Puer tea

2007 Bai Cha Tang 3rd Generation Iron Cake

Bai Cha Tang Puer

Bai Cha Tang (百茶堂) is a brand that I had yet to delve into, until a suggestion from Shah (of teachat fame). From what I have read, this cake is a middle of the road entry point to their productions – not old or precious, but still quite good. This cakes proper name is sandai [third generation] tiebing [iron cake] , which boasts gushu [old arbor] material. As you can see from the leaves below, they are typical of an tiebing (see: pressed into oblivion).

Baichatang Puer
Dry leaves from the tight iron cake

Sweet aged smell coming off of the leaves. The friend who sent me this puer was in Guangzhou, but I think this cake spent some of its life in Kunming. The Guangzhou storage shows, as its age is more apparent than say, this 7542 i recently reviewed, with twice its age.

Bai cha tang Puer
The medium aged soup

As one would expect with a tiebing, it takes a little while to gear up. The aged flavor is accompanied by balanced kuwei [pleasant bitterness] and a thick coating in the throat and mouth. The tea also had a noticeable qi [mystical voodoo magic or body calm].

Baicha tang Puer
A view of the gaiwan and a later steeping

As you can see, the gaiwan was stuffed. The tea carried on for an impressive 20 steeps, which was partly due to the 10g-12g in the gaiwan and partly due to the puer itself. Midway through this marathon session there was a vibrancy on my lips and huigan [sweet aftertaste], both of which were pleasant. This tea just marked its fifth birthday and seems to have plenty of potential for further aging.

wet puer tea leaves
The spent leaves

The tea is not exactly pretty, but when the tea is good, I tend not to care about such superficial things. I will keep an eye out  for some Baichatang cakes to add to my own coffers, they are fairly reasonably priced and well made.

A random note: this blog post of a 2008 Bai Cha Tang 3rd Gen Tiebing turned up in my searching and it interested me because the author’s leaves were so much larger than mine and mostly unbroken! It could be that the samples I had were broken off haphazardly or that my cake was just more heavily chopped. Who knows. Seems that author of the seemingly defunct blog  enjoyed the cake too.

Read More

Tea Blog

2012 Wild Tree Purple Tea of Dehong Puer – YS

The Puer section of Tea chat forum (mostly debunix and myself) had a little discussion involving both the Yi Wu Purple Tea 2012 from Yunnan Sourcing, and the focus of this post, the Wild Tree Purple Tea of Dehong 2012. While both puer teas share a deep purple exterior, that is where their commonalities end.

 

Dry Purple Puerh Tea from Dehong
Dry Purple Puer Tea from Dehong

The dried leaves are Deep Purple. ( Not Purple Rain purple. )

Brewing Puer Tea
Cleanin’ n’ Pourin’

After the clean, the gaiwan smells like smoked meats. Savory and thick. It’s an oddly pleasant smell that stirs hunger and desire for scrambled eggs. The soup itself smells of pine. Side note, I filled my yixing pot with the soup after I was finished drinking, and left it open to the air. When I returned at the end of the day, the whole room smelled of pine and puer.

cuppa tea
The golden liquor, thrown off by the celadon cup

The first cup is smokey, but in a very pleasant way. It is neither harsh, nor aggressive, like a young Xiaguan. The smokeyness seems to be more of an inherited flavor, than an addition – meaning, the smoke does not appear to come from a charcoal fire near the leaves during processing. It’s not so much the feeling of smoke (which can tense the throat) as it is the flavor of smokeyness.

After about the 4th steep, I decided the soup was a little thin and began eying the remaining 4 grams of puer left in my sample. I thought to myself, “What the hell am I going to do with 4 grams of puer?” It’s the dilemma we have all faced. You have managed to eat 6 of 8 pieces of pizza, and are fairly full, but decide to choose gluttony and regret over prudence and clean living. Those last two pieces are not quite lunch for tomorrow, and the impending stomachache does not get factored in to the decision.

Gaiwan full of tea
Gaiwan with an unreasonable amount of tea

I crammed topped off my gaiwan with the remaining 4 grams. I stand by my decision.The next few steeps took a bit of tweaking before it reached a comfortable place. Somewhere in those steeps was a smoked sausage brew that was quite nice, albeit a bit heavy. I eventually settled on some quick 7-8 seconds steeps, and the remainder of the session was quite enjoyable.This cake has plenty of punch – even without an overstuffed gaiwan. It has a youthful edge, but some age will likely turn this into a very drinkable cake. It is already drinkable, and for puer drinkers who crave savory smoke, it is solid.
400 gram cakes retail at Yunnan Sourcing for $25, which is a fine price for a sizable amount of good tea.

Puerh tea
A thick over brew – this porridge is jussssst right.

 

 

Read More