1960s Hong Tai Chang Puerh cake
It tastes like gold
Cultivar: Gushu (old arbor) Puerh
Harvested: Spring 1960s.
Origin: Hong Tai Chang tea company. This puerh tea company dates back to 1888 when a company named "Hong Chang" was established by M. Ma Hong Chang in Yiwu. In the early 1930s, the company opened a branch in Bangkok, Thailand and named it "Hong Tai Chang". After 1950, when the communists seized control of Yunnan, the private company Hong Chang ceased to exist in China and Hong Tai Chang had to source its raw material from Yunnan or the borders of Yunnan (Myanmar, North Vietnam or North Thailand).
Process: raw, sun dried, pressed similar to an iron cake. Stored in Hong Kong and then Taiwan.
After the cake, the pictures show 2 gr of dry leaves and the 6 minute brew in a white porcelain competition set. The goal of this brew isn't to get the best brew, but to ascertain the quality of the leaves through an extreme brew.
The cake has been very well preserved. The edges of the cake are still very much intact and we can observe a peculiar way of pressing the leaves. This is a distinctive characteristic of this tea company. The leaves on the cake appear very clear and clean. The color isn't uniform, which means it's not shu. This is further confirmed by the long brew of 2 grams of tea: the brew has a beautiful dark red/brown color, but isn't black. And it has great transparency and a nice shine. Only the leaves take their time to unfold.
The cake has a light, sweet, fresh and clean incense/dry wood scent. Here are the various scents I encountered during multiple brews: clean and old. Lichens and mushrooms. Dark wood. Camphor. Glutinous rice. Light incense perfume. Wet tropical forest...
Three main attributes come up in almost every brew: clean, sweet and cooling. The competition brew manages to be very sweet and enjoyable, but it's so concentrated in aromas that it makes sense to brew this tea in a small zisha teapot and adapt the time to the concentration you prefer. That's how I experienced salivation at the back of throat and freshness in the first brew, a thick, viscous taste in the second, a total sweetness in the third, a thick taste with a soft feeling and warm hands in the fourth, a pleasant tickling on the tongue on the fifth, purity and freshness again in the sixth...
Neifei: "This company has started on the main street of Yiwu and has focused on the trade of fine buds and high quality tea leaves and on the transformation and refinement of these leaves. And for the purpose of avoiding forgeries, we have included this neifei. Hong Tai Chang President Jin Bai."
Conclusion: We conservatively estimate this cake to be between 50 and 60 years of age. It's a fantastic experience to be able to enjoy gushu leaves that have matured so well. The clarity and purity of each cup is staggering. Each brew unveils a new scent or a new taste. And there's so much presence on the palate after the tea is gone. This tea brings us closer to Puerh Heaven!