Bao Tang Showdown!

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

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May 31st 17 9:24 am
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Bao Tang Showdown!

by tingjunkie » May 31st 17 9:24 am

I am a big fan of Tea Urchin's Spring 2013 Bao Tang (especially for the price), and was about to order a few more cakes, only to find out they are recently sold out.

So, I ordered a cake of the Spring 2012 Bao Tang from EoT to see how it will compare. It's pretty much the same price per gram. I'll happily post a side by side tasting review when it arrives and has a chance to rest, but that will likely be weeks away.

In the meantime, anyone try both? Did you find a winner between the two? Any other Bao Tang cakes out there I should check out? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

May 31st 17 10:46 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » May 31st 17 10:46 am

tingjunkie wrote: I am a big fan of Tea Urchin's Spring 2013 Bao Tang (especially for the price), and was about to order a few more cakes, only to find out they are recently sold out.

So, I ordered a cake of the Spring 2012 Bao Tang from EoT to see how it will compare. It's pretty much the same price per gram. I'll happily post a side by side tasting review when it arrives and has a chance to rest, but that will likely be weeks away.

In the meantime, anyone try both? Did you find a winner between the two? Any other Bao Tang cakes out there I should check out? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
The EoT is a bit further on in the aging category. I think the Malaysian storage has helped it along.

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Jun 2nd 17 3:07 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by tingjunkie » Jun 2nd 17 3:07 am

Thanks mr mopu. Glad to hear it has decent storage. Did you find the material to be pretty similar in quality otherwise?

Jun 2nd 17 10:50 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » Jun 2nd 17 10:50 am

tingjunkie wrote: Thanks mr mopu. Glad to hear it has decent storage. Did you find the material to be pretty similar in quality otherwise?
The material is decent in that one. It is an under appreciated cake I think. Very good for the money spent on it.

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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by gasninja » Jun 2nd 17 2:56 pm

I bought three cakes of EOTs Bao Tang. I have not tried Tea Urchins. But I do not think you will be disappointed. One of my favorites EOT pressings value wise.

Jun 3rd 17 1:51 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » Jun 3rd 17 1:51 am

gasninja wrote: I bought three cakes of EOTs Bao Tang. I have not tried Tea Urchins. But I do not think you will be disappointed. One of my favorites EOT pressings value wise.
I have two myself from EoT.

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Jun 5th 17 8:14 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by bagua7 » Jun 5th 17 8:14 am

Followed your recommendations and purchased 2 cakes from EoT (blind purchase :evil: )

Thanks! :)

I hope I like them. ;)

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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » Jun 5th 17 10:05 am

bagua7 wrote: Followed your recommendations and purchased 2 cakes from EoT (blind purchase :evil: )

Thanks! :)

I hope I like them. ;)
I think you will or I will take them off your hands.

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Jun 30th 17 1:01 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by tingjunkie » Jun 30th 17 1:01 am

Just returned home after being away, and had my EoT Baotang waiting for me at the PO.

Had one session so far, but I really want to allow it to recover from any travel shock and then do a head to head tasting before forming a trustworthy opinion. First impressions are good so far, and in-line with reviews from others. Clean tea with good Qi and good stamina, but perhaps a little light on intriguing aromas and flavors. We'll see how it does after a little rest. :)

Jul 1st 17 2:05 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » Jul 1st 17 2:05 am

tingjunkie wrote: Just returned home after being away, and had my EoT Baotang waiting for me at the PO.

Had one session so far, but I really want to allow it to recover from any travel shock and then do a head to head tasting before forming a trustworthy opinion. First impressions are good so far, and in-line with reviews from others. Clean tea with good Qi and good stamina, but perhaps a little light on intriguing aromas and flavors. We'll see how it does after a little rest. :)
The rest will help. It doesn't breathe well in plastic.

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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by bagua7 » Jul 5th 17 4:32 am

mr mopu wrote:
I think you will or I will take them off your hands.
No you won't! :)

Nice sheng, in a few words: good stamina, first brews are bitter but pleasant with the underlying notes (for you to find out) which remain in the tongue and later, lovely huigan which lingers for few hours. Kind of a yin-yang pu, subtle + punchy.

I'm not going to age these babies just drink them regularly until I run out.

Jul 5th 17 11:01 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by mr mopu » Jul 5th 17 11:01 am

bagua7 wrote:
mr mopu wrote:
I think you will or I will take them off your hands.
No you won't! :)

Nice sheng, in a few words: good stamina, first brews are bitter but pleasant with the underlying notes (for you to find out) which remain in the tongue and later, lovely huigan which lingers for few hours. Kind of a yin-yang pu, subtle + punchy.

I'm not going to age these babies just drink them regularly until I run out.
I was hoping to have a couple of more aging away. I think it punches in above the price point.

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Jul 17th 17 3:19 am
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Re: Bao Tang Showdown!

by tingjunkie » Jul 17th 17 3:19 am

Results are in from my head to head tasting...

I was about to spend 20 minutes typing out my detailed methodology, tasting notes, and comparing the full profiles of each tea, but ultimately I'll just cut to the chase. Both teas are great, but for their price, they are both outstanding. Both teas are exceedingly clean (even drinking the rinse didn't reveal any off flavors or scratchy-throat warning signs from either tea). I thought the '13 Tea Urchin had a bit more oomph in the flavor, stamina, and Qi, but it was also a tiny bit more drying if pushed and had a slightly thinner mouthfeel. The '12 Essence of Tea had a rounder and more weighty mouthfeel and felt like a very nicely refined tea (perhaps the extra year of aging and the Malaysia storage), but it didn't last quite as many infusions before losing its character and becoming too watery. Both teas had very nice Qi, but I found the TU to be a bit stronger, quicker to hit the body/mind, and happier, while the EoT was a bit calmer, more subtle, and more reflective.

Bottom line for me: I found the TU to hold my interest a bit longer with slightly more complex flavors and more uplifting energy, and at $.16/g compared to the EoT at $.22/g, I would choose the TU to buy more of first. However, with the TU being sold out, I still thought the EoT was excellent for the price and a worthy tea for the stash. I could see many people actually preferring the smoothness, mouthfeel, and refinement of the EoT cake over the slight astringency of the TU cake, too. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how each will age, and if the extra potency of the TU cake will help it to age better, or if it will become more like the EoT cake with another year of mellowing. I also hope Bao Tang stays under the radar for collectors, and that they continue to keep their old trees chemical-free and natural. These are great teas.