I found what appears to be the exact same tea locally at an Asian Market here in Salt Lake. The Beng has the same wrapping but the exterior gift box is different. The color and generally leave size, and general look of the material is consistent between the two cakes as is the scent of the cake. What is different though is that the level of compression of the two cakes… the one that I bought in So Cal was a hard mass of near mortar like material while the local cake was so loosely packed I was able to break off whole leaves by hand without a pick.
I am going to attempt to compare the two more than anything just because I think it is an interesting experiment. First off let me start by saying I have no idea if these teas are the same tea, just because they have the same beng wrapping and came in similar boxes for a similar price. This is a first for me as far as side by side tasting notes so should be fun and that’s what it’s all about.
I will call the Pu from Salt Lake SLC and the one from San Gabriel SG. SLC was purchased last week, and SG was purchased in January Both are brewed in a gaiwan. After the initial flash rinse the scent SLC is creamy while the scent of SG is more forest with a bit of pine and cedar Initial infusion of the both give nearly identical colors and clarity but the taste is different, almost incredibly so. SLC gives a very vanilla creamy thick mouth filling brew very similar to the 2010 Menghai 7582 I had yesterday. While the one from SG is more of a compost and cedar with sweetness but not as full both are pleasant but I will say SLC wins this round.
Second infusion has the flavors of both evening out. SLC still has a hint of the creaminess but it is less pronounced there is a bit of leather and the flavor of those Alfalfa vitamin supplements. Notes of leather also appear with the SG brew. Both colors of the brew are consistent and honestly much more pleasing to look at than my initial brew of the SG about 3 weeks ago. I have started to use less leaf so perhaps that helps a bit with the color of the brew the color is very similar to one of my orange hue yixing. And as I experienced with SG previously the liquor is extremely clear no bits to cloud the cup, you can see the bottom of the white cup with a bare minimum of bits.
3rd infusion the wet leaves are virtually identical in scent, size and texture the scent is not exactly the same but so similar it is had to differentiate the exactly what is different… And it is the same deal with flavor and color. I am trying so very hard to pinpoint the differences but ultimately I’m going to bet that this is exactly the same tea. The same leather notes exist in both I will also add that the tea is about finished by the third infusion and I attribute that to the lesser amount of leaf I’ve been trending toward but I believe that this tea may need more leaf to get
I attribute the difference in the initial infusions and scent to be a difference in the compression and likely storage conditions but there no appreciable difference between the two by the 3rd infusion, and the forth infusion was basically colored water.
I will honestly say that SLC wins over all the vanilla creaminess of the initial infusion was awesome. This has been a fun hour sampling both of these teas… what a way to start the day.