Feb 28, 2009

"WuYi Star" brand wu yi tea cake bing (武夷岩茶饼)

I don't understand why Wu Yi tea cake should be on the trend, and somewhat suspect it has to do with the "hot" market of puerh cake.

Ok, the first ever tea cake was an oolong tea cake. But oolong tea cake disappeared in history, I believe, because it was out competed by other teas. Well, even in recent history, oolong sometimes was sold in cake (bing) form to southeastern Asia. But obviously it was for the convenience of international transportation and preservation. So the redemption of oolong tea cake, in my eyes is a bit odd.

But anway, oolong tea cakes are generally inexpensive. Well they do cost a lot less in transportation and warehousing and that should be reflected in price. But if I were the manufacturer, I wouldn't use the best leaves to make tea cakes, because they will be broken into pieces any way and most leaves wouldn't stay as whole leaves by the time of brewing.

So I tried this tea cake, just for the sake of trying it. The package is fancy and convenient. Price is friendly. It could be an inexpensive choice for Wu Yi lovers. I tried it only once so far, and goofed by mis-estimating the amount of tea leaves. It was actually not the amount of tea leaves, but that most tea leaves were broken (it took some hard work to break off a piece from the cake), and therefore the tea got much stronger than I had expected. So next time I will rememer to use less leaves. In the last several infusions, when the tea was not that strong, and most debries and dusts were removed, the tea was not bad - not great but not bad at all.

But I still don't understand, if not for the low cost reason, why would someone prefer the tea cake to some loose leaf Wu Yi oolong. It's inevitable to have leaves broken into pieces when breaking a tea cake for brewing. And for most dark oolong, broken leaves will cause more bitter and astringent flavor.

Another Wu Yi tea cake from another manufacturer is coming to me. It's featured by grid, so that you can easily break off a piece like breaking off a square of chocolate bar. And I heard it's much easier to handle than the "Wu Yi Star" tea cake. I will see if it tastes better.

Package box:

Package box the other side

I really like this package. After all, it makes transportation easier and less expensive.

The engraved pattern on the tea cake is quite touristic, but kind of lovely

It was not easy to break of a piece and I got a lot of broken leaves (maybe somewhat due to my poor cutting skill)

1st infusion. I made it too dark.

2nd infusion

3rd infusion

This is an later infusion when the tea got less strong and more "normal"

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