A new local tea buddy recently contacted me telling me that he wanted to buy some tea to age at home. He was thinking about buying Xiaguan and wanted to buy a carton of tuo to store at home. He asked me what I thought about the new Xiaguan raw tuos
It so happened I had bought a pack of 2021 tuo. This is the 'te tuo'. The name, I conclude is a shortened name version of their popular 'te ji' tuo.
As you can see. the packaging had changed. The 'palace and lake' illustration was gone......all words now. The tuo wrapper is a white wrapper. These visual changes are not important to me. The tea itself is more important.
Here are my observations and thoughts
1. The smoke level of this tea is low. Really low. I could detect a very faint smoke in the 1st two infusions before the smoke fades away. The early versions I own (pre 2007) was more smoky. I remembered when I had opened my first te ji tuo (2007 version), the strong smoke caught me by surprise.
2. The floral aroma and lightly sweet aftertaste is pleasant. The tea brews reasonably strong.
3. This tea will age but the results of aging will be very much different from that of the earlier productions of te ji tuo due the very light smokiness in the production.
4. I would advise my new tea buddy that there is no need to buy a carton of this tea to store away......but instead buy a variety of Xiaguan tea or even other brands (4-5 choices) to fill a carton instead. In 10-15 years time, your box will have a good variety of aged tea to drink and enjoy. That's my 2 cents worth.