Monday, March 26, 2012

70's GD Big Tuocha


I have been excited to try the new samples of aged tea that recently became available @ essence of tea. I  have had a little rough patch in picking out aged pu-erh to try. I perhaps have been to hasty and impulsively buying teas before sampling or some how the tea not being what I expected. Hopefully my receiving this batch of samples means that I have worked off enough of my negative tea karma and will start finding good old tea’s again. I am fairly sure of this as I don't think I have found an aged pu-erh at EOT that I did not like. I am a big fan of  tea vendors like Essence of tea, Houde and Bana tea company. I feel as though these companies are fairly selective as to what teas that they will sell, the making it allot easier to pick out a quality pu-erh. They also all offer samples of almost all of there tea eliminating virtually all of the risk. Of course you do tend to pay more for this convenience. But when you run that against the cost and time of sifting through the tons of lower quality pu-erh, I feel it is well worth it.

      My son was just taken out the cast he has been residing in for the past six weeks. So I have the day to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunny day. What a perfect chance to brew an old tea and appreciate life. I reach into the jar of samples and randomly pull out a bag containing a five gram chunk of 1970's (early) Guang Dong Big Tuocha. Before this tea showed up on EOT's site I have heard next to nothing about it. So I have few expectations or prejudices going into the tea session. This is ideally how one should try to encounter every new tea. Of course it is very tough to not have expectations regarding a tea just the fact that I have been told this is a tea that was made in the 70's in Guang Dong could already place preconceptions in and possibly effect the way that I perceive this tea.

The aroma from the dry leaves is very faint. So I proceed to follow the directions I found on a tea bag once and "just add water". The smell of the wet leaves reminds me of an old book. Through the smell I get the same feeling I get when I walk into a good used book shop, the feeling of seeking out forgotten treasure. The rinse has a very faint storage taste given its age. The first infusion tastes almost exactly as it smells with the taste of old leather bound books. No I have never tasted a book. The soup is a beautiful crystal clear brownish red.

The second infusion finds the flavor to have solidified and seeming more present and less like a memory. There is a slight tangyness from the large amount of buds in the blend. This tea has similarities to other guang dong tea that I have experienced. Yet it also is very different. The qi starts to build undulating from my lower back to the top of my skull. Relaxing muscles in my back that I did not realize where tense. I am surprised at the quality of the initial infusions, as Nada mentions in his description that this tea does not open up for four or five infusions.

Through the next several infusions the base flavor remains the same but the huigan begins to develop nicely, becoming cooling on the breath and tongue. The aftertaste also becomes more pronounced. This causes me to slow down the time between infusions so that I can enjoy it. Infusion five sees the appearance of a slight metallic aftertaste. This sounds unpleasant but actually it is interesting and enjoyable. By this time the qi has become very strong leaving me feeling incredibly relaxed. My arms and eyelids both start to feel heavy. The qi is definitely worth the price of admission for this tea.

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