Sunday, January 21, 2018

2004 Sea Dyke Tie Kuan Yin Teabag

Chinese teabags??

Yes...and these are good.  Produced in 2004 by Sea Dyke, these teabags brewed up a very aged and mellow oolong.  This tea as you can see had French descriptions on the box, and it would indicate that these tea may have been primarily produced for the European markets.  

I will usually include a couple of teabags in my tea box whenever I travel.  These teabags act as a 'quickie' when I want to have tea, and hot water is available while I am on the road.  

For this aged teabags, I used 2 teabags and brewed them a 100ml teapot. Teabags work best, in my opinion, with hot boiling water.    Good for 4 infusions, the tea was strong, aromatic and old tasting.  It was interesting that such teabags are able to produce such a pleasant tea session....almost as good as a regular old oolong tea leaf brewing session.  I can only guessed that either Sea Dyke used good tea in the teabags in early 2000s and the tea had aged nicely in my part of the world.  I had tried newly produced  Sea Dyke teabags but the taste was a little bland (in my opinion).  

An unusual find.  I recommend if you do come across older Sea Dyke teabags, to buy them.  They should be inexpensive but good.   

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2008 Taetea Dayi Qiu Xiang Raw Puerh Cake

I am pleasantly surprised with this 2008 Taetea (aka Dayi) raw pu erh cake.  This is the special edition 'Qiu Xiang' (aka autumn aroma) cake.  It was interesting  that this cake came in 500g size.  This is a lot of tea.  This upsized tea cake is unusual in that many tea factories usually now produce a standard 357g cake size or smaller and many newer tea cakes you see in the tea markets now even come in smaller sized 150-200g cakes.  

This tea is strong and I found that using lesser leaves and a slightly longer infusion times gave me a cup of tea that has pleasant complications of both herb and Chinese medicinal aroma and taste.  Even though this tea had been stored in hot and humid Malaysia for almost 10 years,   I felt this tea would also be a candidate for further aging.  I believed the tea would be more mellow if stored few more years.  I can already detect a aged medicinal taste and smoothness in the tea.  It would be a shortcut, in that I had already a 10 year head start in the storage of this tea.  

This tea cake comes packed in 5 cakes a tong.  I will keep an eye for these cakes in my next tea buying trip.  

Monday, January 1, 2018


When I looked at my older pu erh last week, I tried to recall what I was doing during that year the pu erh cake was made.  

The top pix shows a Haiwan raw cake made in 2003.  That was some time ago.  My youngest daughter was still walking in her diapers. The bottom pix show the Xiaguan 'happy tuo'.  Produced in 2008, these tuos were made under the Fei Tai (FT) label which was made primarly for the Taiwanese tea markets.  I recalled at 2008, I started to drink Chinese tea and started buying tea, which included this 2003 Haiwan cake.  I remembered  started buying tea online in 2009 before venturing to Taiwan and China the following year  visiting the tea farms and wholesale tea markets to learn more about tea. 

What were your favourite memories or milestones in 2003 or 2008?  I am sure you can recall the many memorable and happy occasions then.  

Drinking pu erh tea when it is new compared to drinking it when it is 10 years old or more is a totally different experience.  There is a clear difference in mellowness, sweetness and smoothness in the tea.  Storing your tea especially pu erh tea for 10/15 years is quite a challenge.  Humidity and temperature are important factors to consider especially when you are storing pu erh tea.  You need space, cupboards or unused refrigerators as tea storage facilities.  And you need to let time do its work.  When you move house, you literally move your tea storage facility as well.  Storing and waiting 10 years for your tea to age is a long time but many milestones will happen.....You might have changed cars, homes and jobs or see your kids through school while your pu erh tea is aging away.  

I recommend whenever you have a milestone in you life, like graduation, having kids or even buying your new a couple of cakes and label the respective milestones.  Years later....drink that tea while we reminisce, thankfully of these occasions.  I remembered an old Chinese tea drinking friend that buys a tong (7cakes) of tea every  Chinese New Year and gives away 3-4 cakes to his children and keeping the rest for himself.  I found this gesture meaningful.    

As I opened the 2003 Haiwan cake, I recalled vaguely I looked pretty good in my speedo back then.

To my readers, Happy New Year 2018.