Saturday, October 6, 2012

Esgreen, 2002 Ke Yi Xing-Pu-erh Sheng Zhuan-Raw Tea Brick

Esgreen Description:
About the brand “Ke Yi Xing” . It is one of the time-honored brands in Yun Nan. It is built in 1925.
This tea brick package comes with 4 pieces raw tea bricks.
The raw material of this tea is 7-9 grade large- leafed Yunnan green tea. The tea bricks were stored in dry warehouse since 2002.
The ideal storage condition makes this tea brick aging and ferment mildly.

After breaking up, you could find “Golden Flower” hiding inside the tea leaves. This is the high quality assuranceery of the raw(Sheng) Pu-erh tea. Very rare on the market.

The raw tea recipe retained it’s fresh green tea aroma but 10 years storage makes this tea really mild and mellow. You will fall in love with the bright vivid red colored tea soup.
It tastes earthy, old, strong. But it is living, vivid, fresh. You will find it smooth and mellow on the first sip. The sweet aftertaste lingering around the throat after 3-4 cups.

This is a highly recommend tea brick for pu-erh tea lovers. This classic tea brick is good for daily cups,and it is very ideal for collection in the meantime.

My Review:
Sample provided by Esgreen. The leaf of this sample appears mostly loose rather than a chunk off the brick. The dry leaf is very large and looks like tree bark or even cinnamon bark. Dark woodsy color with rich deep reddish browns. There are a few yellow dots upon very close examination. More on this in a moment. It is interesting to look at. There is no discernable scent from it. I heated water to boiling and poured an ounce or so over the leaf. Swished for a few seconds and poured it out. The rinse was musty like old books or newspapers.

Poured more water for a first steep of about 20 seconds. The brew is reddish orange tinted and has a dusty scent. I am a little nervous about this one. I needn’t have worried. It tastes very mellow. It is light, slightly sweet, with just a hint of leather. It is also a bit earthy. Not in a mouth full of dirt way, but pleasantly earthy. There is also the distinct taste of tree bark. I would occasionally chew on bark as a kid. This reminds me of that experience. Adding a little sweetener made it too sweet – like southern sweet tea. This is 10 year old leaf and I still notice just a hint of astringency as the cup cools.

Cup two, I steeped for 20 seconds. It is burgundy in the press. It looks like orange pekoe in the cup. Better, more balanced flavor in this cup. There is now a bright almost metallic taste and a tingling along the sides of the tongue (astringency). I am also noticing a sticky lip feel and a rumbling in my stomach as puerh works its metabolic magic. Oh, and the scent of the cup is much more pleasant.

Cup three continues with balanced mix of musty, earthy, horsey, leather tastes.

Cup four is the darkest so far, yet it’s not nearly as dark as ripe puerh. The earthy flavors are still going strong. This is as far as I have time to go with this one today. If I were using a gaiwan this would be the equivalent of about cup 12. Esgreen says this will easily go 20 steeps. That would be at least one more cup in my hybrid western style. I have no doubt it will go one more cup, and probably further.

I looked information about this tea up on Esgreen’s website. The yellow spots on the leaf are known as golden flowers. It is actually a fungus that can grow in puerh bricks. Having it show up in the brick is apparently considered a rare and valuable thing among some enthusiasts. I am thinking this tea is a lot like my first experience with burgundy wine. I bought a pricey bottle and upon tasting realized I much prefer sweet cheap white wine. Someone who is well studied in puerh might find this exceptional. All I can go by on my level of knowledge is to tell you what I think. I like dark shu (ripe) and light sheng (raw). This is somewhere in between. It is not my favorite puerh. It is a good complex cup. I am happy I got to try a 10 year old leaf and experience golden flowers.

Visit the Esgreen web site.

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