Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2017 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi and Teapot Clogging

After rapid firing through some 2018 maocha, I decided that this 2017 Zheng Si Long Mang Zhi ($111.79 for 400g cake or $0.28/g) would be the first actual product from Tea Encounter reviewed.  I liked the 2018 Mang Zhi maocha, a nice example of Mang Zhi, and thought I was in the mood for this sport.  I decided to gong fu this at work through my erratic work day.

The dry leaves smell of a candy, licorice, chicory, slightly, woody frosty sweet mineral.

The first infusion delivers a creamy sweet initial taste with slight fruit and floral.  The creamy sweetness ebbs and flows through the profile and sometimes resembles cotton candy in its finish other times a floral tropical fruity taste initially.  There is an interesting, mineral, almost rainforest, base taste.  A long cooling aftertaste of sweet creamy tropical fruit after the cooling arrives.

The second onset is creamy tropical sweetness with mineral and rainforest tastes.  The sweetness peaks three times- in the initial, returning sweetness, and long aftertaste. The mouthfeel is soft and simulates the tongue softly and opens the mid throat nicely.

The third infusion has a sweet and slightly bitter buttery sweet onset. It expands to a mineral, forest taste before returning to creamy, almost tropical, sweetness and slight cooling.  The mouthfeel continues to expand on the tongue coating- a slightly gripping, slightly sticky coating.  This infusion is more mineral a forest then sweet.

The fourth infusion is a nice mix of bitterness, buttery caramel sweetness, light foresty, slight astringency, slight mineral.  The juxtaposition of a dominating caramel sweetness with slight astringent and bitter minerality is nice.  The tea has a nice medium oily viscosity to it.

The fifth infusion starts off initially mineral, then caramel sweetness comes in with slight bitterness.  There are some tastes of fresh green pea and tropical fruits under these base tastes. 

*******The sixth infusion the pot clogged completely rendering the resulting infusions moot.  Darn.  Didn’t catch it until it was too late. Sigh…

Anyways it gives us a glimpse into a cupping style infusion to see what this Mang Zhi is made of.  Deep buttery caramel sweetness dominates, slight floral aspect, interesting mineral taste, almost wood florals, nice full mouthfeel that mainly gripping and slightly soft/sticky but not off putting.  Nice coolness in throat.  The qi is slow to come but felt lightly in the head.  Very relaxing and very mild euphoria.  Leaves the body nimble.

The following infusions show signs of a more tropical fruit profile, with slight rain-foresty in a mild bitter astringent backbone.  The sweet tropical dominate when the pot starts pouring flash infusions again.

Although this tea is only 2017, it is obviously stored in rather humid conditions of Xisuangbanna as evidence of its caramel taste and light brownish liquor.  The storage is very clean though.  I can image all of the Tea Encounter’s Zheng Si Long will have these charms.

This tea offers a nicely balanced taste of a solid sweet base with medium notes of minerality and rainforest.  Many subtle but different sweet tastes can be found in here.  However, this tea has enough strength in its medium bitter and astringency, medium thick viscosity and full mouthfeeling to offset the sweetness and make for an interesting session.  Qi is a slower builder and mainly relaxing in the head with some subtle power.  The bodyfeel is nibble and whimsical feeling.

I kind of like this one and should try it again with the remainder of the sample.


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