Friday, August 17, 2007

2001 XiaGuan CangEr Tuocha 250g 'First Edition'


Cangshan Mountains






Product Research

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.

Interesting TidBit

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.


Initial Impressions

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.


Brewing Parameters


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

Infusion times
1-15s
2-12s
3-16s
4-19s
5-24s
6-35s
7-40s
8-50s

First Infusion

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.

Second Infusion

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.

Third Infusion

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.

Spent Leaves




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.


Overall Impressions

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.

Sources:

Photo - english.cri.cn
Email exchanges from Houde Asian Art
puertea.info.com

5 comments:

Michel said...

Bill

Why do you still buy Xiaguan, no matter what they say, it's only mildly better than the te ji, etc.
But malboro light is stil Malboro and diet coke still coke even if it has added vitamins and minerals.

95% is not worth it so forget Xiaguan, it is just never reliable,
there only 3 Menghais that are worth it according to me and mabe 2 haiwans, and 2 Menkgu's a few independant pu ehrs,..1or 2 feng quing's,only one or 2 chang tai's some red and orange marks and the Mengyang guoyan brand.
the rest is an absolute waiste of time.

F**K Xiaguan,- I burnt my stash.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Hello Michel,

I do agree with you that today's puerh factories are producing pu-erh for a "mass" market and that after 2003 quality has definitely suffered; XiaGuan, sadly to say is no exception. I have looked for quality beengs that I can purchase at a reasonable price, and currently, I've become quite comfortable investing in Guoyan as one can probably assume from my posts. I can read your discontent with XiaGuan, and believe me I've become no less disillusioned with their products than you have. Again, Michel thanks for reading

Michel said...

bill
for what it's worth, and that's for your good jugement to see I will today make a small packet for you, with some of my better pu ehrs.

Bill said...

Hello Michel,

Thank you for your generous offer. I would be interested to see what you have selected :)

Please send me an email at

ancientteahorseroad@gmail.com and I will send you my address.

Ciao