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.  

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