Mystery Sample #2

 Number Labeled Samples

A long while back, a fellow on teachat named Chengducha and I exchanged some tea. After neglecting the package in my pariah sample bin for many months, I finally decided to open up the bundle and pick out a tea for a session on this rainy afternoon. Numbers and plastic wrap, a welcome surprise! Tea guessing allow me to free their mind from preconceptions and try something purely on its merits, not to mention uncovering my own biases and misconceptions. So, I decided to write the following notes as I drank, before looking up  the tea’s origin.

plastic wrapped tea

The kids are calling it “two magic”

The small packages looked liked drugs purchased from a dealer in the park. The only information at my disposal for choosing a tea for the afternoon were numbered stickers on the outside of the plastic wrap. Twodogteablog, White2tea. Guess which number I chose?

Dry ripe puer tea brick

Dry ripe puer tea brick

I was fully expecting to be getting a bag of sheng, but the we don’t always get what we want. I opened the package and found a tightly pressed shu brick with a dimple from the press. The smell of dui [pile smell] was faint, but the other fragrances were strong enough to indicate that it was pressed within the last few years. Something like a mix of wood with perfume and compost. Not exactly what I was craving, but rather than give the finger to the number gods, I decided to just drink the ripe tea.

Rinse puerh tea

Rinse the dense brick

The remaining dui smell is gone by the second steep. The remaining flavors are smooth and woody. The red fruit fragrance i smelled on the dry leaves and the lid of the gaiwan does not show up in the mouth, but it is still very nice, and maybe better off. If there were additional flavors in the mix, the softness of the wood flavor might be lost in a battle.

A shadow of sweetness is left in the mouth after drinking. Not really huigan in the raw tea sense, but some tiny sweetness in the mouth and on the tongue.

cha tang se

The dark brew lasted well over ten steeps

And here were are at the last paragraph, the rain has stopped and the sun is finally out at 5:30 PM. After looking in the records of my teachat – our mystery tea is, and I shall quote Mr.Chengducha:

2012 Brick shu pu – Great taste, very stable. (my local dealer still has a big stash of this if you want some)

Most of my guesses were close, I would have guessed 2011. In general, shu is not as difficult to guess as sheng, as it tends towards uniformity.  Some additional notes, now that I have seen his, I agree it is very stable. Split between two people we went for easily over 10 steeps. I liked the tea more as it went on. The fragrances were subdued and the feeling of warming smoothness took precedence. Overall a very nice shu.

tea tray

The leaves in the gaiwan and the tea itself

And for the record, I did not add the dealer or stash to that sentence. Seems it was drugs after all.

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2 Responses to “Mystery Sample #2”

  1. TwoDog2 June 12, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Is it just me? Or does everyone have this bin of banished samples? I have too many teas to drink. I do get to them eventually though

  2. ChengduCha June 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Your guess of 2011 might be right material wise. It was probably just pressed in 2012.

    It’s the cheapest house brand shu from Gong Dao Fang ( http://www.mbxdcha.cn/ ) at 80RMB per brick (less if you buy more than 5), which is good value in my opinion. Their more expensive cakes are stronger in the flavor department, but the “cha qi” is best with this one for some reason.

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