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2007 Jay's HK Storage Zhongcha HK Handover 10th Anniversary Raw Pu Erh Brick (50g)

2007 Jay's HK Storage Zhongcha HK Handover 10th Anniversary Raw Pu Erh Brick (50g)

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September 28th, 2020

This brick was pressed in 2007 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the UK's return of Hong Kong to China, and the wrapper features the most iconic part of the skyline of Hong Kong Island! I knew I had to get one of these for myself, and I bought this brick from one of the largest pu erh dealers in Kunming back in October 2016 with the intention of aging it for my own consumption.

I didn't know how this tea would age when I purchased it. It bears a recipe number of '6581' which indicates the recipe was first devised in 1965, with primarily grade '8' leaves (larger lower leaves). The '1' at the end indicates this recipe was first produced by the Kunming Tea Factory. This 2007 brick was also produced by the Kunming Tea Factory, which now produces much of their tea much further south in the Xishuangbanna area. This recipe was probably originally devised specifically for the Hong Kong market in the 60s (before the production of shou pu erh), so this is an interesting throwback pressing that makes for a very interesting commemorative.

The brick has quite tight compression, but has loosened up sufficiently in my warehouse that I could easily break a chunk off with a pick with virtually no dust generated. The moment the water hit the tea, I knew I was in for something special. This is extremely sweet and aromatic material now, but also has a classic flavor profile. This seems to be truly excellent plantation material that has been processed well and tastes like the tea of old, but after storing it the classic HK dry storage way (no added humidity or use of dehumidifiers, but high up in a Hong Kong warehouse building), this tea truly excels. 

The liquor is clean and smooth on the swallow. In the cup, this tea is very full tasting with astonishingly sweet flavor (but classic CNNP-style flavor) and very good, strong huigan. The aftertaste is longlasting and reminds me of younger chenpi (aged orange peel). The material has classic CNNP plantation material floral character with plenty of intensity, as well as a balanced level of the aged out smoke you would expect from a traditionally processed sheng pu erh. The smoke complements the material very well and has aged down beautifully, and will continue to age and develop with more time. If you are averse to smoke (even aged out smoke!), this is not the brick for you. 

There is very little astringency and bitterness left in this material and you would really need to push this tea hard (overbrew it, really) to elicit strong bitterness. Even then, I think the bitterness would be tolerable.

My storage has really worked well for this tea. This tea is past its youth and has smoothened out and sweetened, but hasn't developed any of the old book character you'd get in some storage environments with sheng pu erh, so I'm really very happy with how this tea aged. I don't think it could have aged any better!

The cha qi is calming, but not very strong, so this makes a great tea for when you have work to do after, which is fairly typical for a CNNP/Zhongcha brick in my experience.

I am definitely going to get more of these bricks. I believe the market doesn't know how good these are because they need to be stored correctly to truly shine, so these bricks haven't appreciated over the last four years. I'm not complaining at all, however, as I certainly want more of this tea and I'm happy to purchase it at the same price I paid four years ago! My personal opinion is that Zhongcha knocked it out of the park with this pressing. I believe this tea will continue to excel as it develops over time, but this is definitely a very pleasant tea to drink now. I'm offering up a few packs for those who are interested in trying this tea as it is today.

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