Monday, April 30, 2012
2005 Pin Xi Wang Fu Raw Tuo
This is one of the hardest tuo I have ever opened so far. I broke one of my pu erh pick while trying to break up this tuo into smaller pieces for storage and brewing of this tea in a teapot. I was thinking whether there was a proper technique in breaking up a tightly compressed tuo. I had even considered steaming this tuo......really.....I remembered reading something to this extent, in the information sheet of pu erh cakes, to steam the cake so as to break up the cake easily. There seem to be some logic in this; I may end up with less tea dust and more whole leaves. I shall let my readers know when I find out more about breaking up a tuo.
This tuo is produced by Pin Xi Wang Fu Tea Co. This 125g tuo, as seen from this above pix, has a nice moulded design; reminds me of a melon. The compression of the tea leaves is very tight and you must exercise great care in prying open this tuo. Don't hurt yourself and try not to generate too much tea dust while you work on this tuo.
There is a camphor, smokey, mint like scent when I brewed this tea. Its very nice with a fresh slightly complex floral bouquet aroma. Mildly bitter with a hint of chinese medicinal notes but ends a subtle sweet finish. This tea does not have that pronounced aged tea characteristics like the older Qiu Xiang cakes (see previous blogs) but this tuo has all the subtleties I like in a raw tea. This tuo is nice when drank hot and a brew can easily make 10 delicious cups. Quite addictive.
The taste and aroma of this tuo is exceptional for its price and age. Going for less than 100RM for a bag of 5 tuos in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I am extremely pleased with my purchase and would probably make a repeat buy in my next tea trip.
But I digress - a tea blogger had commented or suggested that for a serious pu erh tea drinker, that he/she should try to have access or sample older teas (10, 20 or even 30 year old teas) so that this drinker or collector can have a better perspective of old puerh. The writer suggested that a trip to tea drinking Asia like Hong Kong may help the drinker be more informed of the many varieties, especially aged pu erh. I believe that a visit to Hong Kong for example, is a great suggestion (do try Guangzhou as well since you are in Hong Kong). However, the chances of you being served a sample of aged tea is unlikely, unless you are with a regular customer or you are going to spend lots of moolah at that shop. There is also a high possibility that the aged tea you are sampling or buying is "Hong Kong" stored tea - that the tea had undergone storage in a ultra high humidity storage facility at some time, which results in "traditional stored" flavor. It is an acquired taste and may not be replicated in your own tea storage area. I had sampled many older pu erh, and I did not like a few of them (I simply did not enjoy, or do not know how to appreciate them. Some gave me an uncomfortable buzz as well). There were also very impressive teas I had drank as well, but its prices were just as impressive that a cake could pay for my return air fare. I would also like to highlight that storing new pu erh teas (me included) may not result in a great aged pu erh tea .....Just my 2 cents worth.