I ran across this tuo when I was visiting Green Tea Guru during a multi-site shopping spree with the aim of bolstering the shou side of my stash.
This is a 2008 pressing of material originating in the Wuliang Shan area of Jingdong County, which lies in Pu-erh Prefecture, Yunnan Province.
The 100 gram tuo is a product of the Nanjian tea factory, and sold under the Tulin (sometimes seen as Tulinpai) brand name.
Post production the tea was dry stored in Guandong, which as Green Tea Guru notes is still relatively humid compared to some areas, but still not as humid/wet as “traditional” (sometimes called Hong Kong) Puerh storage.
On a practical basis this means that the tea will have aged faster than it would have had it been stored in a drier environment, and although this might mean it wouldn’t have aged as fast as it could have in traditional storage, as Green Tea Guru explains this does at least mean that the tea should have skipped picking up characteristics that might result in (as they say) “off or sour notes on the first few infusions.”
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Infusion style:||Gong-fu / Asian|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml porcelain gaiwan|
|Steeping method:||a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 5 seconds, then @ +5 seconds until 45 seconds for a total of 9 infusions|
After the rinse it was interesting to note how sweet and floral the leaves smelled, with the earthiness you would expect from a shou being quite subdued and in the background rather than front-and-centre-in-the-spotlight.
This was one of those “straight out of the stable door” teas. There was no messing about here, no building up to anything, no crescendo, no peaking around the third or fourth steeping, this was go-go-go pedal to the metal material.
The tea soup had a lovely sticky, creamy mouthfeel, and tasted of umami spiciness crossed with honey brown sugar sweetness. Factor in a lightly coloured smokiness and the overall effect was eerily similar to barbecue sauce. I even picked up something lingering on the inside of the gaiwan lid that reminded me of chorizo sausage!
Nine good steepings later I felt as though I’d had the best from the leaves, and called a halt to the session at that point.
I really like this tea, and the experience has left me wondering about the relative impacts on the tuo’s character of the leaf’s source and the pressed tea’s subsequent storage. This is precisely the kind of leading questions that elevate Pu-erh from being an occasional dilettantish dalliance into an all encompassing lifestyle choice and a “till the day I draw my last breath with the fragrance of an aged sheng lingering in my lifeless throat” obsession.
There’s nothing else I can do – I’m going to have to track down a traditionally stored tuo, and see how it compares.
Watch this space, etc…