Sunday May 21, 2006

More puerh tasting today.

Yisen Yiwu Thousand Year Old Tea Tree cake… (yeah, right).

According to this info ticket in the cake:

It does everything except resurrect the dead.

On the back of the ticket they also conveniently stamped the date — which says 2003, April. So, this cake is slightly older than 3 years.

You can see the leaves are fairly big, as it should be given the claim that this is from old tea trees. The compression is not too tight — loose on the edges, although the center and the back are tighter. The colour is already turning from green to brown. The degree of fermentation varies. The dry cake smells… like green puerh. I took bits and pieces from the edges and brewed that. It is possible that this way I am tasting the slightly more fermented stuff than whatever may be in the middle of the cake.

Onto the brewing. I used my gaiwan, and didn’t use a whole lot of tea:

As I normally don’t when tasting a cake of puerh. Adding too much tea may just make it really bitter without any real effect, and masking the other flavours that are in the tea.

The first infusion:

Came out a little insipid. Little taste. Hmmm

Then it got better with the 2nd infusion onwards. I could definitely feel some chaqi coming from the cake. It is, after all, from older trees, and the bigger leaves do impart some qi. Smelling the lid of the gaiwan, I can sense the smoky flavours, but it’s not very present in the tea. The liquor is darker than I’d expect from a 3 year old, and is rather mellow in the sense that there are no sharp flavours that are sometimes present in cakes that are younger than 5 years. I do, however, have the feeling that it hasn’t been kept wonderfully well so far — and the price indicates that might be the case, as is the existence of little bits of white dots on a few leaves that may be mould.

The flavours early on are a bit of the smokiness, plus the typical woody puerh taste and maybe hints of Chinese medicine. Then on about the 6th infusion, I started getting something a little more fruity when smelling the tea, and the liquor also comes out slightly sweeter.

I never know what to make of the black leaves among the greener ones though. Is it just a particularly well fermented leaf? A mix of cooked stuff? It is not quite pitch black, but deep, dark brown.

It tastes a little like a less aged version of the brick my friend sent me. If it turns out that way, I’m fine with it. It’s not that expensive, so whatever — I’ll drink it up.


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