Other reunions of puerh twins or triplets can be found here.
This pair of twins are different in terms of two factors, one factor is storage location and the other factor is the shape of tea. Brother #1 is a brick and brother #2 is a cake. One of them was stored in Kunming between 2003 and 2013 and one of them was stored in Guangzhou throughout the time (both dry-stored, and the supplier of the teas literally repeated for more than a dozen times that the Guangzhou-stored one is dry-stored, dry-stored, dry-stored...) Their difference in taste, I believe, is mostly due to their storage environment. But it's unknown to me how much the shape of the teas has affected their aging.
Traditionally bricks were often made with lower grade leaf materials than cakes (and against today's trend, tuo used to use the highest grade of leaf materials). Up till today, many puerh brands still have both cakes and bricks in the same product series, and higher leaf materials are used for the cake. But these two teas are made of exactly the same leaf materials from the same batch. So they are indeed twins. And I think it's cute that they even have same clothing.
Both teas have decent leaf materials, but not as pretty leaves and buds as today's most expensive puerh products. Like many other good teas made in early 2000s and before, the tea doesn't look as meticulously made as many modern-day products. But it's easy to tell the leaves are nice and nutritious.
Brother #1 brick
This one has a "gift with purchase" - a cotton string
This one also has a "gift with purchase" - a wheat shell
One small piece off each:
Close up look of the piece from the cake:
Close up look of the piece from the brick:
Since this is not molecular biology, but just casual tea tasting, I didn't weigh the 2 pieces, and just took two pieces of seemingly suitable sizes and took two teapots (of different shapes and clay textures) of seemingly suitable sizes. And of course, no thermometer for water temperature and no timer for infusion time. ;-)
It turned out indeed I mistakenly took too large a piece of the brick for the teapot I assigned to it. This kind of things happen rather frequently, I have to admit. One of my favorite tea seller often says, "I don't know anything about Cha Dao (茶道), I only know something about Dao Cha （倒茶）." While I guess you all know what Cha Dao means, I want to point out that Dao Cha means pouring tea. He is a professional and knows how to pour tea very well. Compared with him, I don't know either Cha Dao or Dao Cha, and I just lower the standards for myself :-p
And indeed all these discrepancies in a comparative tasting would contribute to the final tastes of the teas. Would it affect a fair comparison? Well, if you think of it in another way - if you have to control all the brewing factors to detect the tiny small difference between two teas, wouldn't you just conclude that these two teas are *almost* the same and not distinguishably different from each other?
For these twins here, in spite of the discrepancies in brewing, the differences between the two teas are still very obvious and it doesn't take a trained professional to tell. Besides, it's also very obvious that the differences are mostly due to the storage environments of the two teas.
I know I'm rather wordy and I still have a lot to blah-blah about the comparative tasting of the two teas. So I would take a break here and come back to the tasting notes later. And here is a question for you (which is not a tricky question): from the dry tea photos alone, could you tell which one was Guangdong-stored and which was Kunming-stored?
6 months ago