue. On the other hand, the bowl containing the right sort of leaves (no pun) had much more taste, but it was quite quiet when it came to mouthfeel.
Similarly to the Wuliang I wrote about previously, I did not feel any qi flowing through me when I drank the tea. But that is really a personal thing so it's difficult to say that generally.
I think that this tea is good and tasty. It is really extra-easygoing, I can imagine serving this to about any visitor to our place, a thing that can not be said about many puerhs. Maybe this easygoing-ness might alienate some hardcore puerh drinkers. Anyway, I do not consider myself favouring hardcore puerh and so this is a great Wuliang for me. The price seems really nice to me too. It's only $31, which is about right or a bit less than "right" for a 2008 tea with very nice taste, but which does not shine in cooling of mouth and qi. It's nowhere near glittering beauty of some gushu cakes, but, on the other hand, it's a lot tastier than many of these. I guess that it boils down to what whoever prefers.
What is it like compared to YS/LF Wuliang I wrote about in the previous post? I think it's about the same in the matters outside taste, however, in taste, this one clearly wins it for me as it has no smoke and a quite pleasant and unusual fruitiness on the top. It's more expensive, though...