Sunday, March 17, 2013

2007 Fu Hai Yiwu Ripe - A Revisit

It was about 3 years ago that I opened a cake of this 2007 Fu Hai ripe pu erh cake (see 2010 blog).  Re-reading my post, I found that I had very good impressions of this cake.  Well, I have opened another of this 2007 cake to see whether my current impressions are similar.

This 2007 Fu Hai ripe puerh cake, according to the wrapper, was made with Yiwu pu erh leaves.  Yiwu is a traditional, and remains one of the pu erh producing area in Yunnan.  You will noticed that the surface of this cakes are made from relatively large tea leaves.  A reader in my 2010 entry of this tea, noticed that the centre of the cake were made with broken and tiny tea bits of tea.  I had explained that every production will have complete as well as broken tea leaves and the 'tea packer' will usually pack the broken tea leaves inside the cake while packing the whole tea leaves on the outside of a tea cake.  Isn't this cheating? Are tea drinkers shortchanged?  My opinion is that in every tea harvest and processing, its inevitable that some leaves will be broken during processing. most of it unintentionally of course.  I would guess up to 20% of the leaves may be broken or crushed during processing.  And packing the tea leaves in such a way to 'conceal' the broken tea leaves does require some skill.  I would like to think, at this point, that the quality of the tea is more important than broken tea leaves.......meaning if you like the tea, then it is a good tea.

I do find that this Fu Hai cake to be a good tea.  The aroma is complex, in that it has a broader range in the aroma - its like pleasant chinese herbs that are used for boiling traditional soups. This tea exudes a comforting and warming scent and sensation when I sip this tea, accompanied with a subtly sweet finish.

But I digress - I have recently read in the tea forums, that some pu erh tea drinkers are contemplating sealing their pu erh in plastic bags as a way of storing the tea and had suggested that the tea will turned out, with time, into a very nice aged pu erh.  I would advise against this form of storage.   Let me share my thoughts on this :
- In Feb 2010, I recorded a blog entry about a 2004 Dayi 7542, that I had purchased locally.  This tea cake was interesting in that this cake was wrapped with very thick cellophane plastic.  I suspected that this wrapping was to preserve the integrity of the cake and prevent shoppers from opening the cake as the wrapper or even the tea may be damaged before the cake was sold.  The problem was that I found that this tea cake did not age well at all.  It tasted like a new cake.  My guess is that the tight cellophane wrapping prevented the tea from 'aging'.
- You would have read from my blog that I have travelled quite a number of times to Yunnan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Malaysia in the past few years.  I had the privilege to make friends with many tea shop owners, tea drinkers and serious tea collectors.  I had the opportunity to taste some of their tea collection as well.  Some of these teas are very old and kept by these collectors for many years.  I can say that the teas kept by them are not stored in any special or secret way.  The tea are just stored in rooms or in shelves in their house.  Most the the tea cakes, I observed, were stored in their original tong wrappers, and are only taken down to drink (or very rarely, to be sold).
What I am saying is have one chance of aging pu erh tea.  Do it right.  I shudder to think of the disappointment with the results of the tea you have stored in your plastic bags after 10-15 years.

Back to this Fu Hai tea cake.  If you are a ripe pu erh tea drinker, do consider a purchase when you come across it.  Should not be expensive.  Recommended.

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