Thursday, January 10, 2008

1996 Chung-Cha. Menghai. "Orange-in-Orange."

This is my first aged puerh. The leaves were picked and pressed in 1996. Which makes this tea almost 12 years old.

The leaf is so dark that I would easily mistake it for a cooked "shou" puerh. Unlike shou, the smell is more dry and leathery, opposed to shou's musky, muddy, fruity smell.

The aroma of the leaf is very earthy, dark and dank, similar to a shou.

While smelling the tea, an old, dark leather comes to mind. As well as a musty bookcase, but the tea has just a hint of the mustiness. There is also a fruitiness present in the tea. Not a light yummy fruitness, but the tangy sweetness most fruits have.

The wet leaf smells strongly of dark leather, and wet bark.

The second infusion is sweeter, more mellowed out, with the strong leather flavor blending into the others to give an overall deepness of flavor. I get a hint of an old car in the smell, but overall, the flavor is extremely earthy.

The wet leaf has the light-dark brown color that is characteristic to black tea.

The third infusion is marvelous. All the stronger flavors noted earlier have blended to give a very well rounded drink. The strong leather flavor is no longer predominant, and the tea has become mostly a very earthy drink, with wet bark and dark, wet wood chracterizing the taste.

The wet leaf now smells more woodsy than leathery.

The fourth infusion is similar to the third, except perhaps lighter, or maybe wasn't given enough time, or maybe my taste buds are become saturated.
The fifth is milder as well. Smoother in the sense that it has less strong flavor.
The sixth, after being brewed for 2 minutes carries a heavier leather taste.

Too much tea. Need food.


Salsero said...

Thanks for reviewing your experience with this BBB recommendation. I was already toying with the idea of getting some since BHale reviewed it. That urge is becoming more pronounced.

Brandon Hale said...

Do you remember roughly what the brewing time on the first 3 infusions were? I do not remember this tea being as earthy as mentioned, but this could be because I was contrasting it to shou.

Next to Puerh Maiden, my take was "much cleaner" as in, I can see where these pu-heads are going. More age = more mellow but complex flavor, less dirt, less aroma.

Wes said...

I can't attest to it's similarity with maiden because it's been a long time since I tried the maiden. However, aged sheng is very much more similar to shou than young sheng. That's kind of the point of shou. :)

First three infusions might have been 15-40 seconds.