Monday, August 29, 2016
2005 Haiwan Fang Zhuan Brick
I opened a 2005 Haiwan raw pu erh brick last weekend. This fang zhuan (aka square brick) is a very well compressed 200g brick. I managed, with a pu erh pick, to split the cake sideways into 2 slices before breaking the cake further into smaller pieces and storing the tea in a tea caddy.
I had purchased 2 cakes 6 years ago and had always wanted to try brewing this tea but procrastinated till last weekend. I had previously thought that if the cake showed promise, I would buy more of this tea (inexpensive back then). But….opening this cake 6 years later meant that any repeat purchases (if the cake was good) would mean a more expensive refill and maybe some serious hunting for this tea as it is already an 11 year old tea.
But I digress…talking about highly compressed pu erh….. opening compressed tea cakes especially iron cakes can be hazardous (you may accidentally poke yourself with a tea pick) and there would be lots of tea wasted as a fair amount of tea dust may be generated after breaking open such tea cakes A Xiaguan manager In Hong Kong 2 weeks back, showed me a method when he opened an iron cake. He used a plier (yes you read right). He gripped the side of a cake with a plier, and then lift up the plier, like opening the cap of a soda or beer bottle, and the result is a nice chunk of tea. This, to me is a useful tip. I believe, a larger plier can be used for opening tuos as well. Time to include a plier in your tea tool bag!
Back to this tea. This tea reminded me of pinewood furniture and nice notes of fresh hay and herbs. The sweetness is extremely faint in the aftertaste and I do feel a bit sweaty after the 4th infusion. This tea brews well making 10 good strong infusions. My Haiwan distributor friend just messaged me telling me he does not have this tea. This is a simple raw but old pu erh tea. Nice. I got to drink this tea sparingly.