This is a tea I sampled a few months ago and it's so interesting that I still think of it from time to time.
Recently, I also constantly wonder how much longer the tea blog could last. I'm not just talking about this tea blog - although I have to admit that these days I share tasting notes more in other ways than on the blog, mostly because one could be lazy using other media that involves only taking a few pictures and writing a few lines, while getting a lot more instant feedbacks from people. I still think blog is a better medium for writing about tea. But most people, including me, go lazy whenever they could :-p Even my puerh icon, Ulumochi, who used to write tons of nice stuff almost on daily basis, nowadays mostly writes micro blogs on WeChat (the Chinese counterpart of Twitter). His micro blogs are as intelligent and interesting, but I constantly miss his long blog posts!
I drank this tea a few months ago in my office. Then I took photos and immediately micro blogged it. One doesn't have the luxury of writing a real blog at work!
I got the sample for free from a Guang Ya dealer. In recent years, some very, very expensive new puerh brands came to the scene, and about half dozen of them got quite popular (I mean quite popular among rich people, of course). Guang Ya is one of them. I have never bought their puerh, because I don't know what could trigger me to make up my mind to buy a new puerh for several hundred dollars. But I bought some of their Liu Bao. Their Liu Bao is under the sub-brand Guang Wu (广梧). It's still way more expensive than most other brands. But new Liu Bao is overall a lot more affordable than puerh, and they seemed to have some unique traditional-style technique rarely found in other products. So I got their entry level Liu Bao, and to my surprise, got abundant free samples of their higher grade Liu Bao with my orders. Obviously I was hooked by their free samples, and went back buying some higher grade Liu Bao. Then to my joy, they gave me more samples of various types of Liu Bao and puerh. This is one of the samples.
The tea looks very decent and clean. That's sort of expected, for a new shu of almost $100 a cake (357g).
I expected the taste to be nice too. And it exceeded my expectation! It's not stinky (which is already a big plus for a new shu), the liquor is smooth, the taste is interesting and sweet, and it lasts for several decent infusions. Overall it's one of the best new shu's that I've had in recent years (although it's not even the high-grade shu of Guang Ya), and I think it could easily beat a lot of aged shu.
Then I thought more about its price. Still I think it's very expensive. But on the other hand, the price is not so forbidding. If I bought a cake, I could probably be happy drinking it on most of the days and finish the cake in a year. Then it's $100 well spent. You know, many puerh drinkers have many $30 cakes at home that were less than 1/10 used. So what's so wrong with a $100 new shu if you could enjoy every bit of it.
Then I thought of another question, couldn't somebody else make some $50 or $20 shu that is as enjoyable? Of course somebody could do it. And I have some less expensive shu that I enjoy very much. That's why I haven't bought this $100 yet (but indeed I was tempted). Meantime, I also understand why these super expensive brands could get so popular nowadays. I spend a lot of time searching tea. But not everybody who is interested in puerh would also be interested in spending so much time searching and trying different teas. For people who don't have time or don't want to spend time in tea hunting, brands like Guang Ya could be perfect for them for shu and ancient tree young sheng.
My final comments on Guang Ya is, although their tea is expensive, their dealers are always generous in giving out free samples.
If you invert the two sections of the above sentence, it would make sense too ;-)
And my suggestion to tea friends was, buy some of their Liu Bao, and ask for free samples of more expensive teas!
Guess what, Twitter is firewalled in my new office. Otherwise, I could have done some tea twittering during the week...
6 months ago