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02 February 2006 @ 04:16 pm
Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake  
2005 Haiwan “Lao Tong Zhi” Raw Cake

Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - wrapper

Year: 2005
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...?



Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - face

Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - face closeup

Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - leaves

Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - brew

Haiwan 2005 Lao Tong Zhi Raw Cake - brewed leaf
 
 
( Read 3 commentsLeave a comment )
(Anonymous) on February 3rd, 2006 05:15 pm (UTC)
Aging
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...?

Hi Jason,


I didnt respond to your similar question on RFDT because I needed to collect my thoughts. Determining a good tea for aging is a difficult thing to put into words.

Here are a few of my thoughts as well as some collective wisdom from the puerh community:



  1. Mellow "drink it now" puerh is not good for aging.

  2. The quality of the Ma-Cha is paramount.

  3. The best Mao-Cha for aging are sun-dried as opposed to mechanical drying.

  4. What is the quality of the leaf? Is it whole or broken? Broken leaf will be more bitter than whole leaf. The best cakes are often blends of grades 2-4 on the face and grades 5-8 in the middle. This balances sweetness and substance.

  5. Leaf from trees is better than leaf from bushs.

  6. A good candidate will have a certain "strength", which is often accompanied by smoke, cigar, and bitterness. Try steeping normally then dilute the tea in half or even a third with hot water, does it taste good then? Do you observe minor nuances and a sweet finish?

  7. Do you get a flush of heat after drinking it, something akin to "Qi"?

  8. Smaller cakes will mature faster than larger ones.

  9. What does the compression look like? Is it even? Too tight will slow the maturity, too loose and it will fall apart before its time. There are a lot of very good, but very hard compressed bricks out there, they are great but will require more time than a moderatly compressed bing.

  10. Remember that poor storage can ruin a perfectly good cake.


A trick that was passed on to me by a trustworthy vendor is:


"There is one other trick that is popular for buyers of raw cakes. The tea is brewed in a gaiwan used as the brewing device, and after multiple infusions, when the taste starts to become thin, the leaves are dumped, the gaiwan allowed to cool, and then the buyer will check to see it the gaiwan still retains the smell of the tea."

Mike Petro

http://www.pu-erh.net

(Anonymous) on February 3rd, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Aging
Thanks for your thoughts and this information. It's incredibly helpful and insightful. I will keep those ideas in mind when tasting my teas.
~~
On a separate note, you're welcome to snatch any of my reviews off this blog for your reviews section at pu-erh.net. Unfortunately, many of my reviews on here lack some of the information for your review submission form, such as exact ml and gram information, so I don't know if they're of good quality.

I will be ordering a small scale soon and also will be measuring the ml in my pot, so hopefully that'll change.