Six Famous Tea Mountains in the early 2000’s
Six Famous Tea Mountains brand (named for the actual six famous tea mountains ) has experienced one of the more profound falls from grace amongst puer brands. I had yet to discover puer tea when they were producing quality teas, but most puer drinkers agree that any six famous tea mountains tea produced after 2004 (give or take a year) is pretty low on the quality spectrum. This tea was from a bit before the cutoff date and is a formidable argument for the former reputation of the brand.
The color in these two photographs is a bit washed out, the actual leaves are bit deeper brown than this, something towards a medium chestnut brown. The dry leaves smelled of caramelized tobacco and had some fluffy white spotting on them, as pictured on the detail below.
After a quick rinse, the gaiwan held a sharp woodsy tobacco smell. A very intriguing way to enter a session. The first steep extended the intrigue, with a jumpy vibrancy on the tongue and a hint of some camphor. After a couple of steeps, the gaiwan lid was malty. The astringency remained present through over half the session, but was never a nuisance when couple with the cooling in the throat. In the way of flavor, this tea is very light and thin, but this is offset by the myriad of other activity going on.
In my note book i scrawled
Very good example of a tea with little flavor, but a lot of feeling
In beverages, a lot of emphasis gets placed on flavor. Try explaining to a non-puer drinker why a lightly flavored tea has value and you will no doubt encounter a bit of difficulty, but let me try to expand upon why i enjoyed this tea, despite its shortcoming in the flavor department.
Here are some notes I took, scattered between steepings
Cooling in the mouth and throat
Immediate Qi [body calm, etc]
The cooling in the throat and bouncy liveliness in the mouth were like a lights on a path, guiding the session. The addition of some nice Qi contributed to the enjoyment.
For flavor, i didn’t make many notes beyond its generic aged flavor, which was not bad, but fairly common amongst tea in this age range. Certainly not the strong suit of this cake. Some of the smells in the cup and gaiwan held my attention, mixes of malt and stale caramel, along with tobacco and general agednees at the start of the session.
This enjoyable session does give some insight into why people like (and fake) early 2000’s Six Famous Tea Mountains tea.