Saturday, October 26, 2013

Xiaguan Yearbook 2009-2010

Most people will associate the term 'yearbook' with the times spent in school, college and university.  I am sure with your school yearbook, you can recollect your fonder memories of your exuberant youth.  Were you watching Star Wars or Aliens movies?  Maybe you were dancing to Black Eyed Peas or Village People (yes!, there was such a group).  On the television, were you following X-files or the Six Million Dollar Man? (yes again, this was a famous TV series some time ago).

This Xiaguan yearbook 2009-2010 is a record of all the Xiaguan puerh tea produced in 2009-2010.  Beautiful photographs of the pu erh tea and their respective packaging are properly listed.  You will also read a little history of Xiaguan factory.  Its a fascinating book especially if you drink, collect or invest in pu erh. Click pix for larger views. 

Xiaguan tea factory is one of the major puerh tea producers and this yearbook is a testimony of the range of puerh made and sold by Xiaguan in 2009, from tuos, bricks, cakes and even mushroom shaped tuos.  There are many puerh tea drinkers that are fans of Xiaguan tea - I am one of them.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Yunnan Tuocha Teabag

Tuocha in a teabag?  That was the question in my mind when I saw this box.  I really had a 2nd and 3rd look.  It was inexpensive and I bought it.

This tuocha teabag seem to suggest it was a Xiaguan production.  The colorful green design seem to originate from the famous tuocha round box that housed a ripe tuocha wrapped in a Xiaguan brown paper wrapper.  However, a closer look at this teabag box did not reveal the name of the tea company, just "China Yunnan Tea Branch".  I suspect that this might not be a Xiaguan production.  I might be wrong.

Click on the 2nd pix for a bigger view and do enjoy the 'lost in translation' humor where this black tea becomes a dark red tea after brewing.  And yes, "Minimum recommended quantity : 4 cups a day".

I think I might buy another box to try the tea.  I will keep an unopened one for keepsake.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spiderman Drinks Oolong

Really.  This scene appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man issue #296 which was published (Marvel Entertainment) in January 1988.  

Yes, Peter Parker liked his oolong strong. In a teabag.  Nuff said.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2008 Lao Tong Zhi High Mountain Ripe Cake

I opened a 2008 Haiwan 'high mountain' ripe pu erh cake.  The tea leaves as indicated by the enclosed information sheet, were harvested from tea grown in higher elevations of 1700 feet.  

The phrase 'high mountain tea' brought back some memories of my earliest tea adventures to Alishan Taiwan to explore the Taiwan high mountain oolong (see my 1st 3 blogs).  My recollections were these regions were less densely populated with agriculture being the main activity.  I hope to visit Yunnan next year and hope to get a better understanding of pu erh tea grown in Yunnan.

Haiwan tea factory produces pu erh tea under its 'Lao Tong Zhi' brand.  I was particularly interested in this cake as in 2009, I had bought a premium range of Lao Tong Zhi ripe pu erh that had used tea from 'high mountains' as well.  I opened this cake as I wanted a sneak preview (something like that) of the 2009 cakes I had brought back home 4 years ago.  I will start drinking these 2009 cakes next year.

I do feel a bit sad that my older collection of ripe tea pre 2006 is getting less.  I had drank most of them.  I now understand why collectors are reluctant to cash in their old pu erh cakes and rather keep and drink for themselves.

Back to this 357g cake.  You would have noticed from the above pix that there are brown patches on the wrapper and inner labels in the cake.  No worries.  These are tea stains (I was told tea oil) that may naturally occur during storage.  The tea is not spoilt or affected in any way. The compression of this cake needed me to use a metal letter opener to pry open this cake.  With a little patience, I broke the cake up into smaller pieces within 10-15 min.

The aroma and taste of this tea cake ....I am quite happy. Simple, earthy with a mildly sweet aftertaste.  Nothing extraordinary but a pleasant tea session.  I finished half the cake within a fortnight.