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2012 Jay's HK Storage Changtai Qianjiafeng Jinggu Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2012 Jay's HK Storage Changtai Qianjiafeng Jinggu Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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June 4th, 2021

Changtai started working with Jinggu material in the early 2000s, and pressed cakes from a site on Jinzhushan (gold bamboo mountain) several times in the 2000s. In 2012, they decided to press an especially high grade Jinggu cake with high altitude old tree material under their Qianjiafeng sub-brand, which is the cake you see here. Qianjiafeng is Changtai's premier sub-brand and this is the first tea from this collection that I've had the fortune to try.

This cake was procured directly from Changtai in 2018 and it appears to be impossible to get more of these now. I'm glad I got one of these when I could, but I also wish I bought more because this is truly lovely tea!

The dry cake was stored bagged to preserve the aromatics, and the cake smells sweet and aged now. The aroma is almost like sweet wintergreen, and the aroma carries over into the cup. There is no smoke in this material. The leaves are full and beautiful and there is only light astringency in the first infusion, and a sarsaparilla-like character that I always enjoy.

This tea has an immediate calming effect on me. The flavor develops and gets woodier: my initial thought is sandalwood, but it's more like lignum vitae or verawood heartwood. There are sweeter aromatics detectable in the empty pitcher and in the aftertaste, and I believe these sweeter notes may become more prominent in a cooler climate as this tea adjusts. There is a surprising lack of bitterness in this tea, which is always welcome.

In the second infusion, I get some barley-like character, which was unexpected. This flavor is not as pronounced as in Xiaguan's productions, and the sweet, woody flavors are still prominent in the aftertaste. This is a smooth, pleasant sheng with some very interesting complexity from the high quality old tree material used here. Some light bitterness does show up in the second infusion as well.

As the liquor cools, I get some date flavors and some perfumey floral complexity. Since this tea was stored very cleanly and bagged up for three years, there are no humid storage notes or dry book flavors here: just lots of great complex character. I also get some chenpi and the sweet wood note persists to the end.

This is a great tea, and one I really regret not getting more of when I had the chance!

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