Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Strategy of Buying Up Old Forgotten Samples and 2006 Long Yuan Hao “Gold Medal” Cake

Buying up old forgotten samples is a trick that I read in the comment section of a tea blog many years ago (Hobbes’ Half-Dipper, I think).  A commenter noted that you could still buy up a bunch of HouDe tea samples long after the cake is gone.  Very cleaver. 

Sometimes the cakes are sold out a long time ago but the vendor is left with a bunch of weighed and bagged tea samples.  Most people either sample for education or, more often, sample to see if they will purchase a full cake.  So it is reasonable, that some samples might be lingering around for longer than they should. 

 But I think this situation of buying up all the remaining samples only really works in your favor if a few conditions are met…

The vendor sells the samples for the same cost per gram as the full cake.  Most vendors sell samples for a much higher cost per gram than the full cake.  So if you are buying up a bunch of old forgotten samples you have to make sure that the price per gram is low- preferably the same price per gram as the full cake. 

The price of the puerh is now worth multiples more than when it was first sold.  If the samples are old there may be situations where they might still be worth it even if they cost more.  For instance, if the cake is now worth multiples more than what it was first sold as and the price of the sample was not increased, this would totally be worth it.

The samples are either removed from the cake after being ordered or are larger samples.  The theory goes that puerh ages better in contact with more puerh and not as good, say in small 15g samples bags.  So you are better off with lager samples or even vendors which remove them off the bing when ordered.

You are buying to consume immediately rather than age for the long term or resell.  Although aging samples is possible, it isn’t recommended for the reasons above.  You could think of a bunch of samples as Maocha or a mini bing – not the same as aging a full cake or brick.

This puerh was one of two sample buy outs that I made in my second order from Awazon and they met all the conditions above so they both ended up being excellent tea for what I paid.  Awazon sells its samples for the same price per gram as the actual cake and the samples are 90g or 100g (approx ¼ of a cake or the size of a mini-bing these days).  I ended up paying $4.50 for 100g of this tea and I purchased the last two large intact 100g samples ($0.05/gram)- the full cake was long sold out.

My second order from Awazon consisted of five cakes or sample lots with an age range of 2004-2006 from Long Yuan Hao, a puerh factory out of the Dadugang area of Xishuangbanna.  This factory has been around for a long time and I have little memory of ever trying them so this order was a little bit of an exploration of this cheap and often overlooked puerh factory as well.  Awazon as well as another vendor, Green Tea Shop, sells lots of LongYuan Hao- it is terribly inexpensive tea.

I remembered a favorable review of this blended puerh fromway back when from Brett of Black Dragon Tea Bar.  He is doing an aging experiment on this one, so it is interesting to compare notes on his Seattle storage to how this puerh has fared in Awazon’s dry Kunming storage.

The large leaves have a slight fruity fragrance and easily peel away from the large sample chunk.

The first infusion presents with a malty, rich, smooth creamy cherry fruit and jujube sweetness that dominates this first infusion while nicely coating the tongue.  There is a less noticeable aged vegetal note and a baked pumpkin taste underneath.  A nice clear floral and date aftertaste is left on the breath.

The second infusion gives off a clear, if not slightly watery, rich, sweet camphor and slight aged vegetal note.  It has a mild cool finish in the throat and an after taste of subtle sweet berries and floral notes.  This puerh is filled with diverse high notes in a light airy base.  The mouthfeel has medium to mild

The third delivers creamy medicinal-menthol wood notes with subtle sweet berries in the aftertaste.  There is a mild returning coolness in the aftertaste along with florals, surgar cane, and fruit.  The Qi of this tea is happy in some dimension I can’t explain.  It makes the mind happy and care free.  The effect in the body is mild.

The fourth gives of a fruity light initial taste that develops more into camphor wood and finishes with a round cooling taste over camphor wood, slight florals and cherry fruit tastes.

The fifth is much the same notes as above.  This infusion develops a mild cinnamon and clove note and seems overall deeper than previous infusions.  The woody taste is dominant with malty fruity sweetness underneath now.  A deeper date taste is the dominating lighter note now.

The sixth infusion is mellowing out and strings together soft woody, slight cinnamon, notes finishing with a sweet cinnamon taste, slightly floral and barely cooling in the throat.

The seventh has a sweet tropical fruit taste which transitions quickly to mellow, flat wood then to cinnamon on flat wood.

The eighth is much the same but flatter still.  I like the long sweet cinnamon aftertaste here which lingers long in the mouth.

This simple, long sweet cinnamon taste is enjoyed for a few more infusions before these leaves are put to rest.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, mild but flavorful puerh considering the price.  It is very drinkable and enjoyable.  Overall, I am happy with this simple and yummy everyday drinker.  I think I have drank up almost half over the Summer which is a testament to its fruity charms.


No comments:

Post a Comment