Once in a while, I actually drink Xiaguan stuff.
I’ve never been a big fan of their newer things. I do like the Traditional (and Simplified) character bings from the 80s, but that’s a different story. For the most part, I find their younger teas to be harsh and quite unpleasant. It takes years for them to mature into something more drinkable, and even then…. they’re not that great. They’re harsh when young, but not actually particularly good — leaves you with a bit of an aftertaste, but I’m not sure it’s the right one I want for my youngish teas.
But I found this tuo with Action Jackson when she was visiting here, and I remembered liking it. I picked one up
As you can see… it’s been taken apart. No, this is not what’s left – this is only a portion of it.
The tuo is aged 7 years… from 2000. Back then, this stuff costs maybe twenty cents USD. Nowadays…. it’s many multiples. This thing still isn’t terribly expensive, I suppose, but it’s also not really cheap either when you compare it with what it was worth, back in the day.
It is starting to show a hint of age
The tea definitely smells a bit aged. It’s lost the “green” smell and has taken on a slightly changed, slightly musty smell. The taste is sweet — much of the bitterness has receeded, only there in a very subtle way in the background. The initial greeness of Xiaguan tea is also gone, but it is still detectable in the way the aftertaste behaves… it’s there, in the background, telling me that this tea is once upon a time a pretty green Xiaguan tea.
Is this great? No, not really. Is it interesting? Sure. I’m also curious how it compares with, say, the ITC tuos from the 90s. I remember Davelcorp & Co. saying that those don’t taste very aged. I wonder if this one tastes more aged than those, or less. If it tastes more aged than the ITC ones…. then it’s either because Oakland (where I think ITC stores their teas) is really too dry, or those tuos aren’t really from the 90s.
The wet leaves are pretty typical jia tuo stuff…. small leaves, some chopped, some not so chopped. The tea deliveres some caffeine buzz though, I can feel it.