Succesfully beating the fearsome final exams, I am exceedingly happy to get back to peaceful sessions with music and/or tea.
Today, I'll write about three teas I sampled from Origintea.
2001 Menghai Orange Dayi Banzhang
Banzhang may be an overmarketed area, indeed, but I still enjoy it.
The leaves look quite good, but I think there may have been an issue with their storage - the leaves smell like piss; some teas do that. However, airing out the tea for a couple of days helped.
The 1st and 2nd steepings are shown above. The color is light, but reasonably so for a 2001 tea.
The taste of the tea may not be the strongest or most permanent, but it is there and it is rather decent. I do taste a "Banzhang element" that I appreciate about the area and even though it seems diluted by inferior material blended with the sweet goodness, it is there. As a result, the tea is not headed in a single direction. Instead, there is some nothingness mixed with Banzhang-like stone fruit and sweetness.
My issue with this tea is not that it would taste downright bad - but it is really a bit too weak to be called good in my opinion. It is somewhere around the 2001 Gu Puer Banzhang - in both, you can sense there is some Banzhang around, but the tea has a lot of minor glitches which prevent it from being too good.
There is some decent aftertaste, but no real activity/longer sweetness staying around mouth and that is not good. Qi is likewise lacking.
Overall, I found the sessions with this tea pleasing, but not really captivating.
...the leaves are still surprisingly green.
2002 commissioned 8582
This tea was recommended to me by Tony.
The dry leaves smell predominantly by camphor. The wet leaves add some of decent wood smoke to it (in the style of older Xiaguan), with a hint of overripe fruit in the background.
The taste rather follows the schema sketched by the aroma. It is of camphor, woody smoke (not unfriendly) and a sort of overripe fruit in the background. Not too much sweetness (but not an obvious lack of either), thickness is good, but not great, the tea overall tastes and feels decent, but not much more. I tasted a couple of the 2003 Xiaguan "X-Yin" alongside and I don't think I could confidently tell apart this 8582 from the cluster of these Xiaguans. I consider all these teas to be decent, but not my style and not something I would wish to drink on my own. Too "northern" to my taste.
There is a reasonable aftertaste, with a hint of sourness, which hopefully will not develop further. Actually, it is same sort of sourness which is in some of the Xiaguans...
1990s something (not the Yibang currently available)
This tea, a bit like the two above, is not entirely bad, but there is nothing what would make it good. It is an interesting piece as it is obviously somewhat dry stored, but it has the characteristic aged taste. Unfortunately, it lacks concentration and strength that more humidly stored teas (or from better material) have. It is entirely inoffensive, but ultimately boring.
Overall, these teas disappointed me a bit. Not because they were bad, but because I wanted them to be better. They are not too cheap (that may be a mixture of maker and storage place) and there are a lot better teas hanging around at that price. Or, rather, more to my style. Almost all of the Origintea's teas I had up to now were drier than I'm used to drink and enjoy which could be also why I did not feel entirely happy throughout my sessions with them. For fans of drier stored tea (but not too much), Tony's pieces could be the way to go.