Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year 2023

Happy New Year to all my readers and friends. 

An important announcement. I will be travelling a fair bit next year and I will be suspending my online store sales for about 6 months from mid January 2023.  More updates on my trips to follow.  I will be posting less tea stuff during my travels and I hope to update my store; more tea, better pictures and hopefully better prices.  More info in later posts.  

Happy New Year 2023.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Back To The Future or Forward To The Past


We are coming to the end of the year.  Here are my year end thoughts and findings for Chinese tea for this year. 

1.  The Chinese lockdown to curb the covid pandemic was a mixed result for Chinese tea. Tea drinkers, old and new, were buying tea and tea ware during the lockdown. Online sales, as expected were higher during this period. My Chinese tea dealer friends took this opportunity to sell tea at a retail level selling tea to families and tea drinkers.  Sales were good but dried up immediately when the lockdown was lifted. At the same time, my tea dealer friends had also observed that major tea factories had reduced the tea for sale. Production batches of Chinese tea were also reduced.  Selling prices for such new tea had also gone up by more than 10%. 

2.  The profile of Chinese tea buyers in China - There are less younger tea drinkers. The younger generation prefer to drink coffee at fancy establishment like Starbucks or prefer to drink bubble tea instead. My tea dealer friends noticed less people were willing buy tea for investments now. Present economic conditions are not conducive for tea investment even in Malaysia and Hong Kong.  My 3 visits to tea shops in Malaysia these past few months indicated that tea business there was 'quiet'.  

Chinese tea drinkers drink their tea 'neat'. We do not add pumpkin spice creme or cinnamon powder to our tea. There is no Chinese tea outlet where we can bring our laptop to sit by a window and do our work.  At home, Chinese tea drinkers do not have fancy machines to brew tea. No capsules or drip tea. Only a gaiwan or a teapot. Many people still associate drinking Chinese tea only at Chinese eateries or brewing Chinese tea bags at home. 

Serious Chinese tea drinkers should not be hermit tea drinkers at home. Invite friends and relatives over for a cup of tea. Let them enjoy the fragrance and taste of a good cup of Chinese tea. That is one sure way to increase the Chinese tea drinking community. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

2007 Xiaguan Iron Cake 8633


Xiaguan tea factory is famous for their pu erh iron cakes and tuos. Many tea drinkers including myself enjoy Xiaguan puerh that has a smoky aroma in the tea.  It is sad that many of their new offerings now do not have the smoky profile. 

The Xiaguan iron cake. 

There is no metal in the Xiaguan iron cake. The metal name refers to the high compression of the pu erh tea.  The compression is really hard. You simply cannot break up the cake with your bare hands.  Many use a letter opener or knife or an ice pick to break up the tea cake. I use an ordinary plier to break up the cake. You would have noticed a Xiaguan iron looked unique; smooth on one side with tiny sharp stumps on the other side of the cake.  The machines used to pressed the cakes, I was told, were a Russian invention (maybe its an unfounded rumour but its adds to the mystic of an iron cake).  Based on my experience, Xiaguan iron cakes taste best after you had broken up a cake and let it rest for a couple weeks before you start brewing this tea. 

How do you brew pu erh iron cake? and high compressed pu erh cakes?  You have broken up your iron cake to small chunks, but based on my experience, 1.5 to 2g chunks of tea may still be 'too big' for tea brewing. I use boiling water for my tea infusions but I did noticed that those bigger chunks tend to remain as a chunk after a few infusions. This is due to the very high compression of the iron cake; that the tea chunks did not open up after a few infusions. I have a couple of suggestions that will resolve this issue.  You can use a thin wooden food skewer to pry open the chunks in between infusions. You can also break the chunks into  even smaller pieces prior to starting your tea session. This will ensure you get to better enjoy the iron xiaguan tea.   

There are a few variants of the iron cake.  The popular 8653 and the less popular 8613 and 8633.  These numbers are just recipe names of the tea. Even though the 3rd digit represented the tea leaf grade, many Xiaguan tea drinkers believed that the recipe numbers reflected more on the different tea blends of the cake, referring more to the mix of pu erh tea from different pu erh tea producing regions. 

This 8633 iron cake is not smoky. If you like Chinese herbal soups, this tea is right up your alley. This tea has a nice herbal profile; like those Chinese herbs used for a soup. I found the tea nice when sipping it hot. A nice tea for a quiet evening. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

De Hong Pu erh Tea - A Smoky Treat


I had blogged about this tea last year.  I had wanted to drink a smoky pu erh and this cake was the 1st smoky thing I saw among my tea stash. 

I like this tea. This is a 100g De Hong factory mini iron cake. Undated with my guess that it was made around 2008. Initial infusions remind me of a peaty scotch whisky.  If you enjoy drinking peaty scotch whisky, say Talisker 10, this tea is right up your alley. The aroma is almost like this whisky. This tea is to me the non alcoholic version. The smoke does linger in the mouth after every sip. Later infusions of this tea has a hints of camphor. This tea is not suitable for everyone. You must like smoky stuff to enjoy this drink. 

But I digress.  There is another smoky tea called Lapsang SouChong.  It is a black tea that has a strong smoke profile when you brew this tea. I had read that the tea was 'smoked' by burning pine wood and letting the smoke infused into the tea.  This is something similar to peated whisky where peat is used as fuel to dry the barley for whisky making. The peat smoke was infused with the barley and alcohol distilled from the barley in the production phase continue to have this peaty profile in the aroma. 

Smoky pu erh was common about 15-20 years ago as the tea farmers may not have easy access to electricity. Today, tea leaves are pan dried by electrical pans and ovens. Many tea farmers do not even sun dry the tea leaves instead opting for the more reliable ovens to dry the tea leaves. These modern innovation makes work easier for the tea farmer.  New pu erh now are mainly oven dried.   I am lucky I have some old smoky tea to drink. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Gaiwan - Too Hot to Handle

The gaiwan. 

It was primarily used to serve tea to guests.  The cover is used to prevent any dirt or dust from landing on the tea. The cover would had helped to keep the tea warm (to an extent).  

The gaiwan can be used to brew tea. 

No teapot needed. A simple set up of a gaiwan and a couple of teacups are you need to have a great tea session.  Place tea leaves in the gaiwan and add hot water.  Hold the gaiwan in one hand, tilt the cover a little bit and pour out the tea into the teacups. You only tilt the cover only enough to pour out the tea while keeping the tea leaves in the gaiwan.  

You would need to practice to get your 'brewing with a gaiwan right'.  Here are some tips

- filling the gaiwan with hot water to only about 3/4 of the gaiwan. This would not make the gaiwan too hot to handle.  

- after filling the gaiwan with water, do not keep keep opening the cover to look at the infusion. The tea would lose heat in a hurry and the tea might not be optimally brewed under such 'cooler' conditions. 

Still too hot to handle.  Yes, brewing with a gaiwan can caused small accidents. A small slip or unbalance can make the cover to slip off and cause a 'breakage'.  Your fingers may be accidentally be scalded while you are pouring out the tea. 

There are gaiwan-like variations that you may consider adding to your collection. 

A Japanese Shibo is a gaiwan except there are grooves on a section of the cup that makes the pouring out of tea without tilting the cover. This balancing act of holding the cover and cup while pouring out the tea, would be easier in my opinion. 

Then we have the flared out gaiwan with a spout. This would keep the fingers 'cooler' and the spout, which has a built in filter would keep tea leaves inside the gaiwan when the tea is dispensed. 

Still to hot to handle. Use this one in the last pix. Comes with handle and built in spout. That would resolve any heat or accidental spillage issue. 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Duck Poop Tea

Ya Shi Xiang, aka duck poop tea and aka Duck shit fragrance is a name given to a dan chong tea growing region in the Guangdong province. Call it a lucky stroke of genius or a moment of inspiration, this yucky sounding name did wonders for the tea growing farmers there. Chinese tea shops that has exposure to foreign tourists will have brisk sales of this tea.  This tea makes for an unusual souvenir to bring back home. Local Chinese tea drinkers are also buyers of this tea as its name does pique the interest of many tea drinkers. 

This tea is very aromatic. The tea leaves exude a nice fruity and perfumed fragrance even before brewing up the tea.  Very good mouthfeel. I enjoyed the nice long aftertaste. The roast levels I would consider as just 'made it to the high roast level'. There is a slight nuttiness and beans in the taste at the later infusions. This tea is good for half a dozen infusions. 

I enjoyed this dan chong oolong. The name 'duck poop tea' made this drink even more intriguing.   

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Late 90s Langhe Ripe pu erh


Gather round and admire this old 97 loose Langhe ripe pu erh. 

You will realise there is nothing extraordinary by just looking at the tea leaves. You have to simply brew the tea leaves to appreciate the taste and aroma of an old pu erh.  Such tea would not appeal to some pu erh collectors where the tea is treated as a stamp or butterfly collection. There is no fancy wrapper, brand or vintage on the tea. It is difficult to show off this tea.  I had to use a couple of larger containers to store this pu erh as well. 

Back to this tea. This 25 year old ripe pu erh has a earthly and mellow flavours. The scent reminded me of an old used book store with antique wood flooring and cupboards. Smooth and mellow made this tea as a perfect non alcoholic after dinner drink. I even enjoyed drinking late infusions (10th -15th infusions) where the tea continue to exhibit a light woody herbal sweetness. Old Langhe ripe puerh are well known among ripe puerh tea drinkers in that Langhe factory employed longer fermentation times for ripe pu erh processing. I was told such older cakes was allowed to ferment more than 45 days to as much as 60 days under ripe pu erh processing when the tea was made.   

Such old loose ripe tea are to me inexpensive when compared to similar old pu erh cakes (raw or ripe). The only set back is that you may need a bigger container and storage space when you buy this tea in a larger quantity. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

2011 Xiaguan Gold Impression Cake


There was a time around 2010-2012 where there were cakes that used older maocha in making the cake.  Many major tea factories got on the bandwagon and offered pu erh tea that had a few years of age in the tea. This meant that these factories had pu erh tea leaves sitting in their warehouses for a few years and are now pressing these older stock into cakes or bricks and made them for sale.  This would appeal to some buyers as this tea would not be considered as 'new' tea and is more ready to drink. 

This 2011 Xiaguan cake used 6 year old pu erh material in the production of this tea. 

I opened this cake earlier last month and had a number of tea sessions with this cake.  There is some age in the cake with good aroma and taste. There is an old-ish taste something like a few pu erh cakes that I had bought in Hong Kong.  Those Hong Kong cakes had initially had been stored in a more humid condition and the cakes were subsequently dry stored. I do enjoy drinking such puerh as it gave an impression of very old pu erh tea. 

Back to this cake. The famous Hong Kong tea expert called Cloud has a blog (mainly in Chinese)....there were comments suggesting (translated from Chinese), that this 'tea had been quickly fermented  (whether accidental of artificially) which will affect the subsequent aging endurance of the tea'   (  This is different from my thinking as I had assumed that the tea was stored in much more humid climate (I believe at the maocha stage), that the tea has this unique taste.      

I can guessed some pu erh tea drinkers would like while some drinkers would not like this tea. 

An interesting cake. I recommend you try this tea yourself if you can get your hands on a cake.  

Monday, August 15, 2022

Golden Key Oolong

This is Golden Key oolong.  Oolong produced in Fujian, Xiamen have names given by a tea village or town.  Such names are meant to give a uniqueness to their oolong produced there. You would know the popular oolong names like Shui Hsien, Tie Kuan Yin and Rougui. Other lesser known oolong names include thousand mile fragrance, Fo Shou (buddha palm) and half waist squat (I kid you not).

This Golden Key oolong (2018 production) I had purchased is from the famous Sea Dyke factory. Sea Dyke labelled this tea as Golden Key rock tea that suggested that this tea may had been harvested from the Wuyi mountain region. Packed and sold in a metal tin, the 100g of tea leaves are long and vibrant. 

When I brewed a session of this tea, initial aroma is very fragrant and perfumed like. Very pleasant. The roast is high and the aftertaste is pretty long lasting.  Good for 6 infusions before weakening.  This tea is less robust than Sea Dyke Lao Chong Shui Hsien (yellow tin).  

An inexpensive tea.  I would recommend you get a tin. 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Afternoon Tea At Fort Sanctuary


I had afternoon tea at Tea Sanctuary.   Tea Sanctuary is a tea shop in Singapore located in an upmarket mall at Esplanade (where indoor concerts are held).   Esplanade is our equivalent of Sydney Opera House, except that our building closely resembled a local thorny fruit called the durian. 

Tea Sanctuary only sells Wuyi oolong tea. There is no pu erh, no liu bao and no white tea. Only Wuyi rock tea.  Oolong grown in the mountainous region of Wuyi mountains are called rock tea due the terrain of the mountain there.  Tea Sanctuary labelled their tea as numbers instead of specific oolong names, like Shui Hsien or Rougui.  A 3 digit number is assigned to a tea. 

My wife and I visited the shop yesterday afternoon and had a session of one of their tea namely 528. One of the directors who was manning the shop, Miss Lau Hui Zin, did the brewing the tea for us. She poured out 8g of 528 into a gaiwan and proceeded to brew the tea for us. She had quick hands in brewing the tea.  She used a fairness cup (gong dao bei) pouring 2 infusions in the fairness cup before serving the tea to us. This meant a round of tea would comprised of 2 infusions.  She explained the shop used only distilled water, porcelain gaiwan and cups so as the tea presented was simple and a customer can replicate this brewing method easily at home as well. Happy to say she used close-to boiling water as well. Before I forget, we were served a cup of chilled oolong before the actual tea to 'clean our palate'.  Miss Lau was very meticulous in her service, brewing up the next infusion only after we had only finished our cup of tea. 

The tea 528 was described by the shop as 'This fragrant tea expresses the prestigious terroir of Wuyishan with a powerful demonstration of intensity, rich and deep flavours, luxuriously smooth and soft, seemingly everlasting and deliciously rich aftertaste, mouth watering and sweet'.  Miss Lau continued to explained to me that the company brought in the Wuyi tea from China and final roastings of the tea are done in Singapore before the tea is ready for sale. One interesting fact was that the company is continuously tweaking their tea (in terms of roasting and resting) so that when you do a repeat purchase of a tea say the 528,  the tea may be slightly different as the company is trying to improve the tea itself. 

How did I find the tea? The early infusions of the tea was very good. This high roasted tea was aromatic. Quite a long pleasant aftertaste. The taste was robust with good minerals in the tea. I felt the tea did weakened after the 6th infusion. There was a slight sourness (later infusions) in the tea and it was more evident when the tea was cooler. This 528 tea was not the shop's top shelf tea and there were more expensive tea in their offerings.  The 528 tea is being sold in an box of 6 packets, 8g per pack, for $63 per box.   Miss Lau told me the shop will be offering some aged oolong nearer the end of the year.  I will be looking forward to have a session of that aged tea. 

Having a tea session (12 infusions) cost me $31 (US$22). This tea session was more suited for 2 people so I recommend you bring a friend with you when you have your tea there.  


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

2006 Langhe 8539 Raw Pu erh


This 2006 Langhe raw pu erh cake has been stored in Singapore for almost 16 years.   

I had a tea session of this tea last weekend. There was strong Chinese herbal soup flavours in the tea. It was like having a bowl of Chinese herbal chicken soup. Lots of Chinese herb taste and aroma with every sip. I thought I tasted some ginseng as well. There was also a strong woody profile in the tea. The wood is like aromatic wood that gave the sensation of a smoky flavour. The oaky finish resembled old Scottish whisky where the oak barrels had 'infused' the drink with a wood scent. Somehow this 'marriage' of wood and herbs worked very nicely in this tea. With a mouth watering aftertaste, this tea made for a nice tea session. 

When brewing pu erh tea, the flavours of the tea would be more vibrant if one use boiling water for every infusion. I had been to a few tea shops and even watch some tea reviews online where hot water was used to brew tea (that the heat was off for more than 1-2 minutes). There is a clear difference in taste and aroma when 'cooler' water was used. Don't waste your tea. Use boiling water for every infusion.   

Monday, July 11, 2022

Kamjove Art Tea Cup - Stainless Steel Version


I had bought another Kamjove tea infuser kit.  The last one was bought many years ago and I remembered it was a fun experience using it. 

This is the stainless steel version. Model no - TO650. 650ml capacity. The plastic tea infuser is twisted onto the steel mug. Everthing else work the same way. Drop some tea leaves into the infuser and add hot water.  Wait.  Press the top button to release the valve and the tea flows down into the bottom of the steel mug. Pour out to enjoy the tea and you are ready for your 2nd infusion. 

Compared to using a gaiwan or teapot, cleaning out the tea leaves after a tea session takes a bit more water and time to clean out the tea infuser.  I had comments from readers the last time, that the built in filter will stain over time. A reader buddy told me a simple solution is to soak the infuser in a bowl of water and throw in a denture cleaning tablet into the bowl overnight.....and the stains would be removed. It is a safe method though it sounded a bit yucky.  

Overall, this Kamjove tea infuser kit is still fun to use,  If you are a serious pu erh and oolong tea drinker, you will be surprised and pleased with the infused tea made by Kamjove tea infusers. It also make a nice conversation piece when you use it in a tea session with your friends. 

I had purchased with the intention of bringing this tea infuser for long overseas trip next year.  I am still of 2 minds and I may take a teapot with me instead. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Some feedback on pu erh tea storage


I received a feedback on my tea storage. 

He is coincidentally a fellow local.   He claimed and believed that my tea storage is considered wet storage. Singapore has a climate which is hot and humid throughout a year.  As I did not take special steps to reduce the exposure of my tea to this hot and humid climate, my tea is not 'dry stored'.  This reader stored his tea this way - plastic cling wrapped his paper wrapped tea, then placed in a zip lock bag and a pack of drying agent is inserted to this bag and the tea is kept away in a cardboard box.  This seem to suggest that the reader is 'minimising' his tea to humidity and airflow.  

Here are my 2 cents of thoughts:

1.  I do not expose my pu erh tea directly to the Singapore climate. I do not bring out my tea to my yard and expose them directly to the weather of Singapore.

2.  I keep my tea in their original tongs (whether bamboo or paper) in a pu erh box. I keep all my tea in 2 empty bedrooms just for tea storage.  Windows are closed and curtains drawn. I do nothing else.  I let time do its work. The rooms are clean and dry. I considered my storage as dry stored but in a climate outside that is hot and humid. My tea had been stored under these conditions for more than 10 years.  

3.  Traditional Hong Kong tea shops used to store their tea within the shops (pre war shop houses) in the past. They might have a basement where the tea is kept. The storage conditions there would be slightly more humid and a seasoned tea drinker can actually discern the humidity within the tea when the tea is brewed. Today, such tea storage are non existent in Hong Kong and the pu erh tea are now kept in clean dry rooms. I happened to have a few older pu erh tea that was slightly exposed to the old style humidity but was later stored in drier conditions during the later part of the tea storage. I enjoyed such tea and they have a pleasant distinct aroma and taste in the tea. 

4.  Taiwan tea shops sells old pu erh. Most of these old tea were purchased from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong and were resold in Taiwan. It is not surprising that the older pu er found in Taiwan has taste and aroma characteristics of Malaysia and Hong Kong. 

Pu erh tea stored in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Kunming will have its own storage's taste and aroma. I bring my tea tea every time to these places and have tea with my tea buddies from these countries. Yes, I have loyal tea drinkers that believe their country's storage is best and would regard other countries' storage as less than ideal. However,  they would have a different opinion when they do a blind taste taste. 

I am not saying a particular country has a better or best storage. Every country storage is unique.  Tea drinkers should enjoy and appreciate the various storage conditions of pu erh from different regions. It is an adventure in every cup. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Malaysia Tea Expo June 2022


I had just returned from Kuala Lumpur and had the opportunity to attend the Malaysia tea expo last week. The expo this time was held in a large new shopping mall; Tropicana Gardens mall. I like this new mall. Lots to see and lots of unique eats.  Very convenient as the train has a stop at the mall.   

This tea expo was a small scale affair.  There were no foreign exhibitors and some local ones were not represented in this expo.  I counted less than 30 booths and they were all local tea dealers.  Yes, big local players like Taetea, Xiaguan and China Tea were all present. There were numerous Liu Bao booths and I managed to snagged 1 kg of old Liu Bao.

This tea expo was a chance for tea dealers, collectors and tea drinkers to meet up.  I sensed a bit of 'revenge buying' - everyone was walking and holding a bagful of tea. I suppose after 2.5 years of 'no tea fair events', there was an 'urge' to buy some tea.  Overall, it was a well managed and successful event to those dealers that had booths during this event.

What did I buy besides the Liu Bao?  I had a good time sampling many new pu erh.  Many of the new pu erh tea are now processed differently.  The tea tasted lighter and greener. I managed to buy some traditional old Xiaguan tea that were strong, aromatic and has a smoky characteristic. Such old tea, if new was difficult to drink and had to be stored away for some time.  I suppose I am old fashioned.  I like my tea strong and aromatic with some age in the tea. Some of these tea I had bought, are about 15 years or older, stored in Malaysia and in my opinion is now only ready to drink. I am happy. 


Monday, May 30, 2022

The Price Of Tea


I thought we would emerged into a better place after more than 2 years of covid pandemic.   However, as of today, I do not think we are in a better or happier place.  There is a war in Europe and there are people worldwide who are still waiting to be vaccinated.  

Things are getting expensive and may be even more expensive for the rest of the year.  Call it whatever you want; inflation, stagflation or recession. If you are spending $2000 a month, you will continue to spend $2000 a month except that this money now will get you less things.  You  have to provide  a bigger allocation to essentials like food and gas. I was told by my American tea buddy that gas is now 5 bucks a gallon. I am not laughing, it is expensive over here in Singapore as well. Everything is expensive. 

How about Chinese tea?  Yes, Chinese tea is getting expensive too. Labour and production costs have gone up. My tea distributor friends in Guangzhou had confirmed that new tea this year will be more expensive than tea last year.  Not surprising.  Yes, a 1-2 year old pu erh tea cake may be cheaper than a current year tea cake.  Older pu erh tea is more desirable to many tea drinker and collectors. Now it is technically cheaper. But......the costs of freight is getting astronomically high due to the high cost of fuel. So. Chinese tea overall will be expensive.  Time to drink more from our tea stash. This is the 'rainy day' for us. 

Pray for peace.     

Sunday, May 8, 2022

2003 Langhe Raw Pu erh Tuo


This is an almost 20 year year old raw pu erh tuo.  This tea is a Singapore stored tea. 

In spite of the hot and humid climate this tea has only shown only some mellowness.  This tea is an extremely strong tea. I had thoughts that this tea would be mellow and smooth after almost 20 years of storage but No!.  This tea still has bitterness with an astringent bite in the aftertaste.  I have drank many old pu erh of this age.  Most of the tea would had demonstrated a nice mellowness; reduced smokiness like a wisp of smoke, less harshness and quite easy to drink......but this tea is strong and bold after 20 years.  Hair curling experience. I like.

But I digress.....I had blogged about newer pu erh tea.  Many of these tea are ready to drink or 'can drink now'. I suspect this is due to a change of pu erh tea processing that made the new pu erh tea less harsh or less astringent. The newer tea now almost taste like a fresh green tea.  Yes, even with a sweet and pleasant aftertaste. It is quite enjoyable. Like the famous saying 'same same but different'. I had stated that I am unsure how this new tea will age but I dare say that it cannot be stronger in taste and aroma than it it is now. A tea cannot be stronger taste after storage. There will be some mellowing out of flavours after storage. I can Imagine that the 2003 Langhe was very difficult to drink when new.  Just my 2 cents of thoughts. 

Back to my hair curling 2003 Langhe tea. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pink Dayi


I had blogged about this tea in 2016 (link).   This tea was sold by Taetea (aka Dayi) without wrappers to Taiwan but was accidentally shipped to the Malaysian distributor instead. This tea is estimated to be produced in 2003.

I liked this tea and had bought quite a fair bit of this tea before it was sold out. 

Already abut 20 years old, the tea remained very bold and strong.  Taste and aroma from the initial infusions are peppery, camphor, peaty with a long sweet aftertaste. This taste profile is quite pronounced and the tea can brew up to more than a dozen strong brews. 

Old well stored dayi tea are highly sought after by Chinese tea drinkers around the world. Such tea also commands a high price and are really hard to come by.

I will be starting by tea travels in June and I look forward to share my tea adventures with my readers.  

Monday, April 4, 2022

The Chi In Tea


There are many tea articles on Chi.  What is 'chi'?  Some writers call it the life force of tea or the energy of tea. Before you rushed to change to your Star Wars costume, let me give you my take on this 'chi' thingy.

Chi is the effect that you experience after having a tea session of Chinese tea.  Besides tea being a thirst quencher, there are many effects that tea drinkers may experience and here are some of the effects (not in any order) that I have felt or witnessed when I am drinking with a group of friends. 

1.  Sweaty or heat sensations. I have seen a few friends sweating profusely after a tea session. Whether drinking pu erh or oolong, my friends would be sweating.  The back of their shirts would be damp with sweat. On occasions, I do feel very warm or hot, like I did a workout. These sensations will pass within 5-15 minutes. 

2.  Feeling energised or feeling subdued.  There are instances where a friends in a tea group becomes quite active; like being more perky. They seemed more energised, more chatty or in the another session, the group seemed more quiet and subdued. Again the sensation take a short time to pass. We do have some sweet snacks available when we feel we need a sugar-rush.

3.  Burping or slightly intoxicated. I had seen these effects and had experienced them myself.  The intoxicating feeling is quite mild like I had a few glasses of wine. Again such sensations are temporary that passes in a few minutes. 

I suppose these effects are the 'chi' of Chinese tea. There are many tea drinker friends I know that enjoy such sensations and would buy the tea after experiencing this chi. 

Have you ever felt the energy of the tea?  May the force be with you. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

An Old Yinhao tuo


This raw puerh tuo was produced in 2000.   I broke up this 22 year old tuo and stored the pieces in a tea caddy.  The compression is still quite hard and I had to used a pick to carefully fry the tuo apart. 

This tea is strong.  Lighty smoky with an interesting Chinese tonic soup qualities in both taste and aroma.  Mild camphor aroma with a slight intoxicating sensation after drinking the tea.  I enjoy drinking this tea hot.  Smooth and mellow.   

But I digress.  The difference in drinking an old tea, in this case a 22 year old tuo against a newer pu erh would be that the older tea would have some age in taste and aroma.  In this case, this tea was less smokey since I drank a similar tuo 10 years ago.  This tea has mellowed but remain a strong tea.  I actually reduced the tea leaves used for a tea session. My thoughts are that if you are aging your pu erh tea, please expect your tea after aging for 12-15-20 years to be more mellow than it was after time in storage. The tea cannot be stronger in taste and aroma after time in storage. What I am trying to say that if you have a pu erh tea that is smoky or fruity or floral and you store it away..... that tea will not become more smoky, more fruity or more floral.  Some pu erh tea may not age to one's expectation. It is not that the tea is good or bad but this was the result of the tea, the processing of the tea and the storage conditions while the tea were being kept away.  Storing a pu erh tea is an adventure in itself. I have a number of teas that is coming to 20 years of storage. I look forward to drinking them.