Young, cheap tuo cha showdown! – futurebird

Young, cheap tuo cha showdown!

toucha5Can a cheap pu'erh be good? Is it possible to buy cheap tea and age it in to something amazing? Most say "no" --but that won't put me off from trying. The first step is to taste young teas so that one can better understand the aging process.

I put three teas (all inexpensive young pu'erh) in to three teapots without looking much then mixed them up. Who will win the blind tea taste test?

 

toucha8
Tea #1

Astringency, Dryness, nice Hui gan, rather sweet and slightly sour like white grapes. This one needed a longer steep than the other two. Nice back of throat feeling. The leaves are big and plump and young.

toucha7
Tea #2

Heavy mouth-feel, Astringency, Dryness, some Hui gan... I swear this has this flavor like older tea or shu... it's not strong but its there. Steeps dark very quickly. Thick. This is easiest to drink in some ways.

toucha6
Tea #3

Astringency, yet wonderful Hui gan, thick, flavors lasts, just a little biter also smoky? why is raw puerh smoky? Love the after-taste.

Overall
I think in their current young state #2 is the most "drinkable" -- yet it isn't my favorite. I like #3 a bit more ... in fact I like #2 least since it isn't really what I expect from sheng. I suspect it is blended. Not that that is "bad" I just like things that are less contrived.

How will these age? Damned if I know. I have two of each tuocha, one to nibble on and one to keep for a long time. I don't have an special storage arrangements, by my in NYC apartment I never use AC-- so I'm not too worried, I'll probably try to find a self storage unit with the best self storage prices in the future. In any case, if they start to dry out I'll seek new arrangements. But, If I had to guess,I'd guess that #1 will end up too sweet and plain with age, #2 won't really age much since it's so unstable, and #3 has a shot at be good in a few years.

WINNER: #3

Let's see what happens!

And now....

The Reveal

Xia Guan Yellow Ribbon
Xia Guan Yellow Ribbon Tuo Cha 2010 100g Raw ($9)
Jia Ji Tuo Cha * Menghai Dayi Pu-erh Tea
Jia Ji Tuo Cha * Menghai Dayi Pu-erh Tea 2009 100g Raw ($7)   RUNNER-UP
Mystery Tea From ebay
"2012yr Yunnan Wild Old Tea Pu'er Cake tea 100g" Mystery Tea From ebay ($6) WINNER!

 

And there you have it!

toucha1