Monday, November 25, 2013
I made an order from teaurchin.com. I selected a pu erh tea cake and a tea caddy. Making a selection from Teaurchin's website was simple. Payment was made through Paypal site. My order arrived on 19 Nov, exactly 19 days from placing my order.
I choose a 2013 Bao Tang Pu erh which Eugene and Belle, the proprietors of Teaurchin, had went personally to Yunnan to source this tea. Eugene warned me in a handwritten note that this tea 'packs a wallop'. I had also purchased a tea caddy as well. The unusual design of this tea caddy was simply too irresistible.
The above pix shows the secure packing of the items I had ordered. Yes, Eugene did include a complimentary tea sample and a pu erh pick. The sample was a 2013 Yiwu Year of Snake pu erh tea which Teaurchin had produced. I brewed the sample and found this tea, to my surprise, very drinkable.....no bitterness or astringency. I felt that the tea had very nice floral notes and a nice sweetish aftertaste. A refreshing tea.
This order came up to US$127 (pu erh $58, tea caddy $49, air freight $20).
Monday, November 18, 2013
Rougui is a name of a chinese cooking herb that taste like cinnamon. I do not know why this particular oolong is called Rougui. It is however amusing to note that a couple of online teashops describing their Rougui in their store as 'taste and smell like spicy cinnamon'.
Rougui oolong does not taste spicy or has any cinnamon aroma. It however has a very pleasant highly aromatic floral scent that stays in the mouth for some time after you had drank a cup of Rougui. I could detect some woody notes that nicely complemented the floral scent of the tea.
Rougui is a very popular oolong in China and the better rougui teas are known to be expensive. Rougui oolong is primarily called Wuyi Rougui as the tea leaves are primarily harvested from the Wuyi region in Fujian, China.
Pix 1-3 shows a tin of Rougui produced by Fujian Tea Import & Export Co Ltd. This 125g tea locally retails around US$25. I have a Rougui tea drinker that recommended me to buy this tin as he felt that the Rougui was of good quality for its price. While brewing this tea, my daughter could detect this sweet floral scent from quite a distance and even asked for a cup of tea.
Pix 4-5 showed a gift I had received from a Guangzhou tea friend. This Rougui was produced in the 90s, is based on a 1989 Rougui processing method. I have no idea of the taste. Must be good, I suppose. But....I am keeping this 50g pack of tea, unopened in its original factory sealed wrapper.
Monday, November 11, 2013
For many pu erh tea drinkers round the world, pu erh stored in Hong Kong (HK) is a subject of interest that is commonly discussed over a cup of tea, in internet forums and in teashops. Traditional Hong Kong stored pu erh is..... pu erh that has been stored in Hong Kong warehouses where the humidity is much higher than a regular Hong Kong home. These warehouses are usually located away from the city and may even be found in the countryside. These warehouses, I was told, are only opened when the teashops add or remove pu erh stocks. As a result, the pu erh are stored in an enclosed warehouse or room, and the higher humidity had helped developed this Hong Kong stored tea. Hong Kong tea drinkers had nicknamed this tea as "yap chong" pu erh - literally pu erh tea that 'had entered a warehouse'.
The difference in this traditional HK stored tea is in the taste and aroma. The pu erh tasted older and more mature for its age. I had purchased a '06 CNNP ripe cake (see pix) in HK 2 years ago that is traditionally stored. The tea, tasted and felt more like a very old tea.....something like older than a 10-15 year old pu erh. It closely resembled an old ripe tea......aroma of the tea was an old, slightly musty wooden scent. The taste was very mellow and very pleasant to drink. I had also just finished a traditional HK stored raw pu erh and that tea had an old, wooden matured taste. It is my opinion that such storage in an enclosed high humidity room had accelerated the aging of the pu erh tea.
Wow! Wouldn't tea drinkers round the world rush to buy such HK traditional stored Pu erh teas? It is cheaper than real old aged pu erh. I had paid about US$50 for this '06 ripe cake (see and click on the above pix).
However......such teas are not aged tea. Yes, the taste somewhat resembled the very old aged pu erh that tea drinkers and collectors enjoy, but I would like to emphasize the word : "resembled'. The taste and aroma is close, in my opinion about 60% close. My opinion is that for such traditional HK stored tea....the herbal characteristic is much lower and for raw pu erh tea, the aroma and taste are not as pronounced as old aged raw pu erh tea. I could detect a very mild hint of dampness in the tea which I suppose is the reason why some pu erh tea drinkers do no like such tea. It is an acquired taste. I find that drinking HK traditional stored tea tasted best when hot or warm but is unpleasant when the tea had cooled down.
It is important that pu erh tea drinkers are able to distinguish the difference between HK traditional stored pu erh tea and aged pu erh. You may be cheated by an unscrupulous tea seller, trying to sell you 'very old pu erh' at very high prices.
I enjoy drinking HK traditional stored pu erh teas. Such teas are harder to find in Hong Kong as the prices of real estate are astronomically high and many of these old tea warehouses had made way for new housing developments. Do not be surprised that some Hong Kong tea shops do not stock the traditional HK stored pu erh, due to non availability but instead are selling the regular stored pu erh on their shelves. It is very interesting to note that a few tea drinker friends described the regular stored pu erh as having a 'clean' taste and aroma. You, the reader can conclude the description given to the traditional HK pu erh.
But I digressed. There are many occasions I had read from tea forums and blogs (mine included) about drinking a particular tea and giving one's thoughts on the tea. Many tea drinkers who owned such a tea would have different opinions on their tea. I felt one of the main reason, beside a personal taste preference, was that the storage conditions and climate may had caused the tea to taste different. A solution would be having a tea drinker to share his tea with 5-6 other tea drinkers. This tea drinker, when he opens a tea cake, would split this tea into 5-6 portions (about 50-60g per portion). No freebies of course, but the 5-6 other tea drinkers would pay for their share (and postage if necessary). This tea would then be assessed on the internet within a month of receiving the tea.......which would make the discussion more meaningful and hopefully more fun. I would like to be in such group.