I bought this cake a week and half ago, and haven’t tried it yet since my purchase. Given that yesterday I had a 90s tea, I figured it would be a good thing to do to compare it with this cake. I know they’re not very comparable — this one being younger by a good bit, but it’s good to have a reference point sometimes.
The wrapper is a CNNP one — since I’m no wrapperologist, I am not sure what it is. The owner of the store said it’s a special order cake from Menghai. I have my doubts based on the way the cake is shaped. For people like us who are only buying the tea for personal consumption, factory provenance doesn’t matter too much as long as the tea is fair (and the price too, since Menghai and other big factories command a premium).
This is what it looks like unwrapped
With a closeup
And the bit that got bitten by the mouse…. no, it was me 🙂
It’s odd, but under this lighting it looks better than when I am staring at it live.
The tea is probably around 5 years of age, or thereabouts. I’m not sure.
The first thing I notice is that the aromas are “higher” than the tea yesterday. It being younger and less aged probably has something to do with it. The liquor is also lighter in colour
The initial infusion was very sweet, with a bit of an aged taste showing. It gradually got a little rougher as I brewed it on, but the aroma also intensified. In fact, it took a good 3-4 infusions before the tea really hit its stride and I could feel the strength of the tea that I remembered trying in the store. The bitterness was kept well under control, but I know if you overbrew it (as the owner of the shop deliberately did) it will come out quite bitter. When it was good, it showed me some throatiness as well. It’s also got some qi, as I could feel my body reacting to the tea.
At the same time, there were a few infusions of this tea when I felt it was a bit watery — not thin, but watery as in lacking an obvious taste. The roughness was also a downside, although I suppose that can be remedied. The tea did eventually return to a sweet water state with no roughness, which is good, and after 10+ infusions.
So I don’t know exactly what to make of this tea. Maybe it’s in that transition phase between different stages of aging, and so tastes a bit like an awkward adolescent?
Here are some wet leaves
The cake comprises leaves of all sizes…
It might be interesting to drink this again after a few more years. I can see it changing, although I’m not sure in what direction.