Saturday, March 15, 2008

2006 Bai Cha Tang 7th Generation 400g



Factory Information

Bai Cha Tang puerh is the brain child of Mr. Ai Tian. Mr. Tian, who is also the factories tea master, is not just producing puerh to leave his mark on the puerh world, but is also on a personal quest to bring puerh back to its pre 2001 standards when quality and not quantity were paramount. He is intimately involved in all aspects of the puerh process and uses his 20 years of production knowledge to insure that his products are produced with the up most care and quaility. Mr. Tian takes puerh so seriously he purposely leaves a barrel outside the factory gates so that when he personally identifies a “fake” product, he will subsequently label the inappropriate puerh and throws it away for all of the community to see. ( There has been some concern about of some factories producing puerh using mao cha outside the Yunnan area and issues of counterfeiting due to the enormous demands of the market.)

Though relatively new on the market, his products have already made some headway in the puerh world with competition wins such as his win at the China's Tea Cup competition last year with his 3rd generation cake. For further information on counterfeiting

Product Information

The 7th generation cake is a high end product of Mr. Tian’s arbor tea series line-up. The beeng is said to be made of Ancient wild, sun dried premium Mengku broad-leaved material from Lincang which were subsequently pressed using the traditional method of a stone mold.

Initial Inspection

The beeng omitted a strong and pungent odor of puerh. From the odor alone I could anticipate that I was in for a delightful gongfu session - I hope. Lately, most pu-erhs have not been very aromatic, where products of the Lincang area just for the most part falling below par. However, the 7th Generation seems to take what is best of the quintessential puerh smell and amplifies them with virtually now smoke. Although abundant honey and florally in character, the aroma seems to be put in check with its abundant rubber hints. The leaves appear to be healthy, and of choice. It was evident from the compaction that it was indeed stone pressed. Nice surprise.


Brewing Parameters

Vendor - Dragon Tea Horse Ebay Vendor

Water-Bottle spring water, generic brand. Source of water Lafayette Springs, WS

Amount – 5.6g

Water Temp - Boil then cooled for 2 breaths

Brewing Vessel - Yixing Teapot 150ml

Method – Gongfu

Infusion times
1-15s
2-12s
3-16s
4-22s
5-35s
6-50s
7-60s


Tasting




First Infusion

Aroma - It appears that the dry smell carried itself into the liquor. It has pronounced honey and floral notes that were laced in a pleasant rubber smell. As the liquor cooled in the sniffer, the notes all transformed into a wonderful musk.

Taste - The liquor was virtually free of any prounounced bitterness that you would find in a young sheng. Although the tea did have a nice huigan, it was unfortnately not as lasting as I would of liked. There appears to be a slight melon flavor at the end of the swallow when the air hits the back of the throat as I breath in.

Second Infusion

Aroma - The floral notes has dissapated somewhat, but still noticeable. Hints of rubber were enveloped in a hint of grass. The musk is still noticeable as the liquor cools.

Taste - There appears to be a more noticeable astringency but not unpalatable. In fact, it keeps the flavors bright. The chayun is now alerting my other senses. The sides of my tongue are tingling while the back of my throat and the roof of my mouth are pleasantly warm.

Third Infusion

Aroma - Again, honey and rubber with more noticeble woody notes. I love the musk scent.

Taste - The huigan is at full throttle. Nice and lasting. The chayun is still making this gongfu session quite active. The flavor profile is very much consistant with the previous notes although to my suprise there seems to be a flutter or berry. The sides of my tongue are now numb but not in an offending way. The flavors are now thick on my breath as I breath in and out. Nice!


Spent Leaves



The leaves look like a good combination of leave vs buds. Nice robust veins which may be indicative of a wild variety.

Final Impressions

I do like this pu-erh. Its aroma and its flavor profile were nice and thick. The liquor has a decent viscosity which is always nice. I generally get a tired sensation if the liquor is flimsy. I did feel the qi after the 3rd infusion. My knees started to hum a bit and I started to perspire. I even had to open my window in 32F weather in order to continue. The taste was reminiscent of the MengKu area which in my opinion generally have more of a longer lasting wood and rubbery taste. The activity in my mouth did remind me of the ancient leaf variety. As with most pu-erhs, it is impossible to know with any degree of certainty if it is made of entirely ancient arbor material. However, the behavior of the tea did indicate that it may well be. Nice.

Sources: Gordon of the Dragon Tea House

12 comments:

Brent said...

Thanks for the great post, Bill! Sounds delicious. :)

Salsero said...

This cake sounds quite lovely and Gordon's photos of it on his site are a delight to look at. The leaves look especially green in color, it seems more so than many other young cakes. What do you think accounts for the lovely green? The 3rd generation Bai Cha Tang cake on Gordon's site looks like it is composed of two colors: yellow green leaves and dark brown, almost indigo, leaves. http://cgi.ebay.com/Bai-Cha-Tang-3rd-Generation-Iron-Cake-2007-400g-Raw_W0QQitemZ280140901892QQihZ018QQcategoryZ38181QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1713.m153.l1262 Why such variety of colors in young cakes? Is it an indication of quality?

Bill said...

Thank Brent!

Sal, I believe the green really has nothing to do with the puerh itself. Perhaps, it is his own photography since it did not have this color in my example.

As for the 3rd Generation colors, it is possibly due to a blend of area material. For instance, ancient tea leaves are said to be the darker than plantation material. Also the yellow leaves are generally due to leaf itself after it has been picked. Perhaps, letting the leaves sit in baskets, improper drying, or a defict in processing such as in the "kill green" stage. I have never personally seen a yellow type leaf that was natural other than "yellow tea".

Bill

Hobbes said...

Dear Bill,

Fantastic shots, and I love the detailed research you put into the tea factories - you're always my first stop for factory information. This tea sounds interesting; I'll give it a go, thanks!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Bill said...

Thanks Hobbes! I really appreciate that. I think adding factory research adds to the appreciation of the puerh. It makes it more of an intimate affair.

Cheers!

Hop

Michel said...

Great post!

It's great to hear of something that stirrs..

Bill said...

Thanks Michel,

It indeed was a delightful surpise when compared to the other young shengs I have been tasting.

It was nice!

Bill

Yudy said...

Hi Bill, nice to read your post again.
Your article is very tempting.
Been very tempted to try a decent Puehr ^-^
Yudy

Bill said...

Dear Yudy,

I hope all is well. Yes, I quite enjoyed this particular tea. It is nicely done compared to some of the swill out on the market.

I also think it will age nicely as well.

Bill

Sherab Chen 智音 said...

I'm so glad to see you were trying a new cake! From salsero's comment, I also learned a little more about this product. I'm impressed by your knowledge and skill on puerh tea testing! and good demonstration.

Bill said...

Thank you very much Sherab. I did find this tea interesting.

Tea Escapade said...

WOW! I have read that the quality of tea is based upon the size of its leaves, but WOW! These tea leaves put my little tea leaves to shame!

I certainly appreciate your knowledge and research. I have been shopping for tea in all the wrong places.

Home Set Up

Tea should be simple. I typically brew gongfu except when I make a good English Breakfast. Zhuni pot is one that I dedicate to Chinese b...