Qiaomu and Other Oft Used B.S.
Oh, Liming Factory! Never bashful about overstating the quality of your tea. You are the American student of tea factories, 1st in confidence, 37th in ability. Alright, I am unfairly singling out Liming factory, as the entire puer tea industry is filled with this kind of over ambitious labeling. This particular puer tea, labeled Qiaomu Chawang [Arbor Tea King] is certainly high on ambition. Maybe a less regal title, something more in the middle management range. Maybe Qiaomu Junior Supervisor. And arbor…we would need to change that too. But, I guess Plantation Junior Supervisor just isn’t sexy enough to sell cakes.
The leaves are a beautiful dark brown color, and they smell how they look; brown, rich and aged. I noted their smell was “enchanting”, so maybe we should promote this tea to the position of Qiaomu Baron.
The first steeps left a lot of aged tobacco flavor in the gaiwan, with a creamy scent on the lid. The first several infusions presented a nice kuwei [pleasant bitterness] and a fast huigan [sweet aftertaste]. The soup was a little bit thin overall, but there were several flavors warring for dominance. Also, for a tea that was a bit thin, it had some staying power. The tobacco flavor that was so prevalent in the first four steepings trailed off and the later session was dominated by some throat coating bitterness, which was quite pleasant, even if the flavor became a bit generic. Overall, the body feeling and general feeling of the tea was fairly average, for a tea with a higher than average price tag of around USD 90 on Taobao.
The tea has some potential to age further, as it still retains a fair amount of strength, but I would rather drink several other teas with lower price tags, were I buying factory productions from this time period.
The leaves were fairly heavily fragmented. The leaf pictured above is one of the bigger leaves I could find when rummaging around the gaiwan. If I were to lay a bet, the label of qiaomu on this tea is pretty misleading, seems like mostly plantation material. The title of tea king is not worth discussing – there can only be one king, and that is clearly Tiandiren. (ha)
For the price/quality of this tea, I am just not sure who is buying this stuff? To prove I am not just relentlessly crapping all over Liming factory, there is a ripe Liming cake that I really enjoy. I will break it out and take some photos one of these days, as a penance for my treason against the king.