My budding love affair with Che Ma Xuan sourced cakes stemmed from correspondences with Eugene (Tea Urchin) about the NaKa region.
The dry leaf of this early spring 2011 sourcing from PaSha offered what I find in a sum of youthful puerh, an intense aroma of pasture –a muddle of humid dark grass with faint traces of fruit, and hints of flowers. This PaSha offered an additional expression in the form of a vaporous smudge of candy-like sweetness.
The first yielded broths were thick in body, buttery smooth. Each contributed to the increasingly distinctive mouth feel as they dramatically bowed from the tongue into the hard palate.
As the soft palate became engaged, my mind went into overdrive scrambling to identify notes as they appeared in flashes –cherry wood, sweet tobacco, flowers of undetermined variety, menthol, spice, corn (??)… all seemed right, yet potentially incorrect.
The tea truly opened up around the 6th and 7th steeps with a penetrating sweetness. It rounded out the existing notes, filled the mouth, and reached easily into the throat. It soothed. The lips became coated with tea oils.
A latent veil of coolness began to rise from the front of the mouth into the sinus.
The considerable nature of its sweetness soldiered on well into the final cups –I took the leaves to a healthy 15 steeps.
Its energy was ever-present, built gradually, and weighed heavily on the shoulders. It calmed. The body pulsated with warmth, which was notable as cool breezes rushed in from the patio door behind me.
I fought a bit with this PaSha; not in steeping, but in defining the nuances of its flavor. It confounded me with its profile. I look forward to a session or two more –on the back of three to date– to truly define all of its subtleties. This, I am afraid, will have to wait for a cake to arrive.
It seems a potentially good tea for aging, if considered for its now complexity and vibrant nature. It is also priced nicely at $50 for a 357g cake.
Should you be interested in this PaSha, or any of the previous Che Ma Xuan cakes, please contact Eugene for samples, and or cakes.