For me personally Tea Classico is one of the newer “go to” puerh vendors, especially if you are looking for aged raw puerh at decent prices. I ended up buying 2 cakes from them last year, this being one of them and the other one was the Tong Qing Hao “Chi Cang” 1997. Both are great teas in my opinion, however I prefer the CNNP 2000 a little bit more. I decided to have a tea session so here are my thoughts.
I used 14 grams of tea in my 250ml teapot. A quick 5 second rinse and I check out the wet leaves. The leaves display a rather enticing oily sheen. The aroma is woody with that “mineral” background, reminiscent of wetter stored puerh. According to the description page this has been dry stored in Hong Kong for 13 years. Even though this has been dry stored you still get the aroma of wet storage, although nowhere near as prominent as White2Tea’s Hong Kong styled puerh, nor Tea Classico’s Tong Quing Hao.
First proper steep at 10 seconds. Liquid comes out a dark red/orange. Sipping the brew slowly I am greeted with the Hong Kong “mineral” taste, sweet wood and mild camphor notes. The liquid is not that thick but it feels “slippery” and oily in the mouth. Very, very smooth.
Second steep at 15 seconds and now the liquid looks pretty potent with it’s dark red appearance. Sipping it I am still getting that mineral taste and sweet wood, but there is a strength and robustness that I find difficult to describe. It reminds me of drinking a fine Cognac or Scotch. No bitterness or astringency. I begin to sweat a little on my forehead. Good energy. Excellent finish – the sweet wood and camphor notes dancing all around my mouth.
I check out the leaves and have noticed how the leaves have spread out and filled my teapot. My feeling is that the leaves are of excellent quality, most of them being unbroken. They still display that lovely oily sheen.
Third steep and the mineral background is starting to fade away and the sweet wood and camphor notes are the main focus of my attention. It is not losing any richness/robustness. Starting to develop numbness on the tongue which I always enjoy, followed by the cooling affect when I take a deep breath in.
I continue to steep this way past a litre and it delivers powerful brew after powerful brew. Really good durability. For a puerh only aged 14 years it really is a remarkable little beast. My feeling that the storage has been impeccable. This is a great puerh in the sense that it has the perfect balance of dry and wet storage flavours. This may be a problem for some folk who don’t enjoy that “mineral” taste, however you would be missing out as the mineral flavours don’t last that long.
For me the puerhs greatest asset is it’s strength and the quality of the leaves. I could drink cup after cup. From a price point is was not inexpensive at $219 per 357 gram cake, however take into account current market prices and it really was a good deal. I say it was a good deal as sadly it is out of stock, and has been for some time. I am so glad that I got a full cake of this when I did as it has turned into one of my favourite puerhs. If anyone would like to try a sample then send me a message. I could only give out a couple of samples unfortunately as I really would like to keep this for myself.
Many thanks to Tea Classico for giving us a chance to taste an excellent aged example.
Flavors: Camphor, Mineral, Wood