I took a risk and bought this big brick of tea on Taobao. I only paid around $85 with shipping. The shipping was expensive because the Taobao Agent charges a profit on shipping. They claim they charge no fee on shipping but their shipping is at least 25% higher than the equivalent from Yunnan Sourcing or Awazon. Anyway, this brick was a risk. I didn’t know the seller so I didn’t know what I would get. A translation of the back of the brick confirms it is in fact from 2004 so there is that. No way to tell if the leaves are early spring as claims. The leaves of this brick were pretty large but not quite Huang Pian leaves large. The seemed a slightly lower quality too. But then most bricks are somewhat lower quality. The brewed tea smelled of wet storage so at first I thought that that might be a dominant note to this tea. There was some wet storage taste, for the first two steeps but it was not too strong. There was also some fermentation flavor, for about the first three steeps, but it was not too strong either. The tea had partially cleared. I guess a big brick like this is going to age slowly. A nice sweet note developed after the wet storage note went away. There was never really any bitter taste to this one. I don’t think it was real chocolaty as ripe puerh tea goes. Not sure how to best describe the sweet note. This developed into a very nice puerh to drink. I am quite pleased considering how much I spent on this. I only gave this ten steeps. It would have gone a couple of more steeps but I think not a lot more. This is one I will want to revisit in six months. The wet storage taste that it had may be replaced by something better. You can get some incredible bargains on Taobao but there is always a risk. Unless they lied on the packaging, the back of this brick confirms it was made in 2004. But the seller could have sold me 2015 ripe and I would have had no way to know until I drank it. So at least the seller seems to be selling what he claims to be selling.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 13.8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. The tea would have gone a couple more steeps but not a lot more. The leaves were almost finished I think. This was very good overall for the price. I should note that the name of this brick is not exactly as on the website. I did my best to transliterate the name into something reasonable. If anyone wants to look at this brick on Taobao I would gladly send them the link in a pm or even list it in a comment if someone is interested.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet