In 1959 and then again in 1979, the XiaGuan Tea Factory had produced an ultra high grade tuo to celebrate the 10th and 20th anniversaries of the establishment of the Peoples' Republic of China. The CangEr Tuocha, so cleverly named for the Cangshan mountains and the ErHai Lake that beautify Dali's landscape. This particular tuo was first specifically produced to present as gifts to visiting foreign dignitaries and as a special purchase for the Chinese people as a way to commemorate each occasion.
However in 2001, Mr. Kuo of the FeiTai Company which produces the XiaGuan "FT" Brand for export to Taiwan had commissioned XiaGuan to once more produce the CangEr tuo in accordance to the original 59' and 79' recipe.
XiaGuan, noticing the popularity of the 2001 CangEr tuo decided to continue its production, however the subsequent productions years, were not ordered by Mr. Kuo.
It is said by some around the tea kettle that Mr. Kuo was a gangster member who fled to China's Mainland as a consequence of being on Taiwan's Wanted list and later founded the Fei Tai Company.
It is quite obvious that the tuo's leaves have slightly aged to some extent; the leaves give off a wonderfully strong aroma. It is very evident that silver buds are part of the recipe as they are clearly visable.
Water-Bottle spring water, generic brand. Source of water Lafayette Springs, WS
Amount – 4g
Water Temp - Boil then cooled for 2 breaths
Method - Gongfu
Brewing Vessel - Yixing Teapot 120ml
Aroma - A pronounced honey and floral aroma; their still seems to be greenness in the aroma.
Taste - Buttery with metallic notes; a lingering and crisp floral finish; not as thick as I would of suspected; there is a nice acidity that keeps the taste crisp and active palate.
Aroma - The second infusion still has the same notes as the previous, however, the notes appear to be a bit more spicy. It is hard to peg exactly what is emanating from my sniffer cup other than a savory scent. Quite interesting.
Taste - The liquor has become somewhat sweet with a slight hint of tobacco this time; the bitterness seems to be diminishing, however I can still feel the residual effect on my tongue. The viscosity seems to be somewhat on the thinner side; there appears to be a slight citric zest in the finish.
Aroma - It appears to be as the previous with variable differences, however, this time there appears to be a hint of mint.
Taste - The taste is consistent but has become more savory. The liquor has sadly become quite flimsy. Although it the flavors are quite nice, it is quite dim. I can only equate it to drinking a soda with no carbonation.
It appears that the leaves are nice tender spring plantation leaves. They appear to be quite healthy an consistent with the recipes claim of 1 and 2 grade leaves.
The CangEr tuo was flavorful, however the thickness of the liquor was disappointing, and at times I felt I was drinking flavored water instead of a supposed rich and slightly aged pu. Although it did have a slight aged feel to it, it was not as significant as other tuos which I have in my collection that are even younger. Only the first 3 infusions were lively. This said, I am not ready to say "NO" just yet to this tuo as I did enjoy its flavors which frankly IMO disapated quite fast in the subeseqent infusions. However, I believe that adding more leaf next time might remedy to some extent some of its deficiencies.
It is my understanding that many out in the pu drinking world have debated whether or not the price of the 2001 CangEr iS worth the price; on this particular occasion, sadly I must say no. I did expect more from the infamous 2001 CangEr Tuocha. Perhaps in a couple of years, my mind will change.
Photo - english.cri.cn
Email exchanges from Houde Asian Art