01 September 2008

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo...

Jadecicada on the Puerh Livejournal kindly sent me a sample of a "mystery" Xiaguan factory tuo cha. She wanted some users' thoughts on the tea, its age, etc. So, here are my thoughts, with many thanks to the cicada, whose six little legs did a great job posting the sample.

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo, dry leaves

The tuo underwent some wet storage before making its way to California, where it was supposedly sourced. Visually, the thin strands of white fluff on the leaves detail the wet storage:

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo, dry leaf closeup

Despite its appearance on the leaf, the mold left no trace in the flavor of the tea and only a residue in the aroma. Sweet, smooth, woody, and with a long aftertaste in both early and late infusions, I was impressed. Wet enough to have aged the tea significantly, but dry enough to maintain a complex flavor profile and the floral elements of younger Xiaguan teas, the storage seemed on target: the tea was balanced. Better yet, it was easy to brew and a charm to drink.

Mystery Xiaguan Tuo - brewed leaves

I shared it with two others, and all of us began to sweat. One had never had aged sheng pu'er before, and drank his portion even faster than the two of us who knew what it was, and we hadn't told him a thing. His novice enthusiasm for the tea was a good sign of its quality.

All in all, you can't buy a better aged pu'er for $8 anywhere. A great find, and I hope the retailer stocks more, cuz I'd like to have the Cicada ship me a whole tuo...

My guesses: Early to mid-1990s sheng tuo, mildly wet stored.

1 comment:

Salsero said...

I got out the 20x magnifier and scrutinized the remaining half of my sample. I found two or three spots where maybe there were dots of mold. Could that mean that my sample came from deeper in the tuo?

Nice review, Bears, with your trademark fabulous photos. Thanks.