I bought some raw pu erh tea while I was browsing the Kunming tea markets a couple of months ago. This is the 2013 Xiaguan Fang Cha. This 100g square brick is very tightly compressed like their traditional iron cakes. You will observe the pointed spikes on the brick that was from the molding process when the tea was being compressed. One thing I learnt about Xiaguan compresed tea - put your palm on the brick, press your palm on the pointy side of the brick...its quite sharp.....if its blunt....may be a fake (I will verify this).
The description on the box says the tea used in producing this brick is made from 3 to 7 year old raw tea. Well, it was to me, the main selling point and I was sold by it. I had already noticed that new ripe pu erh being produced by major tea factories are already incorporating slightly old ripes into the new tea making drinking these tea very pleasant.
Back to this Xiaguan brick. Smoky - checked, some aged taste - checked. Aroma is very nice and I enjoyed the tea session. Given the choice of whether I prefer this tea or the new style 'green tea taste' pu erh.....I would rather settle for this inexpensive Xiaguan brick anytime.