Mar 30, 2010

2005 Guan Zi Zai Sheng Yi Wu Jing Xuan


A tea shouldn't be judged by its name, price, or outfit. That being said, I just can't help being a visual tea drinker!

People say Guan Zi Zai puerh is often over-priced for its pretty wrap. Probably that's true. But I just can't help loving the pretty wraps of Guan Zi Zai. This is a relative plain design for Guan Zi Zai. But I love it as always! As for tea quality, I am not experienced enough to judge. But my heart often leans toward successful, small factories like Guan Zi Zai. Puerh market can't be without the good old Xia Guan and Da Yi. But as in all other tea genres, the perpetual vitality is from small factories.

When it comes to tea leaves, again the visual sense kicks in. Many people said it, and I agree, that in puerh, pretty leaves are not that important. But probably because I grew up as a green tea drinker, I just can't stop being judgmental on outlook of tea leaves.

This is not my favorite puerh, but I have to say, I started to admire it the first moment it was unwrapped. Look at those big leaves! It is generously made with nice big leaves from old tea tree, inside and out consistent (although it's a common practice nowadays that better leaves are spread on the surface of a tea cake to make it look better).






The tea cake is quite easy to break. And I did it very carefully so that most leaves are uncrushed. Love the big leaves!



Ok! Puerh is not about pretty leaves. But I just can't help admiring these beautiful, long leaves. 


The taste is almost like some green tea with rich flavor, which may or may not be appreciated by people depending on what they are looking for. I like it very much, but suspect some seasoned puerh drinkers will think it's not strong or aggressive enough. The flavor is very mellow, no astringency or bitterness (with 15-20 sec. for initial infusions). But again, some of my friends would say, "A tea (especially puerh) is not worth it if it's neither bitter nor astringent!" It all depends on what you are looking for. The tea tastes rich, dark, vegetal, with immediate prominent sweet aftertaste.

Overall I think it's a great beginners' tea for people who want to try puerh but don't want to handle the astringency or  bitterness. It may also be appreciated by people who have a heavier taste on green tea. Besides, for a 5-year-old sheng, it's one of the most drinkable. On the other hand, it may not have the "kick" demanded by seasoned puerh drinkers who are after a strong taste that hits you all the way into the throat. After all, puerh, by origin and basic characters, is a tea of nomads and warriors. This one, in my eyes, is more of a tea of literati.

3 comments:

vincentkriek said...

Where did you buy that?

Alex Zorach said...

I think it's not just a superficial benefit when compressed teas are relatively easy to break. I've had some aged raw pu-erh that's frustratingly difficult to break.

Besides the annoyance factor, I think it does make a difference to be able to separate the unbroken leaves. It makes the tea infuse faster if the leaves break a lot.

Gingko said...

Hi Vincent, I got it from Guan Zi Zai factory agent in China and will soon make it available at http://www.LifeInTeacup.com

Alex, yes it's nice when the leaves can be break off intact. This makes tea liquor smoother. Over time, most sheng puerh get easier and easier to break. But I know some people who gently steam a cake or tuo to get the leaves intact. I've never tried it though and maybe I will try it with half a tuo later.