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2010 HK Traditional Storage Xiaguan FT7513 Ripe Pu Erh Tuocha (50g)

2010 HK Traditional Storage Xiaguan FT7513 Ripe Pu Erh Tuocha (50g)

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Xiaguan is renowned for it's tuocha, and this FT7513 tuo is immensely popular with ripe pu erh drinkers around the world. The FT designation indicates it is for export to destinations overseas, and many believe FT-marked teas are made with higher quality leaf and better quality control than non-FT teas for the Chinese market. In reality the quality of Xiaguan products depends on the year and batch--there are mediocre FT teas and excellent non-FT teas out there!

This tea is from a lesser known Hong Kong merchant that specializes in ripe pu erh, and has sold pu erh for over sixty years. The Hong Kong pu erh market has long been dominated by shu, or ripe, pu erh (ripe pu erh was invented specifically to satisfy the insatiable demand for pu erh by Hong Kong merchants, both for domestic consumption and export worldwide).

This tuo was aged the traditional Hong Kong way, and drinking this tea today would be much like drinking ripe pu erh in the 80s. Even ripe pu erh goes through the traditional storage process here, since Hong Kong people were once used to the taste of traditional storage sheng. Up until 2012 or so, when I developed a keen interest in pu erh tea, I didn't even know sheng pu erh, let alone dry storage pu erh, even existed!

This dealer's storage has a signature flavor and the storage is more humid than many of the other cakes and tuos I carry. This is from the same company as my 2001 7542. There is just a hint of visible mold on this tuo. and the storage was very well balanced. This is a great example of Hong Kong traditional storage shu pu erh. As with all of the traditional storage teas I carry, this tea should be aired out to help the humid storage notes dissipate. There are light storage aromas detectble from the tuo. The cardboard would have helped slow down the aging process some, but no pu erh gets past HK traditional warehousing without great changes! As with all HK traditional storage tuos, breaking off a sample was easy.

This tea is very smooth on the throat and easy on the guts, with a pronounced camphor flavor and quite a powerful warming effect. A smooth, easy to drink tea is the goal of HK traditional storage, and the main reason why older people here won't touch new pu erh. Drinking fresh ripe pu erh would be considered lunacy by many of the older generation--it simply isn't done and isn't sold by Hong Kong's oldest merchants.

The base material has lots of fine, chopped leaves, but this does not detract from the smoothness of this tea on the palate and throat. I found this tea brewed up quickly and produced a strong, thick brew. From the second infusion onwards, the camphor was much less evident, and the tea was thick and smooth. This makes a great everyday HK traditional storage ripe pu erh at a very reasonable price. While these tuos are available for less elsewhere, there are no fermentation aromas present in this tea whatsoever and it has smoothened out into a great daily drinker! This tuo would be interesting to compare to a 2010 7513 tuo that hadn't undergone traditional storage here in Hong Kong.

Brewing suggestion: 5-8g per 100ml. Less or more depending on your taste. Place tea in a preheated pot or gaiwan. Rinse twice with boiling water, or water just off the boil, allowing 30 seconds to one minute between rinses to allow the leaves to expand. I like to use 10-20 second rinses, but some prefer to rinse for longer; this is a matter of personal preference. My first infusion is usually 10-20 seconds long, but you can vary your infusion lengths depending on the amount of leaf you use, and how strong you like your tea.

Please note: most traditional Hong Kong tea merchants do not offer discounts on volume until I am purchasing several kilograms at a time, and in some cases, no discounts are offered at all, even for ten kilos of a single tea or more. For this reason, I cannot offer a discount on larger purchases at this time.

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