Sunday, October 14, 2012

1995 Yi Yang Fu Zhuan Brick Tea

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.



Jakub Tomek said...

Hi Matt,
I re-tasted this recently and still thought that it was too "dried out" - compared, e.g., to CNNP Hunan Shouzhu Fuzhuans from 2007 or 2011 which were a lot stronger and more concentrated.

Do you know any other good fu bricks available for sale?
All the best!

Matt said...

Jakub Tomek,

Yes, agreed it is the driest Fu Zhuan ever tried. As a result it tastes quite a bit different, though interesting, than most others.

Looking to acquire more aged bricks but this 1995 Yi Yang tasted too "dry" to consider.

Any readers have any recommendations?


Jakub Tomek said...

Hello Matt,
have you seen Chawangshop's bricks? There are several aged things in the Heicha section.

I have experience only with 2007 Hunan Fu which was very good (and very cheap); but Honza, the owner, told me that the 2011 Hunan Fu brick is similarly good. So even though it is not aged, it might be a good buy.

What kind of heicha do you like the best?


Matt said...

Jakob Tomek,

Haven't dealt with Chawangshop yet although it looks worthwhile as they have a great selection. Will have to sample some for sure.

My favorite Hei Cha is puerh of course.... hahaha...

Second is Fu Zhuan brick tea- simple and tasty.