Saturday, February 17, 2007
2004 Xia Guan Toucha 100g
This is the 2004 "Te Ji" (Superior Grade) toucha from Xia Guan Tea Factory which was noted in the "First Steps to Chinese Pu-erh Tea" as being a notiable choice for collectors. Previously, the Xia Guan Factory had considered a the "Jia Ji" toucha as its higher grade leaf blend. However, the "Te Ji" toucha is now designated as its factory's flagship toucha offering.
The Xia Guan Factory first introduced the "Te Ji" or Best Grade Tuo (Bird's Nest) Cha in 2003. However, the 2004 is the first series of Xia Guan products to have incorporated on its bag antifraud micro-print with the words "Xia Guan" in an effort to frustrate would-be counterfeiters.
My first initial impression was that it was going to be a smoky brew when the first waves of its pungent smoky aroma had registered. It had seemed that it had not mellowed with almost 3 years of aging. The leaves were nice and tight, with silvery buds intermingling with the green pu-erh leaves. It looked typical for a toucha. Unfortunatly, with very little signs of aging.
Source - Hou De Asian Art
Water-Bottle spring water, generic brand. Source of water Lafayette Springs, WS
Amount – 5g
Water Temp - Boil then cooled for 2 breaths
Method - Gongfu
Brewing Vessle - Yixing Teapot 150ml
First Infusion - Smoky yet floral with an undertone of rubber as it cooled.
Taste - Slighlty bitter, however not as bitter as I thought it would be for being so young; nutty with a lasting finish.
Second Infusion -
Aroma - Smoke and rubber has waned some; floral notes are now more pronounced.
Taste - Bitter on the back of the tongue; still playfully nutty with rubber notes comming through.
Third Infusion -
Aroma - Floral notes still present, smelling more "tea" now. Smoke is completely gone, however the rubber notes are still there albeit faint.
Taste - Wow, more rubber, wasn't expecting that since its not as noticeable in the aroma! Taste is very thick and lingering; floral notes are now mostly cascading in to rubber tones, but marrying well with the "tea" notes.
Spent Leaves -
Nice looking leaves which I would expect from a Te Ji label. Very nice and healthy plantation leaves.
Its aging potential is not in question. However, from my initial inspection, the toucha did not look much different that others which I have of newer vintage. My assumptions were proven incorrect with the first taste. At first I assumed that the smoke would permeate the entire session, but to my suprise it was not a factor. Furthermore, the liquor was a deeper golden hue than that of a newer pu-erh which is also indicative of some aging. In opinion still too young to drink and to recieve any substantial pleasure. However, with the notes that I had tasted, it was a great investment and will age nicely. I believe they will compete very well with other touchas on the market today that cost more. Good find!