I gave myself a treat during the Chinese New Year weekend by opening a 2004 'Double Lion' cake. This cake was produced by Qiu Xiang teashop, a Malaysian tea company and used the 'double lion' label on the wrapper. You can just figure out the 2 prancing lions on the wrapper in the third pix. I had remembered that this lion label were also seen on old vintage cakes and I was told the cake recipe follows the old cake tea production.
Information on the neifei, or enclosed label of this cake told me that this 357g cake used wild pu erh tea leaves found in the Bulang region of Yunnan province. I had bought this cake in 2011 during one of my visits to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I sampled the tea and like it. There was also the 'Malaysia' print on the wrapper that made me buy this cake.
This tea brews very strong. There is some bitterness, camphor, herbal and medicinal taste and aroma in the tea. I got a light pleasant buzz from the 3rd infusion and a little tea drunk with the next few cups. A nice tea....must remind myself to use less leaves for subsequent brews (I had used about 7g for a 130ml teapot).
But I digress. I was told and I believed it myself that to look for new pu erh tea to store away and age, that new tea should be aromatic and taste strong. The logic being if the new tea is mild in taste and aroma, it would be unlikely that aging the new tea would result in a stronger taste and aroma. So choosing a new tea strong in taste and aroma might be a 'better chance' that the tea would aged better after a 7-10 years of storage. Happy to say that its 'so far so good' on my teas being aged in Singapore. Do you agree with me? Do share your thoughts. Thank you.
I have the same impression from reading and drinking raw pu ers. But a tea vendor once told me that for good raw pu er material, you can drink it almost 1 year after resting the tea. It is not the strength(read bitterness or strong flavors) but rather the fragrance and how it coats your mouth and how the tea lingers in the nose. There is a believed that the tea does not changes in those aspect in aging but the tea get a medicinal flavor with age. A similar but not totally the same effect is felt in tea like liu bao and yan cha when they age.
I am not an expert but this second point of view might warrant some looking into if you can get your hand on aged and non-aged tea of good quality.
Thank you for your comments. I have been tasting and sampling Xiaguan tea of different age (2,4,6,8 10 or more years) and different storage of different countries to arrive at this conclusion. Apologize my definition of strength and aroma of tea is too broad, but what I try to explain is if a new tea is weak (like aroma, bitterness, aftertaste)... it is unlikely it will be stronger in these aspects after storing. I would like to have tea with you if you are agreeable... we can compare notes n get intoxicated with tea. Thank you
While strength (oomph), bitterness, etc... may give you a general idea what to look for in better suited candidates for aging I have some cakes in my stash that went through rather weak phases in their development and regained their strength at some point later down the road. I probably wouldn't have bought them if I had only gotten samples from their hibernation phase (for lack of a better term). While it's still not that easy to figure out good candidates for aging there are two things I haven't seen discussed that much - minerality and stamina/durability - I personally don't care too much about teas from overplucked bushes or trees or such that run out of juice after a few rounds. Since these qualities don't change over the years and can be figured out easily right after the tea has been processed or at any point down the road - there's no need to wait for xy years.
Thank you Ken for your thoughts. It is really difficult to predict how our puerh will be like after storing them for 10-15 years. That would also imply the storage conditions would be another important consideration for the tea to age. Not discounting our limited budget and space for storing the tea, aging pu erh tea is really challenging and as you correctly pointed out 'not that easy to figure out good candidates for aging'. Seems you got some nice tea.....I will invite myself to your place once day. Thanks again
Where can I buy this tea? Do you sell them?
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