Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2002 Langhe Factory Sheng Cake


Today I'm reviewing a tasty 2002 sheng puer tea cake (生普洱餅茶) from the Langhe tea factory (朗河茶廠). The Langhe tea factory was started in 1995 in the famous Xishuanbanna region of southern Yunnan. "Lang" is a name that can be translated as clear, bright, official or distinct. "He" translates to river. According to its advertising, this factory is very clean and natural. It has a blue roof and white walls "to mirror the sky." Also, the surrounding area comprises thousands of acres of camphor forests and large leaf tea trees. Langhe is one of many newer factories making exciting and beautiful tea cakes for serious pu-erh collectors.

Check out the cake:


Around the top it says: 雲南 (Yunnan), 喬木 (mature trees with a single trunk), 七子 (seven sons), 餅茶 (cake tea). Around the middle it has 野生喬木 written over and over in a circle. That translates to "wild raw single-trunk trees." The three characters under that are: 珍藏品. They state that this is a "precious collectable." Around the bottom of the cake you will find the words: 中國 (China) 雲南 (Yunnan) 西雙版納 (Xishuangbanna) 勐海 (Menghai) 朗河茶廠(Langhe Tea Factory) 出品 (produce).

The naked cake:


Tea soup (third infusion):


The orange-red tea liquor is very aromatic with many wild herb smells such as rosemary, eucalyptus and camphor. It also has a smooth balanced smokiness that typically fades out by the fifth infusion (peaking around the third or fourth). The taste is very complex and nuanced but, like many young sheng puers, it will become too astringent if overbrewed. I typically brew this tea in a small gaiwan or clay teapot filled about 20% with dry leaf. This way I will get 10 to 20 short infusions using boiling water. My first five steeps will be "water in - water out" then I'll add about 3 to 5 seconds for each of the next 5 infusions. After that, anything goes. I'm not saying that is the only way to brew it. That's just my suggestion. As with any good tea, you should try brewing it lots of different ways until you find your favorite.

The wet leaves:


The Money Shot:


The Money Shot (Close Up):

3 comments:

James said...

Great post, mate, and the pictures are beautiful.

Even though puer is not really my thing, it sounds really wonderful when you describe it. Passion means a lot.

seth p said...

Thanks Brett! This cake is absolutely freakin' delicious. That first steep has no astringent flavor; it is just clean, eucalyptus-scented, and yummy. That is some good pu er!

Brian Trunk said...

Thanks Brett!!! This was a great recommendation for the purchase of our first pu er cake. We have been enjoying it. It has a beautiful color and the taste is amazing.