Monday, August 1, 2011

Bamboo Storage Mini Cakes

These bamboo stored mini cakes were among several wonderful puer teas that we sampled at the latest monthly meeting of the Puer Tea Appreciation Club of Seattle. This particular tea was brought and brewed by my friend Andrew G. He purchased it 10 years ago from Imperial Tea Court (back when they were at the Great Wall Mall in Kent, WA). He believes they were already around 10 years old at that time, making this a twenty-ish year old tea.

The tea is packed in a pretty bamboo tube and each cake (tablet may be a better word for them) is about 10 grams. The cakes can easily be split into two halves.

These two photos were taken by my friend and business partner Cinnabar during the club meeting:

I was lucky enough to keep one of the cakes to review on my blog and I'm sipping it now on a peaceful, sunny, Seattle afternoon.

I used half a cake in a small gaiwan. I rinsed it twice with boiling water and then steeped it about 45 seconds. The liquor was a nice reddish-brown color and had a unique aroma. It reminded me of tomatoes, brandy, and steamed bamboo.

This was the first infusion.
The following three infusions were a few shades darker.

The flavor of this tea is unlike any puer I've had before. It tastes a little like bamboo and has some decent aged sheng puer flavors, but it also delivers some brash tomato, carrot and citrus notes, especially in the first few infusions. Thankfully it smoothed out around the 4th or 5th pour and started to present some velvety and woodsy qualities.

I've only tasted a few puer teas that have been aged in bamboo. All of which have been lack-luster and I'm really not sure why that is. This was my best experience to date, but I'd still say that for me this tea was more "interesting" than it was delicious.

Have you ever tried any really great bamboo stored puer teas, or have your experiences with the genre been similar to my own?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This kind of tea brings some nostalgic memories to me :-) One of my first real pu erhs was "tablet pressed" shu wrapped in bamboo :-) You have a very interesting blog :-) good luck in your tea catering services! :-)