When I had the pleasure of Chawangshop's owner's visit back in Prague, I made a scornful remark on some tea in the way "it's quite bad, probably from Yongde". Honza smiled wisely and said that he'd send me some good, if still cheap tea from there - and so he did, among many other things. I resisted the urge to leap at all the goodies in the big tea box and since I'm still recovering from an illness, I thought my tastebuds could do well enough with a not-so-super tea. I had three sessions with the leaves over two days, so I'm sort of "full of Yongde" now... Anyway, before getting to actual tea, let me show you two of four new cups that will call this place home:
I dreamed of these for some time - and yes, they are as good as I thought they might be - a very fine and lovely porcelain, a joy to use. They keep heat and aroma well - since I'm not a collector of teaware, cups and pots are more tools than anything else for me - and these cups seem to work very well.
You can think that somebody was a little crazy when packing up samples...
The amount of time that must have been spent writing all the labels to the samples I bought is frankly terrifying... Or maybe not, when you're used to it - but as my own handwriting resembles a drunkard's nightmare, I have a great deal of admiration for people who can write nicely.
The leaves seem quite large to me and are covered in fur. They smell of dry wood mostly.
Rinsed leaves smell very nicely, sweet and fruity (ripe strawberries), with wood and leather. It slightly reminds me of the good 2009 Yongde from Finepuer.
The liquor is surprisingly thick and smooth - not bad at all! It manages to produce a taste as well - strawberries, dry wood and "laundry". Unfortunately, the tea seems to lack in middle taste spectrum (but so did most other Yongde teas I had), but it manages to get to the aftertaste phase with grace and strength. It finishes with very pleasant and strong vibrations on the tongue - that was probably the most pleasant feature I found in the tea.
Overall, it feels good, deep and pleasant. It costs mere $22, which is similar to the other Mangfeis I had (and rather loathed), but it is a much nicer tea. Not great, but it convinces me that Mangfei is not only a supplier of world's deepest torture chambers.
2012 Lantingchun Yongde Ming Feng
Lantingchun factory supplied me with two teas previously - a not too impressive one from 2000 and a not impressive, but decent enough from 2003.
The rinsed leaves smell cold-flowery. Fortunately, no cold ashtray, which in my opinion plagues many Mangfei-like teas.
The liquor smells more classically metallic and harder. The taste is not so hard though, which is good. It resembles mountains, with mist, cold forest (pines), and the mixture of flowers that grow at the forest floor. While I do enjoy such things for hiking, I find it to be a bit too cold and harsh for tea - I prefer warming teas, which these "northern" areas seldom supply.
Again, I did not dislike this tea, but I did not particularly enjoy it either.
Both teas, however, might be interesting for those who enjoy Lincang tea...