What-Cha Qing Mei Shan

What-Cha Qing Mei Shan - wrapped

This is yet another of What-cha’s range of sweet little 100 gram mini-beengs, and is the result of a second joint effort between Alistair of What-cha and Scott Wilson of Yunnan Sourcing.

The two had teamed up previously for What-Cha’s Lao Shu Bai Cha, a tea which Alistair describes as “well received“, something it certainly was hereabouts!

What-Cha Qing Mei Shan - unwrapped

The raw material for this cakelet originates from Yong De county of Lincang prefecture, which as you already know lies in Yunnan province. To quote Scott Qing Mei Shan is “a remote mountain area.”

The leaves are from Old Arbor trees aged 100 years and older, and were harvested in Spring 2016, before being pressed in August that same year.

What-Cha Qing Mei Shan - dry leaf

Steeping method
Weight of dry leaf: 8 grams
Infusion style: Gong-fu / Asian
Steeping vessel: 150 ml porcelain gaiwan
Water temperature: 100°C
No. & duration: a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 5 seconds, then @ +5 seconds until 55 seconds, then @ 1½, 2, 2½, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 minutes for a total of 22 infusions

Right after the rinse I knew I was in for a good session – the warmed up leaves smelled strongly of pungent hot-house flowers and aromatic smoke, almost like incense.

The first few steeps were a heady blend of that floral thing with clean fresh leather. By the third infusion a slight astringent flick appeared, but that was always playing second fiddle to a pea like sweetness.

Just one infusion later two things happened. Firstly, the Qi arrived with a flourish of trumpets, and the body suddenly thickened up from pleasantly oily to full-on creamy.

That Qi induced much nostalgic daydreaming, and the remainder of the session was spent pouring over old photo albums and the like.

What-Cha Qing Mei Shan - a cup of

After 16 nice, lazy rounds, I was getting a bad case of the sheng munchies, so I downed tools and slung some leftovers in the radar box.

A half hour later I re-booted the session with a super-fast rinse, and we were in business again.

The post-lunch steepings saw the flower power fade out, and a mushroom umami-ness come out to play, but that sweet vegetal pea thing hung on in there to the very last infusion.

I went on to coax another 6 rounds out of those leaves before somewhat reluctantly deciding that I’d had the best the tea had to offer.

As you might imagine, 22 rounds makes for a long session, meaning that this is a tea that you shouldn’t really rush. Take your time. Before picking a cargo of these leaves off a cake hack away at the undergrowth that represents your daily chores, and create a clearing in the jungle of your day.

What-Cha Qing Mei Shan - used leaf

There you can make camp with nothing more than leaves and hot water, and spoil yourself for an hour or three.

Just don’t forget the photo albums…

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