1992 Zhong Cha Raw Pu-erh - "Mei Shu Zi"

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Wet Wood, Wet Rocks
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Bulk, Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by Bob Grimmer
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 oz / 98 ml

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From Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

Here we have a 25-year-old raw tea cake that’s been aging in Taiwan since original purchase.

Interestingly, in 1992 this tea produced a bright yellow liquor but after Taiwan’s extreme humidity and heat year after year, it has matured into a dark, crimson oily soup!

Did you notice that the font used in this Zhong Cha production is quite unique? This 1992 edition is one of the only times it was used. The name “Mei Shu Zi” (美術字) is used among Pu-erh aficianados in Taiwan to designate this tea and refers to the the font (literally “beautiful calligraphy”). It’s a blend of Daye leaves and buds.

This raw tea was naturally stored in Taiwan. This means that it stayed in an indoor, non-climate controlled clean environment in Taiwan… for 25 years! This gets good results but there is a “humid” character to this tea right now. We prefer to let these cakes air out for several months in a dry-storage climate. We just brought these cakes back so there will be humid-stored taste for several more months as of 11/5/2016. Just put it away for 6 six months and you should be good. Although it’s perfectly good to drink right now if you don’t mind a little humidity in the first few steeps.

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3 Tasting Notes

66 tasting notes

I bought this sometime in 2017 and agreed with the other tea notes here at the time. I was new to Puer and was sorely disappointed that I had a full cake of the stuff that I couldn’t abide. But time passes and The Dude abides… and the tea ages and mellows (in dry storage, being shunned). Now in 2021 it is 29 years old, has a lovely fragrance, the compost odor is gone, and I have been brewing and sipping it with happiness. Gongfu, but cheating with a steel strainer, and easily going 12-14 steepings (4 g in 4 oz boiling water). I wasn’t particularly delicate when breaking up the cake, but I did find some complete budsets and larger leaves, along with many bits and pieces. The photo I posted of spent leaves in a saucer is a representative sampling, while the smaller ramekin features some of the other largest pieces—all from today’s 4 g portion. Tastewise, the tea isn’t very complex. Mostly bass notes of wood, leather, and smooth sweetness, with no astringency whatsoever. No smokiness, no fishiness either. And today I steeped LONG to make dark, thick cups that were easy to swill. Thanks to BTTC for encouraging tolerance and patience. I have already bought a second cake despite a jump in price!

Boiling 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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1758 tasting notes

From the Puerh Tea TTB. with this one I couldn’t get past the wet storage taste. The taste of wet wood was just too much for me. It lasted even into the tenth steep.

I brewed this ten times in a 75ml teapot with 5.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute.

Flavors: Wet Wood

Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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56 tasting notes

Old-school factory cake made of varying grades of chop (you won’t find any big fancy leaves or intact budsets) with little stemmy stuff. At some point the storage got damp enough to give it that wet stone smell that never steeps out. Not terribly strong tea, but smooth. Some sweetness from the first steep on. Whatever bitterness was present is aged out. Makes dark red soup for 10+ steeps, gradually trailing off into sweet colored water without ever passing through the harsh “used up” stage.

There’s not a lot of flavor beyond the wet stone and a sort of generic aged tea smoothness.

I have a little buyer’s remorse for having bought the whole cake of this, but not much. I like tea with a stronger feel, and suspect that the collector who sold this to BTTC decided that this one was only going downhill from where it is now.

Recommended, with the proviso that you can get past the damp basement smell.

Flavors: Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Cheese! I like so totally know what you’re talking about. What do you note about the qi of these earlier productions?


Have you sampled your cake recently? After e few years of dry storage, mine has transformed nicely!

Bob Grimmer

I agree with @TeaEarleGreyHot. Evolved well. Perhaps if you have some left. Wonderful cake/tea.

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