Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2005 Awazon Sheng Bing Cupping Experiment

Back in 2005 I purchased a couple stacks (aka tong) (筒) of 2005 Awazon (阿佤山) factory sheng puer cakes. I kept two cakes for myself. One, I stored among other random sheng cakes on my puer shelf. Let's call him "Whole Bing."

Hi, I'm Whole Bing!

The other, I broke up into small chunks and stored in a large clay teapot. Let's call him "Pot Head."


Today I thought it might be fun to cup them up together. This will be my first experience with this tea in 5 years.

I set up my usual cupping station...

...which looks something like this...

...then I grabbed my notebook, and got down to business.

I used 5 grams of dry leaf to about 8 ounces of boiling water and took my time going back and forth smelling each spoon and slurping the tea soup.

Turns out they taste pretty different!

Whole Bing is on the right and Pot Head is on the left.

Whole Bing was a little bit woodsier, smokier and more earthy. I believe he picked up some of these flavors from the other cakes with which he had cohabited. He was also a shade darker.

Pot Head's isolation in the large lidded teapot seems to have shielded him from most outside influences and perhaps caused him to taste "less aged" to me. He had a lighter body with more grass and herb notes. His flavor was closer to how these cakes tasted five years ago.

I did not prefer one storage method over the other and I do not take the results of this experiment too seriously. There are quite simply too many variables to consider when dealing with puer tea storage. In fact, I believe, this exact same experiment could easily have yielded different results in different places, on different days or for different people. That being said, I still found this to be a very rewarding and educational cupping.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

You should have seen my face when I first saw the photo of chunks-in-pot.
I vividly imagined someone brewing all that at once!