Monday, September 3, 2012

Teavivre, Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012

From TeaVivre's website with some minor editing:

TeaVivre carefully chose this Ancient Chun Jian Puerh. The material comes from ancient tea trees over 500 – 1000 years old. These trees are grown naturally without fertilize and insecticide. The workers only did appropriate loose and shave. Leaves were manually picked between March 10 and April 20 of 2012, and then manually sorted, going through the process of steaming, shaping, drying, packaging, inspecting and warehousing. Thus the high quality of this Ancient Chun Jian Puerh could be guaranteed.

This sample was provided by TeaVivre. I have high expectations for this one. TeaVivre always seems to select winners, and it has been a while since I have had a raw puerh. This one is made from the buds and leaves of Yunnan large-leaf ancient trees.

I opened the sample bag and pulled out a large chunk (especially for a sample) of a puerh brick. I managed to separate enough leaf to brew without much difficulty. It did not require a pick or a knife. The dry leaf is on the large side and looks like beef jerky. The scent is that of straw, which is not as bright or sweet as hay. It is a nice fresh smell.

I used a large scoop of leaf in my press with 12oz of boiling water. The leaf danced a bit with most sinking to the bottom. The first steep was just shy of 2 minutes. The color of the liquor was very light for puerh. It was golden yellow and quite clear. The leaf aroma is green and fresh. Absolutely nothing offensive is rising into the air out of the press.

The first cup begins with an instant coating of the lips. It is slick and sticky at the same time. I don’t notice others reporting this coating, but it happens to me often with a raw puerh. The flavor of the first cup is light. It is at first kind of woodsy. Then it is briefly metallic, though not in an offensive way. The aftertaste is light and sweet. Maybe I am imagining it but there seems to already be very light traces of leather developing in this young tea. This will be a good one when it gets some age on it.

I doubt I would ever guess this is a Yunnan if I had not read it. There is none of the sweet potato notes I associate with them. I don’t know if I am tasting chocolate or just thinking so because I do know it is a Yunnan.

Cup two is a bit more hardy. Similar to the first but stronger flavors. This has more bite.

Cup three and four were the best yet. I increased the steep time to between 4 and 5 minutes. This made for a stronger darker cup that had good young flavor.

Now that I have reviewed this one, I intend to store it away for a good long time to let it age. I know this one will improve very nicely.

This puerh comes in a 357g cake (about 12.59 ounces) for $58. That sounds like a lot of money paid all at once, but it works out to about $4.61/ounce. Prepared as I did for this review, using about 2.5 grams,  this tea is about $0.41 per scoop of leaf. I steeped this 4 times from the same leaf and that lowers the cost to about a dime per cup. If I were to drink this with friends or reuse the leaf the next day (as I often do) I could probably get 8 mugs out of this, which would bring the per cup cost down to a nickel. It not only lasts for years but actually improves with age.

Visit the TeaVivre website.

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