; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2016 Bitter Tits ;

The Very Limited T-Shirt for Cwyn's Tea Fund

Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 Bitter Tits

2016 Yiwu from Bitterleaf Teas
Finally we have a new spring puerh! As many of you puerh hogs know, this year Yunnan experienced unusually cold weather and even frosts and snow! All of that colder weather pushed back the growth of older tea trees later in the spring. Along with this, vendors likewise appear to be pushing back somewhat against the trend of releasing tea cakes early, perhaps as a response to last year’s wetter teas which required a longer period of rest. So my first puerh in for this new year is a cake personalized for Old Cwyn by Bitterleaf Teas, so I’ll call it 2016 Bitter Tits.

Tear at 3 o'clock. For those who read analog clocks.
My new titty tea is a purchase in response to an offer from Bitterleaf Teas several months ago on Steepster. For just $34.50 I could get a full 357g cake with my own custom neifei! Now how can I possibly resist a deal like this? Well I can’t. Some of my Steepster friends don’t have anything they can use for a custom neifei, but naturally I have plenty already designed using my own personal forefinger in Art Studio for IPad. I didn’t mind coughing up $34.50 for my own tea cake as it saves me a trip to Yunnan this year. And I got several samples along with my cake, quite a surprise making this even more of a value.


Personalized for Old Cwyn
The wrapper itself is one of the best designs I’ve seen. Who doesn’t love a chain smoking monkey with a uni-tit? The only downer is someone else’s name on the wrapper. I don’t know who Kelly Puissegur is. Or how to pronounce it. Kitty Pussy-grr. Meow. The guy who emailed me used the name Jonah. I suppose I could maybe email again and find out, but I’m the end consumer here and this is supposed to be my personalized cake. Whatever, the smoking monkey is cool enough I can let that slide. Also, the wrapper arrived with a tear on the back from the sharp edges inside the cardboard box, yet another small disappointment simply because the wrapper is a keeper otherwise. I guess I can cut out the monkey at some point and paste it onto a spare wrapper, assuming I’m not too arthritic when I have to use a scissors. At least my son can take me to the hospital if I have an accident, yet another instance in the world of ours where old people are overlooked even in the small details of life.

Wetness of the pressing more obvious on the under-side.
I haven’t ordered anything from Bitterleaf Teas before, and didn’t even have this new company on my radar. In fact, their little marketing ploy is probably the only one that can sucker me in at this point, especially when I really don’t need another Yiwu cake. Still, I do need spring tea and the weather is certainly warm enough here that I don’t feel like drinking warming teas like shou or heicha. The date stamp on the wrapper is 25 April 2016, and I received it on 27 May, so the tea is really fresh. And not brown like some other so-called “spring” teas we know of…

A mix of leaf grade.
In fact, this cake is really wet. The leaves are blackish green and tough to chip off this compressed cake right now. In another month or two the tea will likely dry out some more and loosen up a little bit. I managed to pry off 7g from the under-side, careful to preserve my personal neifei on the front, but then threw my back out in the process. One of life’s little trials I must offer up for the day.

I went with 95C on the temp for the water, as I don’t want the tea to turn to mush. Right now this is really what I’d call “green tea,” as opposed to fully rested puerh so hitting it with boiling water is too cruel. The leaves are smallish, as are the tiny twigs I can see, suggesting we have a young plantation cake. In the hohin I can smell a strong mint and lemon, along with the usual Yiwu honey.

Second steeping
First cup is rather unremarkable as a green steeping, the tea opens much more on steep 2 when I took this photo. I popped an Advil Liqui-gel capsule for my back and continued. Steep 3 is highly bitter, a strong plus for a tea going into a collection of rather sweet Yiwu teas. I’m starting to prefer my teas more bitter, I think the more bitter teas are likely to resist fading.

The cooling mint profile shows up in the throat, and the tea is bitter sweet and sour lemons. Lingers on the upper back of the palate, not very long in the legs but I don’t expect legginess in a plantation tea and certainly not one with a naked old lady for a neifei singing in the tune of $34 and Change. What I’m glad about is that I don’t see any padding with taliensis leaf, so the thickness belongs to the main profile rather than added leaf.

Leaves after about 4 steeps.
I’m also glad to note that the processing here is top notch. Not a hint of char in the strainer and no smoky taste whatsoever. This is the reason I prefer to buy teas from sourcing vendors rather than large factory productions. I find that the sourness of charred tea bothers me more and more, it is just an aesthetics issue for me. I want to taste the tea and not the processing. Smaller vendors sourcing their own tea oversee the processing themselves for the most part. For these vendors, their business has a great deal riding on the smaller productions they can afford to purchase. They can’t afford to pick out decent leaf and then end up with poor processing.

Steep 6 is a bit sweeter, the huigan is beginning to kick in, and the throat is still very cooling. Stronger clover honey scent now the tea is opening up. Steep 7 is more green liquid and vegetal in the cup, I think dropping the water temp now is probably a good thing with tea this fresh. I’m going to keep going at 95C because I’m lazy but I will guess the tea is starting to cook at this temp. In a few months when the cake dries out, the tea will withstand the higher temps much better. The tea gives 10 decent steepings with regard to flavor but again the tea is suffering my punishing temps so I’ll stop for now.


                          In case you missed it and want to borrow it.
I think in the early days of trying this tea that Bitterleaf’s 2016 Bitter Tits Yiwu...errr,..Limited Production Yiwu, sits very solidly at $0.10/gram with other teas at $0.25/gram. So I mean that this 357g cake at $34.50 compares very well with 200g cakes in the $50 range. It doesn’t of course represent high end Yiwu, but as a solid drinker and one for aging, the cake has what it takes. And of course with my image on it, this tea is a no-fail.  Even better, Jonah was kind enough to enclose a few other samples along with my purchase, a couple of puerh samples and a black tea. I’ll try and get those up soon on Steepster.

Cwyn

2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry about the tear in the wrapper, there should have been additional padding inside that box. We'll be sure to send out a replacement wrapper or 2 of the same artwork with your next order. Kelly Puissegur is the artist, btw... we do in house designs for everything else, but couldn't come up with something like that on our own.

    And putting this tea up there with $0.25/g teas is very flattering, thank you.

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  2. I have some things from them on the way as well. I ordered the 2007 BuLang and the Fall BuLang as well as the Old Comrade. I am happy to see you like them as well.

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