Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake
Production: Haiwan Tea Factory
Region: Pu-Erh Mountain Area
Leaf Description: Dark leaves, mostly middle to small sizes, with few silver buds and some branching leaf combinations. Compressed but whole leaves flake off with little effort. Few twigs.
Available: Jing Tea Shop, Yunnan-Sourcing (Item# 4433068526), Holy Mountain Tea Co.
Infusion Parameters: 10s rinse, 20s, 20s, 40s, 70s, 120s, 140s, 180s
The brew is dark yellow, darker than any young sheng I’ve brewed to date. The initial flavors were smoke and burnt hay and very strong, with a bitter edge. The bitterness weakened as infusions progressed, and the smoke disappeared by the third brew. Brews 2 through 6 had a strong floral flavor, an almost soapy tuberose or orange blossom flavor, with strong flavors of burnt hay and woodiness like a fresh twig. I did not taste the "fallen leaves" or "plummy" notes of the reviewer on the Jing Tea Website.
My Opinion: While this cake is too strong for me to enjoy it young, I am very excited about how such strong flavors will mellow and change with age. I think this cake has given me some insight into what Mike Petro regards as an “ageable” cake, as he indicates that this cake is a good choice to age on his “my recommendations” page. It seems that a cake that is complex, strong/bitter, and floral makes a good choice...?