This is Jing Jia Tang’s 2015 Spring tea from Yi Bang. The tea comes from essentially the same tea gardens as last year, but with a little refinement. As with last year’s ‘Xiao Ya’, this is all xiao ye zhong.
As with other 2015 teas, these little cakes are pressed quite tightly, but as you can see from the photo above, there are still plenty of leaves intact to get an idea of the handling and processing. The tea was made over several days so the slight variation in hue is probably due to that, but nonetheless the processing looks good enough, with no undue bruising, oxidation or redening on the stems, and with a generally good uniform colour .
Early steeps are sweet with a light vegetal aroma. Because the pressing was a little tight I extended the steeping times a little. The third steep was for a minute, the fourth a minute and a half and then back to normal after that, once the tea had started to open up a bit.
Broad impressions are that the tea is slightly astringent, the passage of broth through the mouth feels unimpeded, the retro-olfactory fragrance is floral along with some forest-plant fragrance, that I couldn’t put my finger on. Also some vegetal/tobacco notes. There is a pleasant cooling feeling in the mouth and nasal passages after swallowing. It feels quite smooth and with a decent thickness. Nothing choppy, unpleasant or distracting, and the tea feels to sink quite nicely into the chest cavity, leaving the throat feeling comfortable.
Later steepings (tenth or so) still do not pull out much astringence. It was light, easy drinking, but still with good depth and fragrance. The huigan was consistent throughout and remained smooth. Later on, around the fourteenth, I steeped the tea for several minutes. That was about the end of it. I got one more steep out of it before calling it a day. It could be that this year’s tea has a little less ‘legs’ than last year’s, but then again, that could just be a xiao ye zhong thing.
The Tea Garden: See here for details