Wednesday, May 23, 2007

2006 Xiaguan Gold 100g Tuo Cha from Teaspring

Scent: Fragrant “fresh tea” scent, very pleasant.
Brewed in: Small gaiwan
Steeped: 5 sec. rinse, then 15s, 15s, 25s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s
Cup: Teeny-tiny little porcelain dragon cup

Yes, I am completely thrilled with my new teaware…but more on that in a later review. Suffice it to say, this was the easiest tea tasting I’ve done, all due to the proper tools. Size really does matter!

So I know this tea is still very, very young, and I’ve read that very young raw puerh is hardly ever good for drinking. But in the interest of experimentation and learning, I decided to see exactly how bad a young puerh might taste. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed – this was probably one of my least enjoyable tasting sessions as far as pure taste goes. I may try aging this more in a humidor (like they make for cigars)…it’s small enough to fit, and as bad as it is, I doubt anything could make it taste *worse*!

That being said…it *smells* lovely both dry and brewed. It has a very fresh scent, not musty at all, but that typical “puerh” type woodsy fragrance. I did 7 infusions, and I must apologize for the pictures (and lack of) – my camera just isn’t the best, and though I stayed in the kitchen for better light, it just wasn’t enough help. But you get the idea, anyways.

The 1st through 3rd infusions were all very bitter, astringent, and sometimes sharp and biting on the tongue (the 3rd especially). I very nearly gave up, except for the bitterness started to wane with the 4th infusion. I kept going, and the 5th infusion was much less bitter, with hints of a slight vegetal flavor coming through. The 6th infusion was the most enjoyable, with sweetness taking over for the bitter, less astringency, and more of that buttery artichoke flavor of Monday night’s tea.

Unfortunately, in the 7th infusion, the flavor was very weak, and though there was still no bitterness, it was very, very astringent, and I decided I’d had enough “tea torture” for one night.

So if it ages into anything like the taste of the 6th infusion, it will be very much worth the trouble. If not, well, I’m not sure what it would be good for. Doorstop, maybe? It did perk me up a bit, which was a fun surprise.


  1. Wow! Puerh week indeed! And I love the teaware. Where on earth did you find that silver tray thing?

    Great review. Do you know how long you'll age this tea?

  2. The tea tray is stainless steel, and I just sort of happened upon it at Ten Tea. Honestly, I don't even remember what I was looking for when I found it, I just knew that I *had* to have it. ;-) I've been wanting a bamboo one, but haven't bought one for fear of not taking care of it (because I'm horrible about taking care of things like wooden cutting boards, etc), so this seemed perfect, since I can actually run it through the dishwasher if I so choose. My yixing pots and a few very select serving dishes are the only things I own that don't go in the dishwasher.

    As for how long I'll age the tea, I'm really not sure. My original plan was to age it over several years, tasting it once per year just to experience the whole aging process. That article I read was quite disheartening though - it basically made it sound virtually impossible to age tea outside of coastal areas. But I'll try anyways - I have it, so I may as well, since it's not really "drinkable" at the moment. I'm definately not touching it for another year, that's for sure! :-)

  3. I think your steeping times are far too long for something like a XG tuo. You can try something like 3-5s steeps for the first 3-4 infusions. That should improve the tea considerably as far as taste goes.

  4. Thanks for that advice, Marshall. I'm never sure what times to use with which teas, so that will help a lot. I'll try again next week with the shorter times and see if that helps, and I'll try those shorter times with my other very young puerhs as well. I appreciate the guidence... :-)


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