Sunday, November 25, 2012
2005 Haiwan 'Nong-Xiang' Raw 357g
I was at the Amoy tea shop (one of my fav local chinese tea shop) when the owner Mr Tan, told me that they found a couple of tongs of this 2005 Haiwan raw pu erh in their warehouse and had thought they had previously sold out this tea. Since I am a fan of Haiwan pu erh especially their ripe/shu range of tea, I decided to buy 2 of the raw cakes.
The chinese characters on this cake were in traditional Chinese while later versions of these cakes were simplified Chinese. I also noticed that the inner labels did mentioned the year of manufacture as well. This pu erh cake seem to smell like a little woody with a hint of dried herbs scent. I was intrigued as I had opened a 2003 Haiwan raw a couple of months ago (see 22 Sept 2012 blog) and that cake was a nice fruity scent when brewed. The differences between these two Haiwan raw cakes are quite pronounced. This 2005 cake has a musky and woody edge to the tea and does have hints of aging. The 2003 haiwan cake I had, was more fruity with a 'fresh floral bouquet' aroma. Haiwan tea factory is very famous for their ripe or shu pu erh. Its distinct Haiwan ripe aroma had gained many followers, including myself. The raw pu erh produced by Haiwan, in my opinion do offer, value more money as their new raw tea are usually of a lower price when you compare to newer Dayi brands of pu erh tea.
This 2005 cake does brew to a nice amber color with a slight aged taste when infused. I tend to add a little more leaves in my brew as I enjoy a stronger tea. I did noticed a mild bitterness and my mouth/throat did felt a little dry after a tea session of this tea; which should dissipate with a couple more years of storage.
This tea is quite inexpensive and should be easily available at your regular Chinese tea supplier. Yunnan Sourcing sells the 2006 version for $24, a price that is comparable to some new 2012 pu erh tea that are being sold in the tea markets today. ......if you are shelling out $24 to buy a new pu erh cake, you should consider getting a 6 yr old very drinkable tea at this price.
Yes, I did noticed that the prices of tea are inching up quite quickly. The cost of living in China and the affluence of the Chinese citizens do contribute to the much higher prices of tea being sold today. It is my opinion the higher prices are here to stay and may even face upward economic pressures in prices over next few years.