How different are the same cakes from year to year?


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby Rdeitz » May 6th, '14, 16:46

For all of you more seasoned pu erh veterans out there, in your experience, how much variation is there from the same cakes (at least in name) year to year? For example, if you liked a particular cake from Tea Urchin last year, would you buy the same cake again, sight unseen, this year? If you have done this in the past, how close are they? I know this would depend on the producer. For example, I suspect there might be more variation from Menghai than Yunnan Sourcing. But I don't know... what's been your experience? Big changes or little ones? What factors affect how different a tea would be from year to year? How do you decide whether to purchase the same cake again from the following year's vintage?
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Re: How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby TuoChaTea » May 6th, '14, 17:00

In small productions like Yunnansourcing, Tea Urchin, Essence of Tea etc., especially of single mountain teas you can expect variation from year to year.

Mixed beengs, especially large factory recipes like 7542, 8582 are much more consistent.
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Re: How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby nada » May 6th, '14, 20:06

If it's from the same trees, then you should be able to expect a broadly similar tea.

The main differences will then come from whether the tea is pure or has been mixed prior to purchase, how skillful and consistent the processing is from year to year, whether any agrochemicals have been used, environmental and climatic differences from year to year and whether the trees have been overpicked or stressed in some way.

Just because a tea carries the same name, comes from the same region or village doesn't necessarily indicate that it's from the same trees though. You'd have to verify this on a case by case basis. It's always worth sampling first - it will help you from ending up with a collection of cakes that you regret buying and struggle to drink.

As TuoChaTea said - large factory recipes are much more consistent, at least on a year to year basis. They blend maocha from different regions and different years to achieve some consistency. There seems to be a general decline in quality over the longer term though.
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Re: How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby Rdeitz » May 6th, '14, 20:47

So if a tea is purported to come from the same trees, would that be pretty similar from one year to the next?
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Re: How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby nada » May 6th, '14, 20:50

See first two paragraphs of my previous reply - you should find your answer there.
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Re: How different are the same cakes from year to year?

Postby AllanK » May 10th, '14, 00:49

One particular cake I have from both the 2008 and 2011, and 2012 are the Dayi 0532 ripe tea. They are consistently good all three. There are no major differences except the 2008 is noticeably better and clearer.
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