Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lao Cang, Honeysuckle Flower Ripe Puer Bowl

Lao Cang Description:
These premium mini tuo cha are made from Simao fermented ripe pu-erh. These are about 4-5 grams each. The brewed liquor is a lovely deep red color and the flavor is rich, sweet and smooth. This is a great drink for a dry throat , after a heavy meal, or just for enjoyment alone! In traditional Chinese medicine, honeysuckle is considered one of the most important herbs for releasing poisons from the body and clearing heat from the body.
They are small tea cakes of ripeYunnan large leaf as raw materials Mixed with the Honeysuckle Flower, by fixing, rolling, dry daylight, autoclave refining process and compressed into the bowl shaped cake which you can easily drop into a cup or teapot for a quick and easy brewing of your Pu-erh tea time. Each tea cake is individually wrapped for convenient storage that will make the Pu-erh tea last much longer and easy to carry.

My Review:
This one came my way from a friend, who got it from a friend, who... I have no idea where it was purchased. After some digging I located one source but there are probably many. I found it on Aliexpress from Royal Tea Bay. The store has a pretty high rating but I can't vouch for them or Aliexpress.

So under the bright yellow wrapper this appears to be a standard bird nest shape made of tightly compacted leaf. I don't see a lot that says honeysuckle in the dry mix.

I used my clay teapot and 3oz of water heated to boiling. I did not do a leaf rinse. The first steep was at 20s. The result is a gray tinted orange brew. The toucha has plumped but has not really even started to disintegrate. The leaf and cup have a light barnyard scent that might frighten a first time sipper. Trust me, I've drank many that smelled a whole lot worse and they tasted fine.

First Cup Is Very Light
The first cup is light in taste. It is kind of stone like in taste. There is no bitterness and very little if any astringency. I am getting a feeling of heat but it is not a spicy heat. Another flavor comes in towards the end that I can't identify yet, but mixing with the aroma, I am picturing horses. The cup only hints at what is to come.

The second 3oz cup at 12s is a lot darker. It is not quite coffee color but getting close. The toucha is halfway dissolved and has a much stronger barnyard aroma. The cup has a lighter barnyard aroma mixed with cedar. Now the flavor has really picked up. This is a mix of horse tack (leather) and cedar, with a spicy bite late in the sip. I also notice some floral notes, though I admit to not thinking honeysuckle. There is a bit of pucker power to this cup.

Cups three and four were combined to make a 6oz cup. My kettle takes a few seconds to pour and the clay pot pours steady but also takes a few seconds. I wanted about a 6s steep, so after adding water I waited just a couple seconds and began my pour. The brew is coffee in darkness.

The toucha has completely dissolved. I do see the honeysuckle petals in the mix. I am also impressed by the leaf used in this inexpensive pu-erh.

This cup is dusty horse tack with a smooth spicy finish. The best cup so far. The spice and the pucker factor have tamed way down. I am enjoying this one quite a lot. From past experience with flowers added to the mix, I don't notice the honeysuckle so much as credit it with bringing the smoothness to the cup.

This shows no signs of letting up. I will continue to steep for a while.

Concluding thoughts - I have had far more complex pu-erh, but for an everyday convenient and affordable version, it is hard to beat touchas. This happens to be a nice example. The downside is the aroma might scare you off. The upside is this smooths out into an enjoyable cup.    

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