This is a 1999 ripe pu erh tea brick. This tea weighs 250g. These tea does not come in a tong but a bundle of these tea would be 4 bricks tied together with a white string. This ripe pu erh brick is a 7581 recipe.
I enjoy drinking ripe tea and readers will know I drink a fair bit of ripe pu erh tea. Based on my personal drinking experience, ripe tea will develop an aged taste with time. I realized that new ripe tea is slightly unpleasant to drink.......there may be a fermentation smell and the aroma is less than welcoming. Store it away for 2-3 years, and the ripe tea will be a delicious drink. I found that older ripe pu erh will develop into either a dried fruit, herbal medicinal or old wood aroma.
You will notice that the color of the tea brick is a 'rusty brown' color. If you compare the color with new pu erh bricks and cakes, the newer pu tends to be of a dark brown, almost blackish color. I interpret that this brick had fermented over time. I drank a similar 7581 brick, a 2002 production (6 feb 2010 blog) and there is a clear contrast in the color of the tea leaves. Many tea drinker friends have insisted that ripe pu erh does not ferment as raw pu erh, but look at your older aged raw....it does turn to a 'rusty brown' color as well. Let me know your thoughts. I will be opening a couple older raw pu in my collection and would like to exchange samples with my readers if you are keen.
This brick has that nice old wood aroma. One of my tea friends called this tea 'old mother hubbard'. I enjoy this aroma very much. I had also found a couple of rice grain husks in the brick but the tea was clean. I added more tea leaves than usual to enjoy the enhanced old wood scent. This is an acquired taste; a personal preference for such a ripe tea. I enjoy the sweet aftertaste. A happy drink. A nice acquisition.
My advice to the tea drinker and buyer - when you buy an old tea anywhere in the world, whether raw, ripe, oolong - sample the tea. Its not the tea may be spoilt.....but what I am saying is that there will be aged tea that you will not like or enjoy. Do not buy if you are not able to sample older tea........it may be a waste of money, time and luggage space.