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2014 Jay's HK Storage Changtai Yiwu Area Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2014 Jay's HK Storage Changtai Yiwu Area Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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September 23rd, 2020

These little cakes were purchased directly from Changtai in November 2018, and have been stored in my warehouse here in Hong Kong ever since! There was still some residual dui wei (fermentation taste) in the cake I tested in 2019, but I was very impressed by the quality of the material and the sweet jujube character, as well as the subtle and delicate huigan in the aftertaste, which reminded me of good gushu or wild material.

Changtai has a long history of working with Yiwu material: at least 21 years with Yiwu material as of 2020. This guanxi (relationships and trust built over time) means they get some really good material. I hadn't tried any of their YIwu before this, but this shu really impressed me.

This tea has changed greatly since the last time I tried it (January 2019). These cakes were stone pressed, as is traditional,, but Changtai is quite proud of the modern hygiene and production standards used for these cakes. The compression is loose and the cake is very easy to break into chunks without a pick now.

The dry cake smells both sweet and surprisingly aged now: the more rapid change may be due to the looser compression on these cakes. This loose compression also means these cakes brew up quickly in the gaiwan or pot, so you might want to shorten your infusion length. The leaf grade used is quite high, possibly with a good portion of gongting, and this tea really packs a punch as far as caffeine and cha qi go. You've been warned!

In the cup, the liquor smells both sweet and deep. I get some milk-like flavor, which is a surprise. The aftertaste is bittersweet, and I detect both sweeter camphor and chocolate. The liquor is thick and syrupy as well, which I know many people (myself included) greatly enjoy. The liquor is also surprisingly dark and the cha qi is initially calming. I notice my heart rate sped up, which happens with high ratio gongting-grade brewing (gongting is the smallest, most potent leaves on a puerh bush or tree).

This tea is now developing savory camphor-like notes that are quite well balanced with the sweeter flavors in this tea at this time. I suspect this tea may develop more darker, aged flavors with time, but right now, it's in a good place and the flavors meld together very well. I felt the cha qi travel down my arms like a wave of warm, calming energy. While Dayi ripe teas (aside from grade 9 productions!) give me more intense effects in the head, the effect of this tea was more pronounced in the body and not quite as overwhelming as with Dayi stuff.  

There is some very light residual astringency detectable here when brewing hard, possibly indicating this tea was fermented more lightly. The overall flavor profile reminds me of a well-aged 7581 from my own storage, but with more aromatics from the darker side of the ripe pu erh spectrum than I'd get with 7581 after several years in my warehouse. 

This is a very interesting ripe tea and one I enjoy drinking every time I try it! This tea is no longer available directly from Changtai. I have a total of 11 cakes for sale.

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