Puer Tea Blog

2010 Fujin Cangpin Qingbing

The last Fujin puer, for now…

After reviewing my last post, it was apparent that I am lacking enthusiasm for reviewing these Fujin teas. So, for the sake of sparing my own sanity, this is the last Fujin puer review i will be posting for awhile.

The 2010 Fujin Cangpin Qingbing claims to contain spring Banzhang material. It retails between USD 50-100, depending on your dealer, about half the price of the 2010 Diancang. I do not care to speculate on what the material is exactly, but at least they did not add a lao [old] in front of the Banzhang. This cake did at least bear some vague resemblance to Banzhang tea, so, who am i to judge?

Fujin Puer Tea
Dry Fujin puer

Again, tightly pressed, factory, yada yada yada.

Tea Gaiwan
Gaiwan full of tea

Early in the session this tea had some enjoyable vibrancy dancing around on the tongue and lips. The first few steeps had some wonderful floral smoothness that coated my throat and mouth. Unfortunately, midway through the session, these lovely traits vanished.

Puer sessions are a bit like a 400m race. The unsuccessful runner blows their energy in the first 50 meters and can not make it to the finish line. This particular Fujin puer is a great sprinter.

Tea cup
Soup in the cup

The tea yielded a lovely golden liquor. I was steeping into the several minute range fairly early in the session in order to coax out some more of the character that was lurking in the leaves. I have had this similar experience with other Fujin puer.

The qi [energy] that was around in the early brews disappeared later on, along with the huigan [sweet aftertaste] and throat feel. It became harsh in the throat, despite having a coated mouth feel throughout the session.

Spent Puer Tea
A look at the spent Fujin Qingbing leaves

In an perfect world, the sprint speed of the early session would have carried on until the end, but sprinters and marathoners are different beasts.

Note: To those readers who saw my mourning of Cel A’ Don (2008-2012), you will notice the photos above show him as a younger, more viral lid. The next few posts are teas from a few weeks ago, before he met his untimely demise. I mean no disrespect to his family and appreciate his service. Let these next few posts honor his memory
Fujin Puer

2010 Fujin Diancang Raw Puer

Fujin Raw Puer Extravaganza

More Fujin raw puer, in a continuation of samples from the 2006 Fujin Bulang. This tea is younger than the Bulang, but commands a higher price. As I noted in my earlier article, Fujin is quite well known for having ambitious pricing. This particular cake, the dian cang [典藏] is translated to mean; a repository of items of cultural significance. Well, alright then…

Raw puer Fujin
Dry 2012 Fujin Puer tea

The dry leaves were again tightly compressed, and looked typical of a sizeable factory production. There was a smell of raw tobacco, and a bit of stank. The chunk that I brewed off of this cake was also quite tippy.

Puer tea
A look at the youngish liquor

 

The first few steeps were dormant and the tea took awhile to open up. The young raw puer taste of tobacco and bitterness arrived soon after, along with a bit of harshness in the throat, presumably due to its age. In my notebook I drew a big arrow from steeps 5-9 and wrote:

No change, monotonous

I did note that when I pushed hard and oversteeped late in the session, there was some maltyness that came out, but that was not enough to bring to the tea into my good graces.  The spent leaves looked fairly healthy, and the cake did have enough strength to have potential for aging.

puer tea leaf
A leaf with a bug bite

I probably won’t revisit this tea in the near future. In the meantime, hopefully the guardians of cultural relics will tend to its aging and be kind enough to break me off a chunk in a decade. As noted above, Fujin prices are steep – this cake retails on taobao for 1200 RMB- 2000 RMB (~USD 190- USD315), depending on the vendor. It is not on my shopping list.

Raw puer
A look at the whole and healthy spent leaves
tea blog

2006 Fujin Bulang Qingbing (Raw Puer)

Puer & Branding

I have owned several Apple computers in my day. Several of my PC fanboy friends would deride my decision to purchase with valid points ranging from software incompatibility to lack of gaming options, but their loudest complaint was always the same; price. When a brand offers a quality product and sells it for a premium, my American heritage has taught me to applaud the unabashed capitalist profit margins. I never minded paying extra for my computers, or my puer, if it offers something special. The design was sleek, I liked the OS, and I could always play games elsewhere. I felt like the mark up was worth it. The brand was offering me something. Segue to:

A friend recently sent me me several Fujin (福今) factory cakes, ranging from the mid 2000’s through 2012. Fujin’s prices are in the Apple mark up range, but with the added value of a Hewlett Packard. I have had a dozen or so Fujin cakes, and my experience has always been roughly the same; the cake is alright, and there is a cheaper option out there for 1/3 of the price with comparable quality. Now that I am done getting on my soap box regarding my gripes against Fujin, let me take a look at the positives:

  1. They have an attractive logo
  2. This is a decent example of a Bulang puer
  3. I really do enjoy their logo

One of the first cakes I sampled was this 2006 Bulang Qingbing. In a whirlwind of 2006 Bulang tea, Fujin produced at least four that I know of; a ripe cake, this raw cake (qingbing), and a high grade raw cake, which retails around 1800 RMB (~$300) and a Bulang chawang [tea king] brick that sells for even more than that.  (Some outlets price it upwards of $600)

On to the Puer…

Puer from Fujin factory
Dry leaves from the 2006 Bulang cake

The leaves are a medium darkness for their age, and smell very Bulangy ©.

Puer liquor
A look at the Bulang soup

My favorite part of this tea was the smell of smoked trout that came off of the leaves after the wash. It’s not often that I have memories of eating brook trout conjured up during puer sessions. The leaves were very tightly packed, and the third steep was still a bit subdued. After the leaves finally opened up, they revealed a relatively smooth smoke. Something like a  70/30 balance of smooth vs. harsh. This is will probably smooth out over further aging.

Puer tea in the cup
Another look at the soup

Later in the session there was an undercurrent of sweetness, with leather and tobacco throughout. Around steep ten I decided to do a 10 minute oversteep and, surprisingly, there was very little change in the character of the tea with only an increase in density. It mostly remained the same throughout the session.

Puer tea blog pic
Soup in the gaiwan

Overall, this is a pretty standard representation of a factory production Bulang mountain tea. Lots of chop, tightly pressed cake, average material with decent staying power. The Fujin brand has plenty of loyalists, but I do not count myself amongst them. However, I am also not a detractor of their teas. This cake is decent, but not quite my taste, and certainly not a value cake.

Fujin is a well known brand, and brand names come at a price.

Spent puer leaves
Spent Bulang leaves from Fujin factory