I just got another shipment of samples today, this time from Northern California, and I haven’t even gotten through the stuff that Iwii sent me yet… so back to those Iwii samples first to try to clear something out. This time, it’s sample 1b.
1b, I gathered, means that it’s probably the same thing as 1a, but from a different source, or in different storage conditions, or some such. I did not know what it was at the time. Pulling out the leaves though, I did notice that it was largely broken leaves, even though the pieces I got were big chunks
Broken leaves probably means a big factory recipe cake. It didn’t smell like much.
The tea, on the other hand, smells rather strongly of a youngish puerh. The colour, as you can see, is obviously changed. The taste of the tea is still quite strong, somewhat bitter, not too astringent, but has a bit of sweetness, especially in the later infusions. I think this is one of those teas that are better when weaker than stronger — early in the infusions they are a little rough, in the sense that the bitterness and the slightly unpleasant taste is a bit overpowering. Then it gets better, but it takes a while.
Then I asked Iwii what it is… and it turns out to be a big Zhong yellow label cake from 1998 (I think?). I believe this sample is from Hou De (correct me if I’m wrong, Iwii). Still too young to drink, I think. Not the most pleasant right now, but it will probably improve over time into something better. Give it another ten years?