Jing Jia Tang’s 2015 Early Spring Meng Song offering.
This tea comes from the same tea garden as the 2013 and 14 Qing Sheng. The first thing of note is that the cakes are pressed more tightly than last year – a mix of stone and mechanical processing. Jing Jia Tang also went back to a 357g cake. They decided to press in this fashion – they reckon about 20% tighter than 2014 – because 2015 was a relatively wet Spring so the moisture content in the leaves is a little higher than last year and they say that the tighter pressing will help with the ageing process: keeping better flavour and fragrance.
There are fewer whole leaves due to the tighter pressing and it takes a few more steeps before the piece of tea in the gaiwan starts to open up.
As with the last two year’s tea from this Hua Zhu Liang Zi tea garden the tea initially seems quite understated. The rukou is smooth, sweet, fine. It’s purity, as with previous years, is obvious. The tea has a pleasing refreshing, cooling quality. Fruit and floral notes are not initially obvious: being held in the broth, they reveal themselves in the mouth and in the retro-olfactory experience. The tea initially has no obvious bitterness or astringence. After several steeps some bitterness emerges, but with little astringence. The huigan, as we would expect from this tea, emerges slowly and creeps up on you, until at some point one becomes aware of it. It lasts well, accompanied by a nice hou yun.
The steeped leaves look nice enough. Good uniform colour with no red stems or leaves: indicative of a well processed tea. The broth is a pleasing mid-yellow. Clear with some lustre. As with previous years, despite the unpredictable weather Jing Jia Tang have been able to produce a tea of dependable quality.
Hua Zhu Liang Zi is Xishuangbanna’s highest mountain. This tea comes from a small tea garden on the mountain at an altitude of 2200 metres which is surrounded by natural woodland. Meng Song is across from Nan Nuo Shan on the opposite bank of Liu Sha He which, despite it’s modest size, marks a significant boundary between the two areas. Meng Song is also the only ‘Banna tea mountain near the banks of the Mekong.