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2016 Jay's HK Storage YS Immortal Monkey Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2016 Jay's HK Storage YS Immortal Monkey Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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July 6th, 2021

This cake was purchased in November 2016, and I promptly forgot about this tea for several years until I rediscovered it in the warehouse last year (with great surprise). I finally got around to trying this cake last night. A friend and customer in Australia asked me to send him a sample of this cake, so he got the first 8g chunk of this tea before I even tried it! This tea has been sold out from YS for quite a while now.

I fell in love with YS' 2015 Green Miracle right after trying it (direct from YS, and before aging) several years ago, which is probably why I bought myself one of these Immortal Monkey cakes back in 2016. The material used in the 2015 Green Miracle and the 2016 Immortal Monkey is from the same untended plantation, and both piles were processed by the same fermentation master. Funnily enough I reached for my Green Miracle a few days ago, so it was still fresh in my mind. I definitely hadn't planned on drinking these teas so close together, but I'm glad I did.

For those who think shou can't be aged and doesn't change after aging: trying this would be eye opening, especially if you have the 2015 Green Miracle or 2016 Immortal Monkey in your collection, or if you've tried them directly from YS. My Green Miracle was stored uncovered in a glass cabinet at home and the Immortal Monkey was stored in a jian carton in my warehouse, which is a much more active environment than my home storage.

The surprising thing about these teas is that both have the same rather pronounced fermentation funk, even after over five years in Hong Kong, but this is due to active aging in my storage rather than residual dui wei (the taste of the pile fermentation). None of this funk carries over into the cup after the rinse when brewing in porcelain. The rinsed Immortal Monkey leaf does smell like higher fermentation shou, which was a surprise, since the leaves aren't all that dark. I believe these aromatics may have developed in storage over the last five years.

In the cup, this is a profoundly different tea than the smell of the dry cake and rinsed leaf would indicate. I get vanilla and dark chocolate bitterness, and as the tea cools a bit, flavors of blanched almonds and milk chocolate also arise. The bitterness from this cake is surprising, considering the fermentation level and age, but the bitterness becomes very tolerable after the first sip. This isn't the only tea I've had where the bitterness hits hard immediately and then recedes. This bitterness drops off after the first infusion and by the third, it's entirely gone.  This tea (and the Green Miracle) are certainly very interesting ripes, and definitely stand out from the factory ripes that I usually drink!

As the tea cools, the texture of this tea becomes very apparent. The liquor is syrupy thick and is super smooth in the mouth and on the swallow. This is truly wonderful texture, since both smoothness and viscosity are traits I love in pu erh, and this tea shines in both regards.

This is a lovely shou and a great example of what the best kind of storage can do for ripe pu erh. I'm only offering up two 100g samples for those who might be interested in trying this tea!

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