Dadugang (Longyuan Hao) “King Tea Biscuit”, 2003

Yes, yes, it took me a while, but I finally dredged up this sample from the LJ Community 2006 tasteoff. First, the name. “King Tea Biscuit”, in case it’s not obvious, is a nasty translation crime that nobody should commit. The tea’s name is “Qing Dynasty Thousand Years Ancient Tea King Cake”, which, if you literally translate the last three words using a dictionary (looking up word by word) will get you “Tea King Biscuit”, which is actually a little better than the mysterious “King Tea Biscuit”. How we got there is anybody’s guess.

Reading those reviews from 2006, it seems like the tea received a relatively positive reception. It’s been almost two years. What has time (spent in the same plastic ziploc bag it came in) done to the tea?

If we use colour as a judge — not much

(By the way, you might have noticed recently that there is an annoying line of purple at the top of my pictures. My camera, I think, is getting on in age, and has served me and this blog for more than two years… and is now protesting. Sorry for the quality)

Looks just sort of like the same tea as those pictured in the thread I linked to, maybe with a slight yellowing of the silver tips, but if it changed, it didn’t change much. The tea has been stored in relatively stable conditions for the past two years, in one box or another in the comforts of a heated apartment in Boston or Ohio. It’s probably nothing too different from most American homes.

The colour of the tea, when brewed, also doesn’t say much, but it never does anyway. My cup’s tall, whereas the one BBB used looks much flatter, so it probably accounts for most, if not all, of the difference in colour.

The tea…. hasn’t aged well with time. The first cup is rather bland, almost tasteless. A bit of sweetness in it, but nothing too remarkable. Maybe the tea hasn’t woken up yet. As I went on, however, the bitterness really shines through. Bitter, astringent, coupled with some minty effects and a bit of a floral note here and there. The tea never got to sweetness in the aftertaste, nor did it brew out into a sweet water tea that I hoped it might eventually turn to. Instead, it just remained bitter — a weaker bitter, but still bitter. Maybe I’m spoiled by the vast amounts of un-bitter aged oolongs recently, so perhaps my tolerance for bitterness has decreased, but I don’t think my tongue has deteriorated so much that I can’t detect notes of huigan coming through, or some sort of sweet water ending for the tea.

One of the comments in the LJ thread is made by Guang of Hou De, who was obviously questioning the processing method for this tea. BBB’s observation that this tastes more like a white tea is also a note of caution. I am quite certain that teas that were processed improperly in a method that resembles white/green tea processing will, over time, degrade and turn into nasty, astringent, bitter teas. Walt, if you’re reading this, I’m curious how this tea tastes now in your collection (or, for that matter, if anybody else has it, feel free to share your thoughts). I don’t think I made it improperly, since my pot is usually ok with this amount of tea, and in any case, using the pot does tend to absorb some of the impact from the bitterness.

Wet leaves, as Guang noted, is awfully uniform in colour, and quite green (in person anyway). I checked — no signs of pan frying. Doesn’t look too traditionally processed to me.


Comments

Dadugang (Longyuan Hao) “King Tea Biscuit”, 2003 — 2 Comments

  1. I’m gonna have a stomach ache today…..

    Started the morning with an FHDC but started reading this and thought I’d try the Ddg cake again, since I haven’t had it since the tasteoff, and I still need to finnish a pot of the little blue mengku lbz brick from yesterday. I’m going to be bouncing off the wall by the end of the day.

    Gaiwan’ing it since punman swears my sheng pot makes things minty/sweet. The leftover from that tasteoff has been kept in an unclosed plastic bag, and has been in a drawer with some humidity control for about a year now.

    1st brew smells very vegetal. Color is light straw, maybe just a little darker but not going toward the orange/brown yet. Brew has good clarity, lots of floating hairs. I was under the impression that if it was poorly processed it would have poor clarity. The flavor is still slightly bitter, but less than I seem to recall. On the otherhand, this is brew 1, so that will probably get stronger.

    2nd is stronger, more bitter, not gan’y yet, not really anything standing out either though.

    3rd brewed a bit shorter, still not much aftersweet. I dont think there will be much if I don’t see it by now. Faster brew has cut down on the bitterness. Taste is neither offensive or really remarkable. The aftertaste.. is just kinda alittle dry.

    Streatching it farther brings on a little bit of a minty bitterness, and an overall kinda drying effect. It’s not a thick one for sure. The aftertaste is…. wierd. Kinda like a spearmint tictac. (And this was gaiwan’d to make sure it’s not my pot which puts a pleasant sweet/minty in… this one is less pleasant)

    Spent leaves are a mix of tips, and 1 inch leaves. Color is still pretty green. There’s some that have a slight redish tinge, but for a tea this age, you’d think it would be darker.

    Maybe that’s because it’s tips, and white leaves? There doesn’t seem to be any older/bigger leaves in there. It’s pretty much all white hairy buds and small plantation leaves. On other white/tippy pu cakes I have, they quickly go sweet and nutty in like a year. This one… is not. The other wierd thing… is that it’s not entirely pu tasting/acting.

    I would buy that it’s not all pu-erh tea in this cake. I mean.. it’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. It’s just kinda eh.

    I wouldn’t say it’s aged badly. Alot of the bitterness/astringency has been toned down. On the otherhand, it does not seem to be showing much promise of developing into a multi-dimensional pu. What flavors I’m getting today are pretty much just that flat tea taste and a little mint. Not alot of progression of flavors as it’s streatched to keep it interesting.

    I wouldnt buy this one again, but at the same time it doesnt suck so much that I’d throw out what I have left.

    Stomach isn’t as bad as I thought it would be at this point, but.. I still need to finish that dc, and the menku lbz….

  2. Sounds pretty similar to what I found from the tea. By the way, I had a nasty feeling after drinking this tea yesterday, so you certainly are doing better than me!

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