Pressed black tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Pressed black tea

Postby Drax » Sep 6th, '10, 09:06

Yunnan Sourcing recently put up this black tea, pressed into a beeng a-la pu'erh style.

I've only rarely seen this done with oolongs and black tea, but it seems interesting enough.

My question, though, comes from the description:

Black tea is suitable for aging and undergoes a gradual mellowing. Compressing black tea slows the aging process and makes the tea suitable for drinking as much as 5 years into the future.


This statement "as much as 5 years" seems to limit the aging potential. But is there a limit? I ask because I've really enjoyed this 20-30 year old black tea.

Either way, I'm assuming that aging black tea (and oolong, etc) is best in low- or no-humidity environments?

I've got a lot of questions there, but I appreciate any thoughts :D

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby debunix » Sep 6th, '10, 10:53

I'm curious about this too, because I've just discovered a few ounces of Yunnan black tea I what i suspect is at least 15 or 20 year old packaging in the back of my Dad's tea cabinet, and was wondering whether to keep it or toss it. I'm hoping to try some later today.

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby Jack_teachat » Sep 24th, '10, 03:31

I had one of these cakes last year and I thought it was really good. The tea had some very pleasant honey-like notes and a really long lasting sweetness on the finish.

Jack :D

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby TwoPynts » Sep 24th, '10, 10:17

Nice!

Debunix, it couldn't hurt to try it. :)

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby TokyoB » Sep 24th, '10, 22:30

Drax - can you tell us more about the Essence of Tea 1980s hongcha?
Thanks!

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby Tead Off » Sep 25th, '10, 00:54

Drax wrote:
Black tea is suitable for aging and undergoes a gradual mellowing. Compressing black tea slows the aging process and makes the tea suitable for drinking as much as 5 years into the future.


This statement "as much as 5 years" seems to limit the aging potential. But is there a limit? I ask because I've really enjoyed this 20-30 year old black tea.

Either way, I'm assuming that aging black tea (and oolong, etc) is best in low- or no-humidity environments?[quote]
Low humidity is preferable for aging non-fermented teas. In the case of aging oolongs, these teas are usually re-roasted every 1-2 years and not just left alone in a container somewhere. With red/black teas, compressing will slow down the oxidation process but I think it will depend on which teas are suitable for aging. Usually aged teas are roasted in a way that prepares them for aging. I think black teas will lose something when aged. Is that what 'mellowness' is? I can't imagine tea masters taking their high grade blacks and compressing them. I can't imagine Dancong tea masters doing it either. Too much lusciousness in the loose leaf.

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby debunix » Sep 25th, '10, 01:21

Tried the old black tea last weekend, and it was vile. It might have been the starting material or the aging, but regardless, it was quickly relegated to the 'organic wastes' bin.

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby murrius » Sep 25th, '10, 12:06

debunix wrote:Tried the old black tea last weekend, and it was vile. It might have been the starting material or the aging, but regardless, it was quickly relegated to the 'organic wastes' bin.


I nominate you as todays Tea Hero for trying that tea.

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby Drax » Oct 23rd, '10, 22:30

TokyoB wrote:Drax - can you tell us more about the Essence of Tea 1980s hongcha?
Thanks!


I guess I should do a better job at checking old threads, :lol:

I appreciate everybody throwing in on it. I hope debunix is still alive, too.

In any case, somebody had asked me about this a couple months ago and I wrote up my tasting notes from the 1 session I had with it (on the plus side, since it's been around 20 years, I don't think I have to be in a rush to use it up...)

Drax's Notes wrote:Anyway, Nada had said that "its chaqi and endurance give away its age..." and I suppose I could concur with that.

I brew my black teas possibly a bit differently... I have a small 4oz pot that I use, into which I put 4 grams of tea... but then I double brew it (I steep one pot, pour it out, immediately start another steep, then combine the two).

My sessions went like this:

1 (30s) + 2 (30s)
3 (60s) + 4 (60s)
5 (60s) + 6 (60s)
7 (2m) + 8 (3m)
9 (5m) + 10 (5m)

It certainly had endurance. On the first round, I noted the aroma and taste were a good, strong black tea with a deep golden amber soup.

But the second round.... suddenly my mouth was buzzing like with a mintiness, but it wasn't a normal mint (pepper or spear, etc).... a very neat cooling effect.

The following rounds were very similar with the coolness of the mintiness. The tea was noticeably lighter by the 3rd round, and it kept lightening to the end, but I enjoyed the whole series.

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Re: Pressed black tea

Postby Sirwill » Oct 27th, '10, 11:48

Drax wrote:
Black tea is suitable for aging and undergoes a gradual mellowing. Compressing black tea slows the aging process and makes the tea suitable for drinking as much as 5 years into the future.


This statement "as much as 5 years" seems to limit the aging potential. But is there a limit?


I would think that the description means that it takes 5 years to reach some sort of "maturity." Maybe the longer it is aged past then really has no effect on the tea...?
I am just relating that to some of the things I have heard about pu'erh aging.

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