For nearly 15 years I've been a puer tea collector. But I have to admit, while I love all types of great tea, and can enjoy any tea in the right mood or setting, I'm just not crazy about puer the way I used to be. It is more of a social beverage to me now and I never crave it the way I do oolongs or blacks.
My puer collection lives behind this curtain in the corner of my bedroom where it stays dark, dry and shielded from kitchen smells.
10 years ago I purchased one of Yunnan Sourcing's Banzhang Chun Qing Puer Tea Cakes (班章純情普洱茶餅) This tea was pretty hot on the 2009 tea blogger scene for good reason. It is delicious. For a little background on the cake and my original impression you can check out this old post.
On June 15th, I randomly grabbed this Banzhang Chun Qing cake when I had some friends over for a party. When I looked at the production date I smiled! The tea I had chosen to brew was very close to being exactly 10 years old!
♪♫♪♫ Happy Birthday to You ♪♫♪♫
I've enjoyed three sessions with this cake over the last couple weeks. When I posted a pic on my Instagram (brett_uke), the venerable Geoffrey Norman, suggested I write a follow up comparing the ten year old cake with it's younger self. Today I did just that!
I used my white ceramic gaiwan and a 5 gram chunk of tea cake. This tea is sweet and fruity with peach aroma in some early infusions transforming into a musky ripe papaya. It has nice cinnamon, cedar and camphor notes in the back of my throat.
~5 gram chunk
The color is a few shades darker orange than it was 10 years ago. The liquor pours thick and brothy. I can't remember if it had this level of saponic thickness 10 years ago but it sure is satisfying today.
Earthier flavors and some sweet raisiny notes come to me after infusion #4. Mostly, the tea is all about the stone fruits and totally not smoky. Sometimes it reminds me of first flush Darjeeling.
Looking back on my decade old post I'd say this tea is aging just fine. It is a bit smoother, mellower and older tasting. I'm lucky to still have about half the cake left so I can brew it again in another decade!
Any of you other old school tea bloggers out there still have any of this cake left? If you do, let me know! I'd love to hear how yours is aging! This tea has slightly renewed my enthusiasm for puer tea!