This was the first time I had a black tea out of a tea cake. Apart from traditional pu-erh, I am aware that white teas are also compressed into cakes, but I did not know that there was compressed black tea too. It turned out to be good despite being a young tea (from autumn of 2019).
Tea was used to be compressed in ancient time to make it easier to transport. Steam compressed tea cakes take significantly less space. However, compression has another advantage as it provides a better condition for ageing due to reducing the surface through which the tea is exposed to air. It is believed that compression helps to lock aromas and tastes in teas and through years the taste becomes more and more mellow. I totally get this, and it really works for sheng (raw) pu-erh. I am convinced for this cake as it is already sweet and mellow.
The cake had some dark green with brown stems and a little golden tip. But it is a very small cake to make a judgement about the level of buds. It gave a very deep malt aroma and sweet taste with vanilla undertones. I could not taste any astringency despite steeping for long which is a good sign.
Overall, it is an enjoyable piece of cake. I will try to source an aged Feng Qing Dian Hong cake to compare and contrast with this one. Please comment if you have any experience with this tea as I'd love to know more about your experience and views.
Origin:Feng Qing County, Lincang City, Yunnan Province
Harvest time: Autumn2019
Leave colour:Black with some red stems and golden tips
Liquor colour:Deep amber
Tea taste:Overall mellow and sweet with some vanilla undertones
Steeping/brewing:You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to36 months but given that this is a cake I’d experiment and re-taste it in 5 years (to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)