Yes, exciting stuff. I found this tea in a tea shop in Zhangjiajie in Hunan and asked if I could try it. It was a massive brick of 2 kg, and its cover was in Russian. Yes, it was a tea made for export.
By the look of the leaves, I could tell that this tea had a lot of stems and twigs. But if it had been aged for 20 years, perhaps the number of stems is less critical. I was excited to drink it, but it was very astringent and not very pleasant at all. I thought that maybe my palate was tired, but no, I cleansed my palate, and it still tasted very unpleasant.
I tried to comment this to the tea master by saying that, I expected this tea to have a rounder and mellower taste given its age. She thought I did not like dark tea and decided to offer me white tea instead.
I do not know, I wish I could learn more about this tea. If it went to Russia and came back or it was not sent there at all. Starting from the establishment of the trans-Siberian railway in 1916, Russia had good access to Chinese teas with decreasing prices, and this helped to incorporate tea drinking into the Russian culture. Who would have known that they were also sourcing dark tea from Anhua in Hunan? Perhaps, cheaply without knowing that it was not the best quality.
Origin: Anhua, Hunan, China
Harvest time: 1998
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown
Liquor colour: Dark amber/brown
Tea aroma: Hay
Tea taste: Thick and astringent
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a teaPOT and added 100 ml water at around 100°C. Rinse after steeping for 5 sec. Increase the consecutive steeping time by 10 sec. each time.
Shelf life: Can be aged.