Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Geraldo on Silver Bud Tribute Cake [Puer beengcha]

[from an email to corax. posted by permission.]

Silver Bud Tribute Cake [sheng puer, 2003]. Small beengcha. Factory: Six Famous Tea Mountain.

9.5g of pu’er per 7.5-8.0 oz. infusing water in graduated Pyrex gaiwan with pouring spout and handle. 5 minutes' rest after very quick rinsing. Infusions of 10s, 8s, 15s, 20s. Brewed at 190F.

The leaves are small and many are broken. They are brown, yellow, green and white. After infusing, they are all pale green.

Aroma: Very light. Strong tea flavor. Not sweet, not sour. Brisk. Brown/orange in color. The tea might be infused too strong, but it tastes very good, and has more oomph, more authority, than the usual SFTM cake. This tea is light in the high notes (spice, sweet) and heavy in the low notes (tang, brisk, astringency).

As the mouth acclimates to the tea and the tea cools, the flavors soften considerably. This pu’er has a big mouth-feel: smooth and satiny, almost gooey. With cooler temperature, a very pleasing smokiness evolves. It is just a nuance.

Every day I learn to let the tea cool down. This tea is very good when it cools. In the future I shall remember to brew it a little lighter to search for different nuances. It does not have the physical makeup that the name brought to mind. I expected to find the Fo Hai (“Yinzhen Cake”) bud-predominant mix, but this one is more leafy and would age very well (wild conjecture!). It is 2yo now, and lacks the sweet spice that some "drink-now" SFTM cakes carry.

The cooling tea does have some fruitiness (just a hint of apples?). I believe it also has what some call a cigar-flavor, but I’m not certain of that. Later infusions have a tiny hint of mint. The tea carries a flavor I often associate with Meng Hai cakes, but it’s not quite as sweet. My similitude is this: The pu’er reminds me of a burgundy wine, dry and strong.

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