Tuesday, September 4, 2007

'05 Haiwan "remote mountain"

Soon after getting this tea, I started to fall behind on blogging, and eventually stopped posting tasting notes for new teas. For a while, I didn't think I would ever post tasting notes for this one. That changed when I received a few tea samples from John Grebe (John Grebe's Tea Reviews
), and one of them was this particular tea. We did a small tea trade just to try new teas, and he threw this one in without knowing that I already had this tea. Realizing that this sample went through drier storage than my somewhat wet stored beeng, I pulled out two gaiwans to compare the two.

Even though where I live isn't normally humid enough to create wet storage conditions, I have found ways to increase the humidity for my puerh stash. At times, it got humid enough that the cakes got damp, and the heat in my room probably helped speed things along. If it has sped up aging, it would be noticeable compared to the sample. By the way, both teas were purchased from puerhshop.com, so they both went through the same storage before being purchased.

A: "wet storage" (Left) B: dry sample (Right)

7g in 10 cl gaiwans. Rinse, 15s, 5s, 5s, caffeine overdose.
Since I don't have matching gaiwans, I used the two 10cl ones I have. Both are similar enough that I don't think they would brew any different than the other.

Dry leaf A: Looks a touch darker than sample B. It hasn't been in wet enough storage that it doesn't reduce to dust when crushed, but some dampness makes it a bit flexible.
Dry leaf B: A little more green, and some yellow leaves. Breaks into dust without any problems.

First infusion:
A: It's not as noticeable in the picture as it actually is, but it's darker than the other one. It's slightly harsh, but still smooth and sweet. More smoke and wood, but still has a touch of vegetal sweetness. Unlike the dry sample, this has a stronger, lingering aftertaste.

B: Lighter and more fragrant. Smoke is replaced by a sweeter fruity, or grapey, or berry like taste (I can't tell exactly what it is, but it's one of those). Not much of an aftertaste is left.

Second Infusion:
A: Still the darker of the two. Aroma is still basically the same. Surpringly, it's the sweeter of the two.

B: Still the more fragrant of the two. Smoke is stronger, but the vegetal and fruity sweetness is still present in the aroma. Basically the same as before, just stronger, slightly harsh, and leaves a stronger aftertaste.

Third infusion: The color of sample B started to become about as dark as sample A. Other than that, I didn't notice anything different enough to write down.

I would have kept going, but I started getting a caffeine overdose after the third infusion. I didn't think about the caffeine when doing a comparison with 10cl gaiwans, and 7g of leaves in each one.

A is the top picture, and B is the bottom. These are both the same tea, but the leaves look so much different. A is more buds, and B is mostly larger darker leaves. Maybe the leaves spread throughout the beeng isn't very consistent?

From the stronger taste, and the lack of the fresh vegetal taste, I think my beeng has indeed aged faster than the sample. Also, while B tasted better in earlier infusions, I think A became the more pleasant of the two after the second infusion.

Since this was a comparison, and I was only able to get three infusions, I will try them again, and post updates if I find anything different.


Salsero said...

Very interesting. I look forward to your further experimentation with this accident of good luck!

ankitlochan said...

intresting review..... i am new to the world of puerh's ..... so what do you think we should do to improve our quality, should we change the way we store the cakes... at the moment we store them in wooden boxes.. kept in a room where there is no direct sunlight and the temp is around 25'c.

Warden said...

I'm no expert on puerh storage, but I don't see any problems with keeping them in a wooden box, as long as the wood doesn't have much odor.

Other factors such as temperature and humidity is more preference. Probably the best way to find out how you want to store puerh is to try older dry and wet stored puerh. I personally found that I like mellowed and sweeter wet stored puerh, so I try to increase the humidity around my tea(70-80%).

Sussu said...

This was a very interesting comparison. I look forward to hearing about further experiments. It is very useful reading more experienced tea geeks' reviews and descriptions. I have added your blog to the link list on mine, http://teadispatches.blogspot.com/

MarshalN said...

I don't think you'll see much difference for a tea this new, and your "wet" storage probably isn't wet enough :)

Wait a few years.... and see what happens!

And yes, do go easy on the tea when you're doing two.

Warden said...

Marshaln, you're right. I found that the difference is because the leaves in the beeng aren't mixed well. One side is mostly buds, and the other is larger leaves. So it was like comparing two different teas because that's pretty much what it was.