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2008 Xiaguan FT "Imperial Tribute" Raw

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by the_skua
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  • “My original tasting of this tea was apparently good enough to convince me that I should buy a bing, especially since it was a very reasonable price. Revisiting the last of the sample, I now look at...” Read full tasting note
    the_skua 207 tasting notes

From Xiaguan Tuocha Co. Ltd.

This is a Xiaguan “Fei Tai FT” production. FT is a business which custom blends and special orders large quantities tea to be pressed in the Xiaguan tea factory. FT teas are intended for export to Taiwan, representing the highest quality Xiaguan teas. This cake is based on the 2005 Yu Shang “Imperial Tribute” 200 gram tuo which was an OEM production ordered by a Kunming tea dealer. Since its 2005 pressing the “Yu Shang” tuo has become one of the most sought after Xiaguan teas and has increased steadily in value. The “Imperial Tribute” cake’s characteristics are heavy pungent cha qi that stay in the mouth for a long-time after drinking. The tea is entirely spring material and kill-green is done with care so the brewed tea liquor is a thick soupy golden yellow color. This tea can be infused 10 to 15 times depending on your brewing parameters. Compression is medium to tight.

About Xiaguan Tuocha Co. Ltd. View company

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2 Tasting Notes

207 tasting notes

My original tasting of this tea was apparently good enough to convince me that I should buy a bing, especially since it was a very reasonable price. Revisiting the last of the sample, I now look at this tea with a bit more skeptical eye and treat it more like the factory material it is.

How did I miss the insane smokiness of this sample the last time around? The first rinse of this tea explodes campfire, smoked pine, and incense all over the place. Bacony. As the well-chopped leaves agonize, it’s apparent that this is an even blend of three kinds of leaves: ruddied stems and medium sized leaves, dark green larger leaves, and paler small buds. Mostly red stuff though, as this tea pours out a dark orange. Accordingly, there’s a flatness and lack of bitterness throughout this tea.

On the other hand, however, this tea is a wild mangy beast. At a distance, the wet leaves smell like the funkiest french cheese you can encounter (think Époisses). Closer up the pine smoke intensifies and the finally, in the mouth it really pulls through on the mushroom, sesame, and herbal qualities. I think this tea demands using a large quality of leaf. Finally, it has some headache inducing potency, unfortunately. It will be very interesting to see where this tea heads in the next 5-10 years and how I think differently of it then.

Thomas Smith

This really has me intrigued. I’ve come to think of shengs that are somewhat smoky and mineral-bitter at younger age to mature well, but this is based largely on YiWu and NanNuo material. How does this guy do on astringency?


Relatively light. In my experience, oranger teas are often lighter on the astringency. That’s not saying that a long, hot steep won’t yield strong soup, but when brewed reasonably, I think the overall bitterness and astringency are lighter than average.


This tea has ridiculous endurance already…I’m on, I don’t know the 15th or 16th steep and will give it a few more tomorrow.

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