This 2014 Hekai Ripe is one of those “what the h***?” teas I found in my stash recently, and then tracked down where I bought it from. I bought this cake from puerhshop.com during a period of insanity last year when I needed more ripe teas to store for my sister. I like Hekai tea in raw form, and hoped this cake might be as nice.
|Four steep after three rinses|
|The drop behind the fish dried thick like blood.|
|Probably best to read the Chinese and skip the English if you can.|
Teavivre wanted to send me some puerh samples. I don’t get many vendors asking to send me samples. The few vendors who try offer teas I do not drink, and the vendors clearly have not read or looked at my blog. But this vendor offered puerh so I said okay. The initial offer included a stuffed mandarin which I cannot have so I asked if they could substitute their Hekai or possibly the Xigui instead from their catalog. I got both.
|2013 Xigui sample from Teavivre|
|A nice sample chunk|
The 2013 Xigui has some suffering from sample packing, in that the brew seems a bit dry and muted. I don’t have any idea how long ago the tea sample was packed. I am not a fan of pre-packaged samples as very often the teas can be packed years ago, not the same as a sample freshly chipped from a cake. The tea seems much younger than four years old with no evidence of real aging.
|Window shot on a rare sunny day in winter|
|Not much aging here.|
Lately I am a creature of extremes with puerh. Sometimes I drink really cheap drinkers or I drink really great tea. That middle area of “okay” tea is the tricky nether zone for me. Some folks stay firmly in the cheap tea zone, or maybe in the mid-tier area of drinker tea and are content. I want to pony up the cash for tea I cannot live without, and anything less than that I will go cheap. The middle zone still leaves me scratching my head. Tea is subjective indeed and puerh is every man and woman for themselves. Unless you have $1k to spend.