Review of Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2012

7 of 104 of 54 of 590 of 100
Very GoodGoodGood Value

When the holidays came around (and the holiday sales) and I was treating myself to one of the more expensive cakes, I picked this one out of all of those available on TeaVivre. The reason that I picked this one was that it's drinkable now, it tastes like it has potential for the future (not all currently drinkable cakes taste like they'll fare well over time), it has a good balance between the presence of notes in the breath and the taste in the mouth, as well as an even effect, and a good bitter note which is present but not intrusive. To compare it to the Xi Gui, in my opinion, the bitter note on the Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian is softer, there are more notes in the taste so the tea's presence is both in the mouth and the breath, and it's more comfortable to drink right now. I do enjoy the Xi Gui, but it's not as comfortable or enjoyable to drink right now. It's not rough, but it edges on it at times, while this one is a gentler experience for me and feels more well-rounded with the distribution of notes. I like the flexibility with this one, too — it's great to have something that's good now and where I also have the option of stowing it away and drinking it later. I don't recall any coughing from roughness in the throat, while the Xi Gui had a coughing effect on me (meaning, it could use more time). I've aged raw pu-erh for more than ten years and that roughness is normal in young cakes and ages out after time. So, it's not something I'd consider a quality issue, it's just a difference in the quality of the leaves and how they're progressing in the aging process. This one is one I'm glad to have for a special treat for now, and I'll keep in mind when drinking it that I shouldn't have too much now because it'll probably be that much better in a few years' time.

(Note: I used the Eastern method directions as provided by TeaVivre when brewing this tea.)

UPDATE: I noticed that when I got a whole cake of this, it wasn't as full-bodied as a sample I left to the open air for a while. It's to be expected that a cake needs some time to rest after being taken out of storage, to acclimate to differences in pressure, moisture, and temperature. So, don't be put off if this has a lighter flavor or mouthfeel when first getting it. The profile shifts after being given some time. This is very much the case for pu-erh, but I've even noticed this trend with green teas (some are less bitter and/or astringent if giving them a few months to rest after harvest). It's just something to keep in mind when trying it.

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