Xi Zi Hao’s 2008 Xi Shang Jia Xi via Hou de Asian [Episode 85]

Denny and James review a ripe pu’erh from the Taiwanese boutique label Xi Zi Hao (Sanhe Tang). Acquired from Hou de Asian. The tea has been lightly ripened and uses better base material than most ripe pu’erh. A very good and interesting tea.

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4 Responses to Xi Zi Hao’s 2008 Xi Shang Jia Xi via Hou de Asian [Episode 85]

  1. shah8 says:

    Okay, some further points…

    1) I have issues with this tea being slightly sour in the initial brews, and I imagine you guys are washing away much of it, since I don’t do washes. I have also had this issue with sourness with a Yiwu gushu? shu made by ChenYuanHao, so I wonder if better bigger leaves tend to be more prone to sourness. Thus it was interesting to hear about it being sweet so early in the session!

    2) I was amused by the talk of “I could drink this every day”. Well of course! If I could drink banzhang and yiwu and etc, etc, gushu every day I would too! This is what a comparable product is like: http://www.jkteashop.com/2010-shang-pinbulang-old-tree-ripe-puerh-tea-p-151.html and the sample for fifteen grams is $34. JKTea’s pricing might be outrageous, but it’s about twice too much, not orders of magnitudes too much. Houde selling twenty-eight grams of this tea for $6.50 is absurdly cheap. Of couse, part of the issue is that there are no more cakes on offer, and it has never been given any sort of pricing at Sanhetang (can navigate here: http://www.xizihao.com/#good) over at least the last four years (6666 is just letting you know to check with shop for willingness/price).

    3) Another thing I appreciated from watching you guys try this tea, is just how delicate the appreciation of finery is. When you’re just starting out, it’s pretty hard to appreciate what really good tea is like, or that you could ever get hung up on getting that last 1%-5% quality that’s represented by hundreds more dollars per cake. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to have the XZH ’07 8582, and I enjoyed its qualities, despite some flaws, right? And I remembered the old puerh Livejournal article that compared the XZH 8582 with the Dayi 8582 801 that would have used 2007 maocha. Many people then preferred the Dayi. Today, I also have that 801, so a few days later, I tried this tea to compare. The difference in quality isn’t that big, as this 8582 is really a decent tea with its own good flavor. However, the differences for the XZH–first and foremost, it’s much easier to drink (on the stomach), the aroma is thematically cohesive, and it has some relaxing qi–they are all subtle advantages to n00bs. People starting out have less sensitive stomachs (if they are hardy types), so they don’t notice how “cold” the 8582 is, aroma tends to be aroma, and it takes a while to understand what qi is. Then there was the confusion over the 7542 comparison. Only now do I realize that the XZH was trying to make a tea similar to the Conscientious Prescription Yellow Mark rather than quite a better 7542, and *that* tea, which I’ve just had a few months ago, is much more like a Lao Man’E gushu than any 7542 I’m familiar with, so no wonder it didn’t do well with the 7542 801/701. These sort of issues make Puerh a lot of fun to geek around with, but it also makes it much more inaccessible to normal people (the IQ of puerh tea bloggers over the years have to be absurdly high, even in comparison to other tea drinkers).

    If you’re still interested in gushu shu–Houde still has a couple more:

    I haven’t had this, but I think the sheng is supposed to have some gushu, so it wouldn’t surprised me if the shu has some as well: http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=32&products_id=1432

    and of course:
    http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=48&products_id=1234

    I have had the shu in the set, and it’s very good. Very small, fragmented leaves, so it gives up the tea essence pretty quickly. The sheng is nice, too. The set is as well priced as everything else at Houde.

    I think the Anxiang is partially gushu shu, but it’s expensive at Dragon Tea House @ $99, so it’s worth your while to check with white2tea if Paul can’t source you some at a better price with your next white2tea order.

    Lastly, Diancha has come out with an extensive gushu shu “Mother Trees” line (as well as sheng), with 100g cakes of Bulang, Lao Banzhang, Bingdao, and Xigui having been reviewed so far on Teabbs forums. Must be absurdly expensive shu.

    • James says:

      Hi shah,

      Thanks for the comment. I must thank you for recommending this tea as it was easily one of the more excellent ripe pu’erhs I’ve had. Even my girlfriend, noticed that this was far above the average, complimenting the latter steeps of this tea session (this is a rare occurrence).

      1) I’ll brew this tea without a rinse next time and look at it under this context. I’ve sessioned it a few times now, and don’t think I’ve noticed much sourness. I should also say that it’s a somewhat tricky tea for me to place initially, so it’s possible I might also be missing something.

      2 & 3) Thanks for the notes.

      While perusing old posts and comments, I’ve seen you mention that Anxiang before. I’ll have to check that and other gushu shu on my next orders to Houde or W2T.

      Cheers!
      -James

  2. Peter says:

    I signed up for that newsletter some time ago, but nothing has happened since. Hope you are not using all the e-mail addresses you collect (harvest?) for nefarious purposes ….

    • James says:

      Hi Peter,

      Not to worry. I hate it when companies do that. I think once the new year settles down, we’ll probably just send out some sort of digest email or perhaps do a google hangout tea session. TeaDB is a passion project, and while I know better to not say never, there are no plans to make it otherwise.

      Cheers!
      -James

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