Origin: Wuyi Shan, Fujian, China
Vendor: Tea Spring
Price: $9.90/150 g Beeng
This was part of my first order from Tea Spring, as well as my first compressed tea. Compressed teas are fun. I could get used to this, and I'm already planning to purchase my first puerh cakes, just as soon as I pay for my next tea purchase.
Description (Taken from Tea Spring):
Just like Pu-erh tea, the quality of Yan (Rock) teas from Wuyi Mountains get better with aging. For a time now, tea cakes compressed from great Wuyi teas such as Da Hong Pao have been made by some individuals for personal consumption and sometimes as gifts. Wuyistar Tea Industry is now making these tea cakes for commercial purposes. Their Wu Yi Yan Cha Bing is made using a combination of modern and traditional techniques, closely following the process used to create a once famous, Song Dynasty tribute tea cake called "Long Tuan Feng Bing" (Dragon Phoenix Tea Cake).
Brewing Parameters: 5.5 g/150 ml/200-205 F/rinse 5 s, 45 s, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, drop gaiwan, make a mess, scream and curse as hot water is spilled all over hand.
Since this was my first experience with compressed tea, I figured breaking it up would be a challenge. I followed what steps I remembered from a video I think I originally saw on Bill's blog, and I think I did okay. A letter-opener does work well.
This was only my second Wuyi oolong, a qi lan from Rishi was my first, so I do not have a lot to compare this tea to, but the word that jumps out the most is chocolate. When placed in a heated gaiwan, there is a deep and rich cocoa aroma. This was a tad less complex but pleasant, with chocolate after notes and a sweet finish that lingers on the tongue. It held up to four infusions wonderfully without degrading, and I was looking forward to more when I dropped the gaiwan, thus ending the session.
I have a hunch that there are better Wuyi oolongs available, but the price on this one is very compelling. In a world where you often get what you pay for, I give this tea a 5/5. It was the best ten bucks I spent all year. I'm going to buy a few more and experiment with aging them further.
As I said this was my first order from Tea Spring, and I was very pleased with the whole transaction. Their site is informative, and their audio links on proper pronunciation are great. I like the prices and their shipping rates. It took eight business days to arrive; not bad in my opinion, considering its coming all the way from China. They sent me two samples with my order, which is nice, and the product came in heat-sealed Mylar bags. I will be doing more business with them.