Over the last few weeks one has consumed Fu Zhuan Cha on an almost daily basis. The decades old bricks which one has consumed over the last five years or so are dwindling. Thankfully Daniel of The Chinese Tea Shop provided a generous sample, this dry stored 1995 Fu Zhuan Brick from Yi Yang factory, and one has been dipping into it off and on. Let's heat up the kettle and see what this old brick is all about...
The dry leaves display visible flecks of "golden flower" mold and smell of very sour but dry wood-bark. The sour notes linger in the nose- an almost fermented sweet odour.
The first infusion is prepared and gives off a flat sweet initial taste which gives way to a malty flavour then to wood and cereal with undercurrents of sweet-corn and flat-caramel. There is a faint sweet caramel and sweet corn-wood aftertaste. The mouthfeel is slightly dry and is felt in the mouth and barely in the upper throat. The taste seems, like most fu tea, to be on one monotone plane with different tastes coming and going with ease.
The second infusion delivers a flat, dry, maple-wood sweet taste in the initial profile. This profile disappears leaving sweet-corn and dry woody-sweet tastes over a distinctly malty base. The aftertaste is simple and malty with faint corn and a slightly caramel disposition. The qi of this tea is very relaxing, ones breath feels much more relaxed- nicely calming.
The third infusion has the same initial taste with slightly stronger dry wood and slightly less flat sweetness. It seems smoother now and transitions less noticeably through the same profile.
In the fourth infusion the tastes become slightly less distinct with more dry-wood taste apparent. Still it is pretty much the same as last infusion with more of a slightly deeper malty-sweet lingering aftertaste which resides in the upper throat. In the fifth infusion the lingering malty-caramel aftertaste becomes even more distinct and has some nice sweet edges to it.
In the sixth and seventh infusions things get more creamy and smooth. The tea develops a velvet-like feel in the mouth with the malty-sweet-caramel taste dwindling over wood notes throughout the profile. The seventh infusion has slight, creamy, vanilla notes in there as well.
In the eighth and ninth infusions woody tastes and malty tastes offer a nice very simple balance. The tastes become uncomplicated here.
In the tenth infusion has a distinct wood broth with a thin pear aftertaste. Fruity qualities are starting to emerge here.
This tea is put to a few more long steepings and it gives up tangy, flat plum fruits, in a watery, subtle smokey broth.