February 8, 2010

2009 Guan Zi Zai "Zao Chun Yiwu Shan"

The stage has been set for a much needed day of tea and solitude. Yet another cold and rainy day, will these clouds ever part and let some happiness in? Radio's set to my "go-to" station, National Public Radio (NPR) Radioheads O.K. Computer is in heavy rotation today and it's fine by me, suits the day. As they contributed greatly to today's tea session (Rain, Radiohead, Terje) I owe all three a big thank you.
Guan Zi Zai in my humble opinion produces teas that fit into my "good value" category, never seeming to muster anything truly superb but always enjoyable. This cake weighs in at a hefty 400 gm's and made from 100% spring harvested tea. Available from Yunnan Sourcing.
The dry leaf doesn't have much to offer in the way of aroma, but that could be because it's been sitting on my desk for so long. The leaf is of the chunky and thick type, browns and greens are the colors to be found with a few sticks thrown into the mix as a reminder that it's a handmade tea.
Those tea producers know what appeals to us, they've got us pegged, in our (the consumers) mind the more rustic and artisanal they can make the tea appear to be, the more we are attracted to it. Take wrapper art for example. There are quite a few producers that have started using wrappers that have nothing but plain white paper with Chinese characters on them for tea and the producers info. Aesthetically I find them appealing. Do we really need pictures of elephants or big screaming logo's splattered on the wrapper? As if we need a day-glo reminder of what it is we are drinking.

Just as I reckoned, Guan Zi Zai's teas sit squarely in the "drink now" category. This tea is one that's fresh, delicate and light. The aroma has a good dose of Oolong like vegetal and floral aromas. Very lightly sweet and a very light body to match. Usually these kinds of teas can be a little acidic, but that's not the case with this one. Nothing complex going on here, nor is there much to say about it. Not that there is any fault to be found in this tea, it's what I though it would be, a nice, enjoyable, moderately priced sheng. But lacking enough content to provide much to blather on about. This tea really does smack of Oolong in both the aroma and flavors, thins out pretty quickly. Brilliant? No, and it ain't never going to be. But it's a pretty good "drink now" tea.
Ah! The sun just broke through and the birds are tweeting. And almost simultaneously the radio switches gears and the Beach Boys are "Getting Around" See Ya!


  1. To Bret

    I'm glad we agree on this tea - simple, but enjoable as a "drink it now" tea

    I have the 2009 Jingmai Guan Zi Zai and I'm putting a small sample aside for you

    Have a great day (and where is the follow-up post on Tyson?)


  2. Hey Terje, whats up? Yeah, this is a tea I could really enjoy on a summer day. Very clean and light. I was a litle suprised at the lack of acidity, usually these kinds of teas are a little sour, but not this one, a welcome change. Ive been working on Tysons new stories but really havnt had the time to finnish any yet, thier on the way though. Enjoy your day Terje, and Thanks!