A very interesting pu-erh! Made of whole, rolled leaves that are olive-green once brewed. If I’m decoding the recipe “6515” correctly, they are considered grade 1 leaves, though I’m not entirely sure what that means! Importantly, this tea is highly compressed. “Brick“ is the right description, and in fact if you tap on one side, the entire block resonates and almost rings as a ceramic block might. There are two consequences to this: firstly, it is very difficult to pick apart the tea to withdraw a brewing portion without creating a lot of crumbs and breakage, the leaves are so crisp. But even so, the leaf pieces were pretty big, once infused. Secondly, the tight compaction slows the aging, and this may explain the youthful vigor of the resulting tea. Or, maybe the storage since 2004 was on the dry side.

Youthful vigor! The fragrance was mild and pleasant without perfume, flowery, or fishiness. A bit of mintiness. The liquor packed a punch with slight bitterness, strong astringency (is this called “brisk”?) with mint and camphor, and a lingering aftertaste of green tea and a drying mouthfeel. The sixth steep was much like the first, with progressively longer infusions, starting at 20s, up to 2 min. Enjoyable now as a good morning wake-up brew. But I bet this brick will taste much nicer in another 15 years, if stored humidly.

Flavors: Astringent, Camphor, Mint

Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

KunMing isn’t the best place to age tea for sure.

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KunMing isn’t the best place to age tea for sure.

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Left-coast reared (on Bigelow’s Constant Comment and Twinings’ Earl Grey) and right-coast educated, I’ve used this moniker (and Email) since the glory days of AOL in the 90’s, reflecting two of my lifelong loves—tea and ‘Trek. Now a midwestern science guy (right down to the Hawaiian shirts), I’m finally broadening the scope of my sippage and getting into all sorts of Assamicas, from mainstream Assam CTCs to Taiwan blacks & TRES varietals, to varied Pu’erhs. With some other stuff tossed in for fun. Love reading other folks’ tasting notes (thank you), I’ve lurked here from time to time and am now adding a few notes of my own to better appreciate the experience. You can keep the rooibos LoL!
Photo with Aromatic Bamboo Species Raw Pu-erh Tea “Xiang Zhu” by Yunnan Sourcing, which is most definitely aromatic!



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