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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a relatively good brick, but far from spectacular. It was well aged. Early infusions were a dark brown in color. There was an initial taste of tobacco and leather that was moderately strong. This disappeared around the fifth steep. A fruity note did develop but it was weak and I don’t know what fruit. There was also a slight sour note to this tea, not major but there. It also had a strong drying sensation. Overall it wasn’t bad for a cheap semi aged brick. Somewhere around I have the same brick from Yunnan Sourcing. Will have to try it and see if there is a difference.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8g leaf and boiling spring water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sex, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Leather, Tobacco
AllanK provided me with a bit of this in our swap and it interested me because it’s not often you get a tea that is older than yourself. This was an absolutely strange tea. For starters, I’m not sure if this was an odd ripe or an odd raw. A pretty strong smoke smell comes off of this tea, but the brew doesn’t have much in its taste (I’m fine with that). As I try to figure the leaf out, this has to be an aged smoked sheng of a wild variant. However, I may be quite wrong. My session lasted hours which was great. I ended up playing with the steeping dimensions by trying 3 minutes and then back to 12 seconds to 1 minute. Overall I found this leaf to produce under all circumstances quite well with no overwhelming astringent notes. This is a fun tea, but it isn’t as subtle or pure as I like my sheng… and again, darn you (in a good way) White2Tea for Repave and Mandela for Wild Monk; forever spoiled my sheng taste buds.
Price: 250g bag £13.65 ($21.42)
Summary: A worn out tea that provides a mellow, creamy taste. For an aged tea with more flavours, I recommend one of these:
Wild Quarter Brick 1990 by pu-erh.sk
Yiwu 1999 maocha by pu-erh.sk
Tuo Cha 1990 by pu-erh.sk
1980’s Tong Qing Hao Tea Cake by SampleTea
5g in Gaiwan.
Dry: Slightly dusty, warehouse aroma. Loose leaf + clumps that are dark brown.
Wet: Slightly smoky, wet wood. No aged flavours like bird-cage or church-like aromas. Dark brown leaves and the odd black stem and leaf.
Note: There is no label on the paper bag to say what the tea is. Maybe they don’t know what it is?
Rinse water is dark gold.
5s – Dark gold. Very mild, very subtle hints of wood.
10s – Dark gold. Very mild, subtle hints of wood. No bitterness or astringency.
25s – Dark gold. Has some of the sweetness from shu pu-erh.
30s – Less dark gold. Soft wet wood. Taste is clean. Slight sparkle on the swallow. This tea tastes like it is very worn out.
40s – Dark gold. Some subtle bitterness against the soft wet wood.
50s – Dark gold. Mild wet wood, slightly creamy.
Flavors: Creamy, Wet wood
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If Fengyuan can be believed this is the oldest tea I have drank and I think they are telling the truth about the age. Whether or not it is a real Zhong Cha tea is anyone’s guess. The color of the tea soup was quite brown to start and slowly turned into a brownish red as I resteeped it. There was some storage taste to this tea, I would say for the first three steeps then basically nothing. The bing itself told me little about the tea except that it was darker than some ripe teas in color. Other than that it was nondescript. There was no inner ticket on this tea. As far as notes go there were a variety of complex notes to this tea. Some were positive, some a little negative. I am at a loss to describe them exactly because this is like no tea I have ever drank. I detected no off flavors or bad storage flavors. This was not an expensive tea which leads me to believe it may be a fake Zhong Cha. It was only around $50 or so. I do not know how much a Zhong Cha from 1992 should go for. I suspect more but who knows. The leaf seemed somewhat low quality which could explain the price too. Perhaps it was something that had sold for two or three dollars in 1992. Whatever the exact age I am fairly sure this is old. I enjoyed the tea even though all the flavors were not sweet pleasant flavors. There was quite a mix here. I don’t think Fengyuan sells samples of this tea. I bought the whole bing.
I steeped this eight times in a 180ml teapot with 10.4g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 25 sec. There were more steeps to the leaves had I wanted to continue, I’d say this tea would have gone between 12 and 15 steeps judging by the color in the eighth steep.
I didn’t expect much from this tea. Bought it from Fengyuan Tea Shop on auction. It was an impulse buy. I’m not entirely sure how to rate this one. It probably is not as good as the average ripe Dayi from 1996, but then again I can’t afford the average Dayi from 1996. I won this on auction for only $24 when they sell it for around $45 or so. I can’t even be sure it’s actually from 1996. However, it has completely cleared. I thought I detected fermentation flavor for a second or two but that was just the thick tea soup of the early infusions. I thought I would encounter storage taste so I gave it two rinses. There was a fleeting taste of wet wood for only an instant then it was gone. There was a sweetness to this tea like perhaps few other teas I have tried. In the second steep I’m fairly sure I detected notes of prunes of all things. That didn’t last into the third steep but the sweetness persisted. In the end I gave it eight steeps. It was sweet to the end. You really don’t need sugar in this one but I don’t mean sugar sweet. There is also something I can’t quite put a finger on, something I vaguely disliked about this tea. There was just an unquantifiable negative too, amongst the positives. Maybe it’s just that this tea seemed to bother my stomach when ripe normally doesn’t.
I steeped this eight times in a 180ml teapot with 10.4g leaf and boiling water. I gave the tea two 10 second rinses then gave it a ten minute rest. I steeped the tea for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
Taken over ten steeps I really liked this tea. Just on the first couple of steeps I didn’t like it. The first few steeps had a strong aged bitterness to them and a slight but noticeable sour note. This was the character of the tea for the first four steeps. By steep five the sour note had disappeared completely and the bitterness mitigated. The tea developed a nice sweetness to it that was not like the apricots or stonefruits of a young sheng. It was also not sweet in the sense of sugar, I don’t mean that sweet. I am at a bit of a loss to describe the sweet notes specifically. The tea had a very nice color to it in the early steeps, almost but not quite orange in color. Judging by the color of the tenth steep I would say this tea has a few steeps left in it if I had not had enough tea.
I brewed this tea in a 140ml teapot with 8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a ten minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. I would recommend this tea to anyone planning on giving it ten steeps and not recommend it to anyone who only steeps their tea two or three times.
This is a tasty and interesting aged tea. It has not developed any particularly unpleasant flavors through its storage. The best way I can describe the flavor of this tea is burnt honey or sugar without the sweetness of honey or sugar. It has a somewhat raw aged taste initially. This flavor slowly turned into something more plesant. I really don’t know how to accurately describe this tea as it is the first true aged sheng I have drank. In color it looks like a shou to be honest but it definitely tastes like an aged sheng. It had none of the bitterness of a young aged sheng while in effect having its own sort of bitterness, does that make any sense. This was a tea I had little in the expectations for as I only paid something like $25 for 250g, cheap. This was definitely worth the price. I enjoyed it a lot. I can’t tell you how it compares to other 1990s sheng because I haven’t drank them. For the price involved I recommend this tea.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and let the leaves rest about ten minutes. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.