Remember this Ba Jiao Ting I had blogged in Nov last year (link). I had noticed that there was significant tea staining on the tea wrapper. I examined the wrapper and found that these tea stains were dry. The surface of the tea cake was normal. There was nothing extraordinary that I observed about appearance of the the tea cake.
I had initially thought that these tea stains was due to water damage. This might be due to the production process, that the cakes were not fully dried out and wrapped causing the stains. I had also thought that storage of the tea could be another factor, that the storage facility was damp. Checking with my supplier of this Ba Jiao Ting, it seems that this was the only tea that had these tea stains.
I was in Guangzhou last March, and I asked out this 'tea stain on wrapper' with my tea dealer friends. A Chen Zhen Hao (famous for Banzhang) told me that there were many teas, across many brands, that has this 'tea stain on wrapper' phenomena for 2010 batches. Even the zodiac series of the Chen Zhen Hao had this tea stain issue. This tea dealer told me that it was possible there was a change in weather just prior to the pu erh tea harvest. It could have been very cold or hot, causing the pu erh tree to retain more 'tea oil' in the leaves. The stains on the tea wrapper were actually tea oil and will not affect the pu erh tea in any way, except for the slight ugly appearance on the wrapper. A retired tea production manger in a tea drinking group in Guangzhou told me that some old pu erh tea, that had this phenomena..... the wrappers are now full with holes. He said there was nothing wrong with the tea. He also reminded that this was not an issue and reminded to sample any tea before I make a purchase regardless of the wrapper condition.
I like this tea. The medicinal herbs taste is very pronounced. Quite addictive. Did the tea stains affected the tea in any way? I do not know. This was a tea cake that I finished in 2 months and I am already on my second cake.