This Is a 2011 Haiwan Lao Tong Zhi Ziyun Brick. This a special production made for a Guangzhou tea dealer. Composed of Yiwu and purple pu erh tea lea leaves, this tea is moderately compressed into a 250g brick and packed in a pretty gift box.
This tea is one of my favourites. Break open the brick and place it in a tea caddy for at least 3 weeks before you start brewing this tea. There is a nice bouquet of complicated aroma and flavours in this tea. For a 7 year old tea, this tea is very smooth and mellow. Initial infusions open with a strong bitter and woody taste and aroma. Middle infusions open into a floral, dried and fresh fruit aroma. Faint imaginary hint of salt. Later infusions becoming sweet, fruity and herbal. The taste is complicated varying with every infusion. I get woody notes, fresh and dried fruit, berries and even a hint of saltiness. There is no salt in the tea but the aroma seems to carry a 'remembrance of salt'. It is a nice play of flavours in the mouth. Good for 10 infusions.
But I digress. A reader emailed me asking me about buying older pu erh tea in Guangzhou wholesale tea markets. Basically, these tea wholesalers (those I know and are my friends) would try to sell off their yearly new tea to their own customers like tea shop retailers, collectors and tea drinkers all over China. Say 2018 tea - most tea are sold and those unsold are kept in the warehouse which are eventually sold within 2-3 years. Most of these wholesalers I know do not hoard the tea for a higher price. This meant that any older tea are actually unsold tea and to a certain extent..... that no one wants that tea. Many do not have the spare cash or capital to risk such a venture. There may be that odd carton that remain unsold but such tea are usually quickly sold if such boxes are discovered in the warehouses. Buying of older tea is possible as these dealers might know which of their customers are holding the tea and may help the buyer obtain the older tea for the right price. I do not recommend that you buy old tea in the wholesale markets......unless you know the tea dealers and you are very familiar with the tea and prices of that tea.