1999 HUA YUAN “JING BRAND” RAW PU-ERH TEA CAKE
Summary: This tea is highly compressed, and I found I had to break it up (with a spoon) to allow the full flavours to come out. With this tea being a mixture of raw (half fermented) and ripe pu-erh, it gives an interesting mix swaying between two teas but also combines together at other times. Highlights include a metallic taste and the depth and creaminess it develops in later steeps.
Dry leaf: Looks like cooked purer, only slightly lighter. The aroma is hay.
Wet leaf: It smells like a ripe purer with some raw pu-erh; it is lightly floral and herby. However once it cools, it smells quite different: it is creamy and smooth with some wood shavings.
My thoughts are: will dark creamy cooked pu-erh go together well with bright, sharp raw pu-erh or will it be like putting milk in green tea? (I did that once and couldn’t drink it)
5s – The aroma is mostly of ripe pu-erh, although with the rawness, it smells like hot raspberries/rhubarb crumble (dark fruit contrasting with sweet sugariness). Liquor is pale brown. It taste like sheng towards the end of a session when the full body has gone. There are hints of the raw, but only faintly. I wouldn’t describe this as complex.
10s – Slightly darker, pale brown. Aroma has soil and warm pastry. Tastes like a mild ripe pu-erh with some fruit.
1 minute – I brewed it for longer as it wasn’t giving much flavour. Darker browny red. Still mild ripe with a bit of fruit.
20s – (Stabbed it with a spoon and found it was quite hard). Liquor is dark brown and looks ready for drinking. It is refreshing, creamy, but not warm milk creamy. It has a metallic taste that makes it interesting.
30s – Now it’s there. A marriage of ripe and raw pu-erh; concentrated herbyness takes on a dark, complex direction I’ve not tasted before. The raw pu-erh now dominates.
40s – Back to ripe pu-erh again. Will it make it’s mind up? A fruity ripe, with bite and some complexity. (I stabbed it with a spoon some more) Dark brown now – darkest yet. There is friction between the ripe and raw; there is depth, boldness and bite. Stimulating.
60s – Hints of White2Teas 90s Hong Kong, but more mellow. This tea is still going strong.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Metallic