28 September 2011

2005? Haiwan Lao Tongzhi Sheng Bing (wet stored)

"Lao Tongzhi" (老同志) can mean one of two things: "old comrade", as intended by this brand name, or "old homosexual", in Chinese slang. I would really like to make a pu'er cake under the brand "Old Homosexual" and have a pic of Rip Taylor smiling, perhaps confetti would dot the paper. I don't think the Chinese would get it, though.
I think it could work, no?

This sample comes to me courtesy of MarshalN, whom I begged for a sample because I happen to own a similar cake from the year before. I wanted a glimpse into the future. The moldy future, as per the frosty leaf below:

2005 Haiwan Lao Tongzhi Sheng Bing (Traditional Storage) - dry leaf

This traditionally stored tea went through its time at a wet storage warehouse, and its release into the market is perhaps premature. Generally, these teas are wet stored for 2 years and then aired out for another long period, perhaps as much as 6 to 10 years or more. 2005 plus 2 is 2007, plus 6 is 2013. But here it is, our little premie, forced into our world still frosted with mold.

In 2005, this cake was known for being a punch-you-in-the-mouth (ow!) sheng pu, powerful, bitter, complex, and with a long aftertaste. And now...?

2005 Haiwan Lao Tongzhi Sheng Bing (Traditional Storage) - brewed

The first two infusions are mostly mold taste, with some tea flavor appearing when cool. The more interesting flavors appear thereafter, but with the mold taste ever-present above them. It's strong but more like a slap (I demand satisfaction, sir!) than a punch, to keep my violent metaphor going. The "soup" is nicely thick and the aftertaste and afteraroma are decently long. It even lingers at the root of the tongue.

It pleased me to see this tea change into something drinkable and enjoyable, moldiness aside. It would do better with drier storage, and so I'm looking forward to tasting mine again soon to see how it compares.

2005 Haiwan Lao Tongzhi Sheng Bing (Traditional Storage) - brewed leaf

From the brewed leaves as pictured above, it seems the storage was not too wet; the leaves have not carbonized, and they retain their tenderness and flexibility.


CloudMountain said...

Nothing tastes finer than Haiwan Old Homosexual!

Bearsbearsbears said...

@Cloud Tastes great, if slightly fruity! :D

Marlonm said...

Can you explain what you mean by "carbonized"?

Bearsbearsbears said...

Carbonization: if a pu'er is stored really wet, perhaps too wet of storage, or even in traditional storage too long, the leaves turn black, stop being supple and get instead become leathery, tough and brittle.

Axel @ Pu Erh Tee said...

lol - I'd buy an Old Homosexual bing cha pu erh any day ;-)
Personally, I'm very unforgiving of moldy flavors, so this tea wouldn't be for me, despite the long aftertaste (which I love).

Bearsbearsbears said...

@Axel it could definitely use at least a few more years in drier conditions to air out and dissipate the mold smell/flavor.

Re: Old Homosexual, I think a private pressing is in order! :)