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.
I have many a tea with stains on the wrapper, from all years. I take this as a good sign of sufficient humidity or better during storage and juicy tea. You can guess the position of the beeng in the tong if you get top stains only (bottom cake), or bottom stains only (top cake), both top and bottom will be from the middle of the tong. Holes are often bug bites, again a sign I view very positively of age, and of heat and humidity in storage.
Thanks for sharing our little Tea story here.
Drop by for tea if u happen to be in Cow Car Water again
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