This tea was aged more than 13 years when I drank it. It matured well in my view. It is made in one of the significant pu-erh factories: Kunming. Being a famous brand, I came across it many times and always hesitated. This is because so many counterfeits of these teas were available and possibly still available today. I only bought in small quantity to try it out, and I am delighted with the result.
When a tea cake comes from a factory, it is not easy to get to the bottom of its origins. So I can only talk about my experience with this tea. I am guessing that this tea was not made out of the best material. However, the ageing gave it complex aromas and flavours. For me, the tasting notes included floral, nutty, earthy, acidic, camphor and raisins. The vendor lists honey and orchid fragrance amongst their notes. Actually, I believe that this tea's tasting profile evolves over the years, so if I taste it next year, I may capture some new notes.
It is truly a miracle tea. However, having tried other dark teas from Hunnan, Sichuan and Guanxi, some also have great potential. I wonder why pu-erh is so popular while an aged Anhua dark tea or Fu Brick tea is not much in demand.
Zhang, in her book called ''Puer Tea'' asks the following questions too: ""How was Puer tea transformed from something ordinary and familiar into something remarkable and exotic in Yunnan? Why have so many people been compelled to collect, drink, admire, and study it? How did multiple players cause the value of Puer tea to skyrocket and then plummet? Why have counterfeits flourished despite so many appeals for regulation? And how do ordinary tea peasants, traders, and consumers survive in this chaotic battle?"". Apparently in early 2007 (when this tea was made), pu-erh tea reached its peak in price, but the prices dropped unexpectedly in May of the same year. It is amazing how popular it is and how it is worshipped by tea drinkers worldwide. If its popularity continues to grow, we may find ourselves having to pay more for a decent quality pu-erh.
Source: Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic, by Jinghong Zhang, 2014.
Type: Pu-erh (Dark)
Origin: Yiwu Shan, Yunnan
Harvest time: 2007
Leaf colour: Tones of dark green and brown
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea Aroma: Floral, nutty, earthy, camphor and raisin
Tea taste: Smooth with slight sweetness and pleasant astringent finish
Steeping/brewing: Place 5g in 100ml of water at 100ºC and rinse after 5 seconds. Steep for 10 seconds during the first infusion,and add 10 seconds to the subsequent infusions. You can re-steep this tea several times.
Shelf life: Can be aged