2004 Tai Lian Brick 250g

2004 Tai Lian Brick 250g

Prior to 2005, the Cha Ma Si puer tea factory was known by the name “Tai Lian.” In those days, roads in Yunnan weren’t nearly as good, it was much harder to get tea from the mountainous producing regions, puer tea was only just beginning its ascent into wild popularity and Puer mao cha still sold for just a dollar per half-kilogram.

This brick was pressed at the tail end of this era, using leaves from Xi Shuang Ban Na and Lin Cang, plucked from bushes of sixty years or older. Using excellent standards for fermentation in its time, its leaves spent no less than 60 days in processing with careful attention paid to their moisture content and temperature. Throughout the process, a little bit of moisture was added as the leaves were turned. This “wet” process was common at the time. After their fermentation period, the leaves from this batch were sorted into the standard grades of leaf size. This Tai Lian brick's leaves fall into the larger grade eight and above.

These cakes were purposely stored to mellow their flavor and now, after having been stored for so long, have shed all of the earthy and oceanic flavors that one would associate with wet processed black puer, leaving a very sweet and smooth brew. The color of its liquor has clarified with age as well, leaving a clear, bright red infusion. Although this tea was produced with the artificial fermentation of the cooking process, it is evident that natural fermentation has continued in the bricks, yielding a tea that is already quite different from young black puer. Overall this brick is an excellent representation of how good fermentation processing combines with careful againg to produce even better tea.

Note that the fragrance of this tea is especially strong when it is leaves are slowly “cooked” in water at a simmer, producing wild flower and sweet preserved fruit. Still, this tea brews excellently with conventional brewing methods, but we do suggest trying it this way. You will be surprised with how much sweetness comes out.

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