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2018 Jay's HK Storage Dayi Prebiotea 3.0 A Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2018 Jay's HK Storage Dayi Prebiotea 3.0 A Ripe Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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November 11th, 2021

I purchased three of these cakes in November 2019, and I patiently aged them in my own warehouse for two years. Dayi's own Laboratory 7 project spent eight years devising the fermentation techniques for this cake, and they call this process 3.0 Fermentation. This fermentation process was created by by examining the dominant species in Dayi's naturally fermented piles, and then replicating this natural fermentation process in much more tightly controlled conditions to maximize the levels of teadenol, gallic acid and 401 series compounds in the brewed tea liquor resulting from the process. Extensive research in China on these compounds indicate these substances are beneficial to human health.

Over the last year, I've come to the conclusion that the bulk of my tea consumption should be ripe pu erh for my long-term gut health. Raw pu erh, unless very, very aged, is quite harsh on the digestive tract and can lead to GERD issues down the line. I now intersperse my raw pu erh consumption between consumption of other, milder teas, but I feel ripe pu erh and ripe liubao are really the healthiest choices for gut health. We now know gut health is far more important to our overall wellbeing than we ever believed.

When these cakes first arrived in Hong Kong, I was aching to try them, but there was the aroma of fresh pile fermentation emanating from the cakes and I knew I had to put them aside to age for a few years for the true test. Some people think ripe pu erh doesn't age further, but both the science and real world experience shows how drastically ripe pu erh can age over time. There's a reason why Hong Kong dealers have been putting ripe pu erh into traditional storage basements since the 70s. You can definitely mellow down ripe pu erh further, and with my natural storage, the aroma of the tea also improves significantly.

There is still a very minor scent of pile fermentation to these cakes, but that is likely due to the high biological activity levels in the pu erh tea in my own warehouse's conditions. Ripe continues to ferment and decompose in the right atmosphere. More significant, in terms of aroma, are the tobacco notes emanating from the dry cake, and I've found these aromatics to be common in higher grade Dayi ripes from 2017 and 2018 (such as the Golden Needle White Lotus).

After the rinse, this tea changes dramatically: the rinsed leaf smells of milk chocolate and vanilla. There is also still some residual fermentation aroma, but distinct from any other ripe pu erh I've had before, including Shuangjiang Mengku's own experiements with next generation ripe pu erh fermentation (their tea is excellent too).

After the first infusion, I got surprising black cherry aromatics from the wet leaves.

In the cup, the first infusion was smooth with sweet chocolate and vanilla aromatics, and something deeper which reminded me of leather. I also got some malt in the aftertaste which persisted through my multiple tasting sessions (malt is something I never tasted in any other ripe pu erh). I don't get any actual sweetness in the cup with this tea in the first infusion. Instead, I get umami in the cup, which could indicate residual theanine content, or perhaps other metabolites from the fermentation process. I don't normally get umami from ripe pu erh either, so this was interesting to experience.

By the end of the first infusion, I noticed a pleasant calming effect, which is something Dayi is very good at preserving in their ripe pu erh. 

The second infusion, which I brewed at a cooler temperature (no reboiling) was thick and smooth with black cherry flavor in the cup. This was a much better infusion than the first, and I believe part of this was due to the tight compression on these cakes. 

The third infusion brought the chocolate back, but the black cherry aromatics remained. I feel this tea may be better brewed at 95 Celsius.

This is the first batch of the Prebiotea/Yi Yuan Su from Dayi and known as 2018 A. I expect these cakes to increase in value more than other Dayi ripes due to their significance to Dayi's history. This may be my favorite Dayi ripe pu erh recipe to date!

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