Another tea from Jing Jia Tang. An early Spring offering from He Kai.
He Kai was a tea that for years I could never quite understand, but several friends source tea from there and over time I have come to find that there is some that I like.
The first thing one notices with this Jing Jia Tang He Kai is a ‘hua-mi xiang’, a floral-honey fragrance. The broth is quite fine: soft and smooth – not at all abrasive – a sensation which flows down into the throat. The mouth and throat turn sweet quickly enough, giving way to a very respectable huigan. Typical of He Kai tea, there is a little astringence which is present without dominating along with a light bitterness. The wet leaves have a pleasant woody fragrance. The leaves and the broth bear witness to a very clean, pure, well made tea.
Overall, a well balanced tea: ru kou, Ku Se, Xinag Qi, hui gan. harmonising nicely.
This tea has sold out, but there is still some 2013 Autumn tea available online from their Taobao shop.
It somehow makes sense for me to think of it in terms of geography: starting with Nan Nuo Shan and moving west and south, one comes to Pa Sha, He Kai, Ban Pen, Ban Zhang, then Lao Man E. The eastern end is milder and the punch builds as one moves south-west. Of course, it’s not that simple, but there is perhaps a modicum of truth to the generalisation. None-the-less He Kai, although it’s not far from Ban Zhang, is quite a different animal.
Liu Yang sourced this tea from four different gardens that are adjacent to each other and at an altitude of 1600-1800 metres. He supervised the picking, transporting fresh leaves and processing. It is common in He Kai to have small trees growing amidst ancient/old trees. In order to mitigate against the tendency to mix the two together when picking the leaves, he paid the pickers/farmers the old tree price for the small tree leaves and had them picked separately. The small tree tea has been sold separately.