So this is the cake I bought yesterday:
Longyuan Hao Gelanghe Old Tea Tree Bing. Spring 2005.
This is, by the way, my wrapping job 🙂
The tea looks like this:
And these are the bits I broke off for taste
After brewing, it looks like this
And in liquid form, in the 6th infusion, I think, it is like this
Enough tea porn.
So how does it taste?
I tried it yesterday in sub-optimal conditions, and decided to get one to buy home to try for real. Like I said, it was cheap, so I wasn’t too worried even if it sucked. It’s sort of an education piece, if nothing else.
If you look at the front of the cake, it looks nice enough. The back, however, reveals some yellow leaves, and from what I understand, those are no good.
The compression of the cake is solid, not too tight, but not so loose that you already worry about it falling apart. I broke off a decent amount for tasting. The overall impression is one that goes down mellow, but really nothing terribly exciting. When I drank it at the store yesterday, I actually felt it was better than me drinking it at home. Maybe the hustle bustle of the store added to the mood, I don’t know. In terms of aroma, the first few infusions were a tiny bit smokey, with hints of fruit on the lid, but none in the taste. There were also some notes of honey sweetness at the bottom of the cup for aroma around infusions 2-5. The fruitiness smell disappears after 3, being replaced by an odd aroma… it’s almost perfume like. I’m not sure how or why such a smell made it into this cake. Maybe it’s from the cake maker??
The taste of the puerh is fairly consistent… and flat. The most obvious taste is astringency — that little tingling that puerh does to you, but not in a menthol kind of way. I am not very good today at thinking up words to describe the taste, other than that it’s a bit boring. After a few infusions the colour is still there, and the taste, while persistent, was not particularly exciting.
I have my suspicions about this cake as to what happened with the tea. If you look at the leaves, there are red borders and what not — I think it might’ve been leaves that either took too long to dry and thus oxidized a bit, or… deliberately done so that the taste of the tea is more mellow and drinkable now.
Will I buy it again? No. One’s enough.