Tuesday, October 6, 2015
2005 Lau Yu Fat Red Mark Pu erh
Old man Lau of Hong Kong Lau Yu Fat teashop introduced me to a 2005 red mark pu erh cake for sale at his shop. This is a 'Zhong Cha' brand cake produced in 2005.
Mr Lau explained that this cake had been stored in Hong Kong (HK) for 10 years. The unique selling point is that this tea was 'Hong Kong' stored for the 1st 4 years and later dry stored for its subsequent 6 years.
Let me explain. 'Hong Kong' storage refers to pu erh tea being stored in warehouses or stores where the humidity of the storage area are naturally higher than the natural weather of Hong Kong. Old warehouses are normally located near harbors (for easy import and export). Older warehouses or shophouses may have basements as well for more storage of goods. These warehouses and basements are normally more humid and pu erh stored in such places will age but with a humid or damp characteristic where a tea drinker can easily detect from the aroma of the tea. The result is that, in my own opinion, is that the pu erh tea will develop a unique taste, that somewhat taste older for its age. I would like to warn my tea readers, if you had not tried such tea, that this HK stored pu may be an acquired taste - you may like or dislike it.
When I brewed a session of this Zhongcha pu erh, there was an added dimension of HK storage aroma and taste. The tea does taste more aged than a normal dry stored 10 year old cake. This is an interesting cake.
If you like pu erh, you should try to have some HK storage tea in your pu erh collection. It will serve as an important reference point for pu erh stored under unique storage conditions. It is interesting to note that many pu erh tea drinkers classify HK storage as traditionally stored. Many old cakes made in the 1960s through 90s enter Hong Kong for the domestic market or were later re-exported again to other countries for consumption. It would be no surprise if some of these cakes had some 'traditional storage' characteristics in the tea.
Let me see whether I can get more HK storage cakes to share with my readers.