Monday, March 11, 2013

2007 Hengfu Sheng Puer Cake

From 2005 to 2007, I (along with many other people around the world) spent a lot of free time buying, drinking, and studying puer tea. It was during these "bubble years" that I purchased most of my puer tea collection. I wouldn't say it's a huge collection. When compared to some other puer buffs I've met, it is really quite small. My collection currently hovers around 50 different teas, most of which are compressed (cakes, bricks etc.). During the past 5 years, I've reviewed nearly all of my puer teas on this blog.

One of the few tea cakes that I've yet to review is a 2007 Hengfu (恒福) sheng puer purchased from Seattle's venerable New Century Tea Gallery. I'll admit that I paid way too much money for this tea and the blame for that fact lies solely with me. It was a time in my life when I had some disposable income and I was trying to impress a friend, as well as the wonderful owners of New Century. As it turns out, vanity such as I displayed that afternoon, is NOT a good excuse for buying tea (or anything else for that matter). This realization, along with familial budgetary necessities, and other evolving personal interests, led me to a self-imposed ban on buying puer tea in 2010. (But I still trade for it and I love to get it as gifts!)

Anyway, back to the review... I'll begin with a lumpy photo of the wrapper. It has a big yellow diamond sticker covering the front which I've always thought was a little weird.

The dry leaves are flecked with brown and silver and have a pungent forest and smoke aroma.

Brewed in a small gaiwan with ~5 grams of dry leaf and freshly boiled water, this tea produced a medium-dark amber color with subtle camphor, cedar and tangy peach skin aromas. The flavor is too woodsy and grassy, dominated by oak, fresh hay, and sweet dry tobacco notes. Thankfully, it's not very smoky, but all of its nice aromas get lost in the grass. Also, the body is not as thick as I would like from a tea of this age. Infusion after infusion yields a smooth-ish, mild-flavored liquor with very little aftertaste. It's not bad but it's definitely nothing to write home about.

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