Xiaguan tea factory (Tuocha tea)

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Recent Tasting Notes


‘Ma Bei’ (Horseback) Tuo from 2007. Stored with me in Montreal for 2 years at 60%-70% humidity, purchased from Kunming (dry storage).

Test: I broke off 6g and steeped it in a little 125ml pot with a 5s pour. Very bitter, smokey with high astringency on the first 5 or so flushes.

Left the pot overnight and carried on steeping it in the morning. It turned into sweet greengauge plum after about 10-11 steps and still has life. At that point, sweeter and very drinkable.

Scent on the leaf has changed to subtle floral notes on the latter steeps. Leaf grade isn’t too bad. Lots of chopped leaf, but fair sized material.

It’s ‘nearly ready’, but it seems like it’s going be a good one. Definitely approaching 4-stars, and I’m sure this will taste better after jarring for a month or so.

Not bad for 0.04C/g.

Flavors: Bitter Melon, Plum, Smoke, Spices, Stonefruit

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Getting this one out as it interested me when I re-read about it.
I think the easy Gaiwan will be the trick for this one. I forgot how tight these XiaGuans can be. I chipped off 10 grams to use, hard to get whole leaf from these. I actually rinsed this last night and I am getting to the brewing today. I noticed when I chipped this off the leaf had a little Huangpin (yellow) leaf if I got that right. The other leaves looked really rolled from what I could tell from the bits I had.
It brews with that XG smoke, almost forgot that aspect. It is smoky with a good hit of the bitter to go with it. The smoke really is the most dominant flavor on this one.
It has a bit thicker mouthfeel than the other XG’s I remember. I gives a bit of broth and smoked meat and bitter but not any sweet or any other notes that stand out. Almost like a beef jerky in a cup. I don’t really turn from smoky teas but you will have to like smoke to enjoy this one. I looked in the filter and sure enough some of those dark burnt bits from the wok cooking on this one.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Meat, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Nice tea note but the tea itself does not sound very appealing.:-)


The first raw pu erh I ordered was a Xiaguan tuocha and I remember it had dominant smoke. Unfortunately I never took any notes on it, so I may have to re-order it, especially seeing that it’s one you have reviewed.


That actually sounds like just my cup of tea.


this one confuses me is it ripe or raw? im thinking raw


I think these tuos are meant for incredibly humid climates where the tight compression regulates the effect of the humidity, mold can just brush off. The smoke actually integrates very well eventually but it really must have that humidity to get there. I have a 2005 and also a 2013 someone sent me. I think buying them already aged in Asia is a good idea unless people live in Florida or some such. ;)


Kirk it’s a raw although some of the leaf looks pretty dark.
Cwyn, I hear ya. I think I may move these to a closed container and pump the humidity up for a while and re-taste them.
DigniTea, I will redo this one in about 6 months you will have to remind me.
Roughage, it was an almost very bitter smokiness. I usually can handle a bit but today may have been a un berserker like day for me. Alas I may have to watch the battle from the rear area ;P


yeah they can be harsh for sure


Let me know what happens, I’m pushing my 2013 right now literally to the edge of mold, already crossed over the line once. I’m using a vintage enamel cup with a lid for the tuo, since I don’t have anything in ceramic or stoneware to fit it. I have to open it daily to air out. This is one smoky son of a gun tea though, I want to see if I can push it.


It’s not watching the battle from the rear area, mrmopar, it’s regrouping in preparation for a counter-attack (in 6 months after trying the alternative storage)! :) Anyway, I’ve added this one to the list of teas to buy when I eventually have some spare money now. I do like a tea that gives you a kick in the seat of the pants, and this sounds suitably challenging. :)


Got ya R!


Did you ever get back to this btw? I have a few lying untouched.


J-P, I think I drank through it. If I recall correctly I am looking to source this one in the New Year. I think the age will have evened this one out.


Curiosity got to me. I broke 6g off to test. Still burley and smokey but later steeps were really good (a bit peachy). Probably too strong early on (I was using a small pot and it probably needed flash steeps).


I figured it would still be strong. It is supposed to be an old style production. I you need a line on anything let me know I have a good contact in Taiwan. Getting ready to bring over some 2013 XG Love Forever cakes next month.

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