Friday, August 27, 2010
This is a view of the very elegant room where the Lippizaner horses of Vienna, Austria perform. I'm not sure the Viennese do very much that isn't elegant.
Oh dear, I shouldn't have done it. I compared an oldish sample of Enjoying Tea's Imperial Golden Yunnan Black [Dianhong] with a new sample of Upton's China Yunnan Golden Tips Imperial. Two Imperials, right? Well, sort of. Both had lots of golden tips and long leaves, both were abundantly coated with gold dust. Upton's were longer and the smell! Oh, the scent of of it - like old dried wood in the sun, coupled with that of a woodland spring of fresh water.
Both were brewed for 5 minutes at boiling, ET's only required a teaspoon, but the latter needed 1 and a half, due to the very large leaves. Both had that characteristic fresh wash smell of Yunnan, although Upton's was stronger. ET's was kind of a medium amber, Upton's such a dark amber it was really a dark brown. Which brings us to the test - the taste. Here, alas, ET must bow out. If I had had this alone, I would've thought it was an adequate Yunnan. Pleasant, smooth, full of flavor. Definitely not top rank, but plenty good for everyday. However, I compared them. It probably is an unfair comparison as Enjoying Tea is from last year, which was not a good Yunnan year. So, actually that says something good for ET's quality.
Upton's said Yunnan quality was back and this is proof. Smooth, spicy, peppery, deep woodsy, winy, malty, all those good words about Yunnan, they're all there. The flavor lasts in your mouth to fade gently away, like old potpourri, with the spiciness being the last to linger. But your taste buds remember the sensations. I liked it so much I decided to do a second wash, for 5 and a half minutes, using half the water. The color is almost as dark, the scent almost as rich and the taste is still there. Okay, it's a little muted, but getting a cup and half or more out of enough tea for one cup is pretty good economics. And it allows you to keep drinking the good stuff.