Updated: Nov 4, 2017
2011 Yiwu Gushu – Danggui
2017 October, sample cake tasting update (afternoon/evening)
This sample cake has been sitting inside a cardboard box at the bottom of the sample pile for at least a couple of years now. Since a large portion of the stock was sold or gifted to family, friends and colleagues, we’ve not been encouraged to sell the remaining stock and so I'm sad to say the sampler has been a bit neglected. I’m sure it’s happy to get a breath of air, which is quite different from my last tasting with the 2009 Danggui. If you read that, you’ll know that that 2009 sample has had maybe a bit too much air exposure.
These pictures were taken after the session so apologies for the low light exposure during the evening.
So rather than provide lengthy tasting notes, I’ll assume you have read the 2009 notes and draw up a few comparisons.
If you haven’t already read the 2009 tasting notes, you may want to do so before continuing with the rest of this post.
We got a lot more whole leaf with less broken pieces and we are using slightly less leaf too, so already a brewing difference to be considered. This 2011 brews much like the 2009 in initial brews although the colour is noticeably lighter. With a slightly lighter bitterness, likely due to the less broken leaves, but same mouth feel, initial sweetness, and huigan. The cha qi doesn’t quite hit me as quickly in this session, but I think that is more to do with the fact I ate before this session which I didn’t do last time.
Brews six to ten, start to show off the full flavour of the leaves which is when the cha qi starts to kick in. That burping reaction I get is back again and I can feel my stomach feeling lighter and cleaner with a light but clear menthol/camphor feeling in the throat and stomach. Overall, I would say that the flavour is still very full, but doesn’t quite hit the low notes that the 2009 did. I would put this down to the storage and ageing more than anything else. Seven to eight years in Guangzhou really seem to have a clearer ageing effect on teas, and in my opinion, one of the storage locations to age a tea.
We don’t brew this too hard into later steeps as it is evening and we don’t really want to stay up all night! As with the 2009, the 2011 Danggui really continues providing a full flavourful steep from 10 through to twenty. We brew a few more times before stopping and I throw most of the leaf into a thermos overnight to see how much flavour was still left in the leaf.
*added notes: The next morning, we poured out the thermos cup and the result was a similar colour to the fifth brew, and almost as strong in flavour as the fifteenth brew. However, with the stewed brewing, it had much thicker mouth feel left an even fuller, pleasant aftertaste which highlighted the huigan all over again. This is certainly a great way to make the most out of great tea.