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I’ve been recently tasting sheng pu’er from the Changtai factory mostly due to the positive mention by half-dipper. His review of this very tea can be found here:

http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2009/11/2004-yichanghao-yiwu-zhengpin.html

Today it was the turn of 2004 Yi Chang Hao series cake Yi Wu Zhengpin. As the name suggests the cake has been produced from leaf material from the famous Yi Wu mountain.

The cake itself is tidy with clear separation of leafs. In general we don’t want the leafs to be pressed so tight that they fuse together making it impossible to separate leafs without breaking them. The tightness also has it’s influence on how the cake ages. Very firm cakes age slower but we don’t want the cake to be too loose either since that will expose the leafs too quickly and this can cause the taste to become thin.

Leaf material appears fairly diverse with a decent amount of furry buds and young leafs still covered by youthful hair as well as mature dark leafs and some leaf stalks.

The fragrance is very alluring. It manages to convey a similar balance between dark woodiness and lighter rhyme as do some good roasted Tie Guanyins. It seems to be leaning more to the woody, tobacco side of the spectrum but very deliciously so carrying a nice camphor rhyme.

The woodiness becomes stronger in the second infusion and is amplified by my carelessness in letting it infuse a bit too long. When i sip it i get a very clear image of a strong bittered lager. The soft and sweet rhyme has now moved to the aftertaste. I hope she will return before the end.

The liquid is thick and clear in the bowl. It forms waves the same way i’ve witnessed many high quality teas do when i shake the bowl softly. The qi is not among the strongest i’ve felt but definitely very noticeable. It makes me pay attention to the drifting clouds on the sky and the ancient chinese music i have on.

The tea seems to be most pleasant in infusions 5-8. The strongest woodiness has then subsided a bit and sweetness has returned. I continue to infuse it over 10 times and it continues to peform well. Investigating the infused leafs i find that they are elastic and mostly whole. It seems to me that elastic and strong leafs make high quality tea.

This is a very nice tea. I recommend it only with the reservation that if you can’t stand woody dryness in your tea, perhaps you should skip this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

First a tea hobbyist and then a founder of the chinese tea store Teepolku. My prime passion are chinese style teas and teaware.

I taste lots and lots of teas and have tried to develop for myself a consistent rating system. Here’s how to interpret my ratings here:

20 – It looks suspicious and lacks the characteristic features of it’s kind. There are unpleasant flaws in the taste profile that overcome any positive sides.
40 – It has some of the characteristic features of it’s kind but there are also flaws. The leafs seem technically to be of acceptable quality. It can be difficult to infuse but when you get it right, it is pleasant to drink.
60 – It clearly possesses characteristic features of it’s kind. Technically the tea is of good quality. There can be flaws in the taste profile but these are not of the disturbing type but rather something that is missing from what one can find in excellent teas. The tea is not difficult to infuse.
80 – The tea is a representative sample of it’s kind. It is technically flawless and of high quality. The taste profile is unusually fine and there are no flaws. The tea works even if the infusion deviates reasonably from the recommendation.
100 – It is at the very peak of it’s kind. It is technically unusually well finished and of excellent quality. The taste profile is also unusually fine and offers insights into it’s kind. It is flexible to infuse. It is an experience that transcends taste and aroma.

Location

Turku, Western Finland, Finland

Website

http://www.teepolku.fi

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