2003 Changtai "Yuan Nian Shu / Ancient SouthWest" Sheng / Raw Tuo Cha (100g)
This aged sheng puerh comes from the Yunnan Changtai Tea Industry Group. They have been in the puerh business since the late 90's. We had the chance to visit with them in Kunming this year. We blogged about that here: http://crimsonlotustea.com/blogs/puerh/12480085-sampling-aged-puerh-with-chang-tai
This 100 gram mini tuo is called "Yuan Nian Shu" which means "Ancient SouthWest". This is used to describe the long history Yunnan (SouthWest China) has with puerh tea.
Changtai is well known for the quality of their early 2000's puerh. Their master blenders created this blend from Menghai area Da Shu (Big Tree) puerh tea trees in 2003. It has been stored in hot, humid Xishuangbanna until this year. This blend is ungraded and contains both large leaves and tiny buds. The leaves are lighter in color than the similar 2003 Changtai "Ji Nian / Memorial" Sheng / Raw Tuo Cha and seemingly contains more buds.
The aroma of the warming leaves is sweet with floral and thick honey notes. The liquor brews a medium darkness like an amber honey. There is a noticeable astringency with quick chaqi (tea energy). The flavor reminds Lamu of Tibetan Butter Tea, without the butter. Additional steeps bring out more astringency balanced with sweetness and a nice huigan (回甘 "returning sweetness" feeling in the throat) and a trace of mintiness. This is a very floral tea which is surprising given the age. The lingering bitterness mixed with sweetness is intriguing.
Use 5-7 grams of leaves and brew with 6-8 ounces of water at or near boiling. Wash once for 3s each, then start with a quick steep of 6-8s. With each re-steep adjust the steep time to your taste.