It’s been a while dear reader, as Hobbes would say, who, I must confess, is a much more prolific and consistent tea blogger than myself.
With a lack of time and Gaiwan (slippery fingers ) in addition to it’s replacement being stuck for one month in a Beijing customs-control warehouse, the world had conspired against me, but fortunately a kind donation of this xiao bing from Jalam Teas got me out of my rut.
Jalam Teas is a new online pu erh store based in Canada, that mainly focuses on a members club based model, which gets you a new 100g xiao bing at the very reasonable rate of $19 per month.
The teas are sourced by Jeff Fuchs in Yunnan, who is apparently the first westerner to have traveled the ancient tea horse route and documented his feat for a western audience in writings and pictures.
Given his extensive travels in the region, you can expect carefully personally sourced pu erh, just as with other specialized pu erh vendors that select their teas for pressing on location.
The cakes are shipped from Canada, which makes the club membership most suitable for people located in the US and Canada that would like to have one small bing a month without having to think too much about selecting something – a common issue for newcomers to pu erh, given the wide variety of cakes and brick available.
The cake in question consists out of pu erh from Meng Hun, which apparently faces the slopes of the Bulang mountains from north and comes with a post card explaining it’s origin.
As one would expect from a xiao bing, it’s pressed quite tightly and given the fact that it was picked in autumn, it doesn’t give off a strong smell that would suggest the flavors that one could expect.
A flash infusion yielded a very watery result and just as with most autumnal teas, longer infusions, as well as larger amounts of tea are needed to bring out the full extend of it’s flavor.
An infusion of about 20-30 sec turned out a flavor that was not unlike a malt whiskey without alcohol. The flavors were not particularly distinctive in any way, yet worked well together and produced a rounded result.
A further extended infusion brought out a medium level bitterness, but overall I would say that it’s almost impossible to overbrew. One can reasonably expect about 5-6 infusions before the taste fades.
The cha qi was calm and collected and not as full on as with many younger pu erhs harvested in spring.
Overall it’s a solid autumnal every day sheng that even people with weaker stomachs should be able to handle.