Tuesday, August 7, 2007
2005 Private Reserve Yiwu Arbor Pu-erh Tea Brick
This Private Reserve was produced by the Yiwu Longma Tea Co. Ltd. in 2005. It is labeled as a "kilo" tea brick since it is an astonishing 870g. It is said to be composed of pure wild arbor from the YiWu mountain, claiming that it is one of the most authentic representations of a wild arbor pu on the market today.
One interesting note about this particular zhuancha is that the brick is not accompanied with a nefei or wrapper. I have surmised two possible theories for why this can occur 1) As a Private Reserve batch, it is possible that the brick was produced for a vendor who was subsequently going to to add their own identification marks later but didn't for some reason. 2) The Longma company decided not to add them as away of being more cost effective. Cotton paper with specialized print can become very expensive for a small factory. However, your guesses are as good as mine. Nonetheless, it is definitely an interesting find since I have never tasted a shupu that is made of YiWu wild arbor.
Initial Impressions -
The leaves were were large and bold. I can assume that they are Autumn leaves from their general size. Typically, Autumn leaves are the largest of the harvest seasons. They are not heavily rolled or masticated from the wòdūi process, and in fact, you can literally see intact leaves which is quite interesting for a shupu in my opinion. Furthermore, the leaves seem to have been pressed in a traditional "handmade" manner since the leaves can be separated easily and are not heavily compacted.
Vendor - Puerh Shop
Factory - YiWu Longma Tea Factory
Water - Bottle spring water, generic brand. Source of water Lafayette
Amount – 5.9 gm
Water temp - Boil
Method - Gongfu/2 washes
Brewing Vessel - Yixing Teapot 150ml
The first thing that I had noticed was that the liquor was quite smooth and mellow with an aged feel to it. It had a light camphor and woody taste, which lasted quite long on the palate. Quite soothing.
In my humble opinion, it tastes more like an aged semi-ripe pu than a shupu. This of course was definitely a surprise.
The liquor was quite silky and thick which coated the throat nicely. The lasting flavor emanated from my mouth and nostrils long after the swallow; very unusual for a shupu.
The subsequent infusion became peppery which really brought out the camphor and wood notes.
The liquor was crystal clear and a beautiful amber which did not change much after multiple infusions.
As you can see, the leaves are quite intact for a shupu. As stated above, my inclination is that they are from the Autumn season.
When you handle the leaves with your fingers, they seem to be quite strong and not easily torn. This could suggest that the zhuancha is a made of bolder leaf such that of a wild type. Of course it is difficult to suggest with complete certainty that the leaves are wild arbor, but the thick leaves do lead me to believe that it is a great possibility.
This shupu was an interesting find. In my opinion it is definitely a wonderful example of the potential of shupu. The liquor was quite subtle, yet had enough complexity to keep your interest throughout the session. As a result, the session did not become blasé which can happen with many shupus on the market