My tongue got bored of the aged oolongs — it needs something totally different. I still have a few more to go, so I’m taking a break and drank a bit of the Fuxing Youle cake instead 🙂
This time I used my pot, and the tea seems to come out similar, but perhaps slightly rounder, than from the gaiwan. I think the leaves to pot ratio is a little lower when I use the pot, which might be the reason why I achieved the results I did. The tea tastes like a good old tree puerh, at least I think it is anyway… flavourful, strong in the throat department, and clearly has energy. Compared with an aged oolong, the energy is a slightly nervous one. Instead of making you calm, it works you up. It’s a stimulant. Young puerh tend to be like that; it’s as if I were spending time with an energetic kid, rather than an old man who is sipping tea peacefully. The tea, even when it’s almost brewed out after 10+ infusions, still exhibits strong activity in the mouth. I have high hopes for this one. I even wonder if I should go get some more, haha.
I think I broke the cake up better this time, and got more complete leaves in. It’s difficult to convey this through words, but the leaves seem well rolled — they’re slightly on the mushy side, not always unfurlable, and are mostly bud-leaf systems. I have heard complaints that some cakes these days are not completely processed — wholeness and sturdiness of leaves are sought after qualities for reasons that have little to do with aging, and so sometimes the makers deliberately roll them very lightly to preserve the leaves in order to make them unfurl easily on their own when brewed. I don’t know if this has any grounding in the actual process behind aging, but perhaps that makes sense — little rolling would mean less breaking of the cell structure, and thus, perhaps, slower or incomplete aging. Again, I don’t know the answer to this, and I suppose I will find out in 20 years.
Meanwhile, I marvel at the beauty of these leaves. There’s something about young puerh leaves that are particularly attractive, especially when they feel meaty when handled…