Thursday, February 28, 2013

2008 Dayi V93 Ripe 100g tuo

This V93 tea caused a stir when it was introduced by Dayi in 2006.  It had won a tea competition and this tea piqued the interest of ripe tea drinkers.   Today V93 is a part of the stable of Dayi tea, produced yearly and is now found for sale at most Chinese tea shops.  Dayi  uses the term 'teardrop' to describe a tuo shaped tea.

Dayi, in their latest tea catalog (in English) describes the V93 as "This tea is a revival of the 1993 high grade bowl tea blend.  It is moderately fermented, yielding a rich flavor, reddish brown broth and aged aroma.  A high quality ripe teardrop tea, it is the main ripe teardrop tea for Menghai Tea Factory.  This product won the gold medal in the 2006 Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival."

You must remember to break up this tuo (compression is quite light), put it in your tea caddy and allow the tea to 'breathe' for a week before you start brewing.  Somehow, airing the tea enhances the aroma of the tea.  The aroma and taste seem subdued if you had broke the tuo and have a tea session with it immediately.  This V93 brews fast and a quick pour out and a little less tea leaves would be ideal, in my opinion.  

This ripe tea has a strong taste and is ideal for the hardcore ripe pu erh tea drinker.  I had opened a 2008 Haiwan 9988 ripe brick (link) last month and I had to opportunity to compare these 2 teas from the same production year. Personally, the Haiwan brick appealed to me more in terms of taste and finish.  Somehow, I sensed the V93 would require another year or two of storage to be better appreciated. It is possible that the teardrop shape of the tea may take a little more time to age before it is good to drink.

Haiwan and Dayi are presently the major ripe pu erh producers in the pu erh tea industry and the ripe pu produced by them are highly regarded by tea drinkers worldwide.  You may have a different opinion.....please let me know.  Nevertheless, the V93 teardrop tea is an inexpensive tea and is worth a look if you come across it in your Chinese tea shop.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pei Yuen Shui Hsien

This oolong called Pei Yuen Shui Hsien is produced by by the 'Butterfly' brand of Fujian Tea Import &  Export Co Ltd. This 200g tea comes foil packed in a tall metal tin.  You will notice the popular Sea Dyke lao chong shui hsien  125g tea in the background.  I like the tall tin as most of the tea leaves were not crushed during packing and transport.  It is a small chore if you are carrying these tins in your luggage as it does take up considerable space in your suitcase.

I have no idea what the 'Pei Yuan' could refer to a place or the taste of the tea.  Its is very pleasant tea.  Oak wood flavors are present in the tea and I found the overall drinking experience of his tea to be very pleasant and nice. This tea does remind me of those wines stored in oak wine barrels and the wine will incorporate that nice oak aroma.  This tea does not leave a harsh or dry finish in the mouth and the nice fragrant aroma of the tea does linger in the mouth for some time.  Good for 5-6 infusions.  The Sea Dyke lao chong is more robust in terms of taste and aroma, while this Pei Yuan version leaves a nice woody finish in the mouth.  Both are very good in my opinion.  The Pei Yuan is less expensive at US$10 a tin.

I am a little upset with tea drinkers who scoff at tinned oolongs.  I would highly recommend you try some of the oolong offerings by Sea Dyke and Butterfly.  I am confident you will be very surprise at the quality and the 'value of money' of these tea.  I have 'tricked' a seasoned oolong tea drinker with 30g of these tea, and he had remarked that this oolong tea must be expensive.

My 2 cents worth of thoughts - do not equate higher price of tea as being better quality.  Its only true 10% of the time.  Taste the tea for yourself before you buy.  You will be a happier customer.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year (CNY).  But tonight, the eve of the new year, is very important to Chinese around the world.  Every Chinese will try to have a family reunion dinner tonight.  You can read from the newspapers that the transport in China especially the buses and trains are fully booked these past week as workers in the cities return home for the Chinese New Year Celebrations.  If you are traveling to China, be prepared that most shops in China may be closed for the CNY.  I was, however told, that shops in Hong Kong are normally opened by 3rd day of the new year due to the high operating costs.

I think I had bought most of the CNY stuff.  Let me see.....mandarin oranges (symbolize gold, to give to friends and relatives), pussy willow (placed in homes, signify arrival of spring), lots of snacks from sweetmeats, pastries and candies and money filled red packets (symbol of luck, normally given to elders and kids).  

This CNY will be represented by the snake.  It was the dragon last year.  People born in the year of the snake are considered intelligent and wise.  

I hope to visit Yunnan this year to gain a better perspective of pu erh.  I am particularly interested to find out about the new pu erh processing.  I had discovered that in the past 2 years; some pu erh were processed differently.......tasting somewhat like a green tea or light oolong.  There were some drinkers I know labeling such teas as 'oolong pu'.  Its very drinkable for a new pu but many tea drinkers and collectors I know are doubtful whether this 'oolong tea' will ferment into an aged pu erh that is highly appreciated in the world today.  I will probably not get the answers during my trip, but I intend to share my findings with my readers.  

And to all my readers and friends.......Happy New Year.  I wish you good health and happiness.  Live long and prosper.  And drink more tea as well.