Until I get to Taiwan in about a week’s time, you’ll have to bear with me, suffering through more boring tea reviews 🙂
Another old sample from last year, but not a newish tea. This is the Hou De 1996 Orange in orange 7532 sample that I got…. must’ve been a year and half ago now. I think I tried it once and then forgot about it, and here it is again…
There’s almost enough for two infusions, so I poured out some bits for one
I don’t know what the yellow stuff is, I think it’s some sort of grain hust, which seems pretty common. There’s a bit of mustiness in the dry aroma of the leaves, but generally speaking it’s not very remarkable. A little looser, and you’d think this is loose tea. No doubt the 1+ year of storage in a little bag, plus the initial breaking up of the cake, did that to the tea.
The initial infusion was quite nice, giving me a “meaty” feeling — not that it tastes like meat, but it has a sort of solidness that fills the mouth. It makes you salivate a little, and also hits the back of the throat. However…. the same dryness that I noticed of the tea two days ago is also very present in this tea. In fact, it might even be worse in this tea. I wonder why — is it the storage? I don’t know, but something is not right. The flavours are quite attractive, and will go on to change later to a more camphory taste, and then some woodiness, eventually fading to the sweet water that is typical. There was some bitterness, as well as a hint of sourness in the tea in the middle infusions. However, the dryness remained omnipresent — and unpleasantly so. Water was again necessary to continue my tasting, which is really not a good thing. My white tea or my dahongpao, which were stored together with these two puerh, do not suffer from the same problem. Nor is there such a problem for all the younger samples I’ve been drinking recently. So…. is this inherent in the tea?
The liquor is a medium brown.
Digression 1: Two days ago Lew and Davelcorp both remarked that the liquor of the tea looked really dark — almost pitch black. I checked again, and I think it’s a product of the camera’s way of presenting the picture. The one two days ago was untouched. Today’s was brightened. Brightness, I think, is the issue here. Where I sit to drink tea is fairly dark, and so the tea comes out looking quite dark whereas in person, when I’m staring at it, it is lighter in colour. So I brightened the picture to make it appear more like what I was seeing, colour wise (I don’t want to mess with colour balance, which in any case is fine). Which is why the picture today seems to be… whitewashed.
Anyway… if the dryness is not there, the tea today would’ve been quite nice. However, because of the dryness… I’m not entirely sure if I really liked it. It is, however, still on sale. So perhaps if somebody is adventurous enough to try it… we will know if it’s me, or if it’s the tea.
Digression 2: I just found my old notes here. Interesting lack of mention of any dryness. I wonder if it’s because it wasn’t there, or merely because I didn’t notice it — thanks to me not paying attention? Both are quite possible.
The leaves are, on the whole, small. The 3 of 7532 shows. There are some larger leaves, but even the largest I could find in my sample are no more than, say, a medium size (as far as leaves go). They are quite chopped up, which is fairly typical….
Now I really wonder if it’s the storage that did this to the tea. Since it’s been in a ziploc bag continuously since I last tried it… I can’t imagine it being dried out too much on its own.