2005 Zang Zhuan Cha

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

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Dec 17th 08 7:06 am
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2005 Zang Zhuan Cha

by Consilium » Dec 17th 08 7:06 am

Hello everyone. I'm rather "new" to the forum, but I've been reading you all for months now, and figured now that the semester is over I better create an account if I ever want to trade my teas. To the point. . .

I bought this brick over the summer from RoyalPuer.com (I dont think i can post links yet from what I've read). I dont have much experience with the Tibetan bricks, but is this stuff even puer? Compared to my other cakes this tastes like weak black tea. The broth and flavor are extremely thin, even with twice the leaf quantity as I would use in a 150 mL yixing (normally 5.5 g).

Upon breaking it up, I noticed both faces were composed of a curious, hard "sheet" of tea, while deeper layers were what were to be expected in any shu (chopped, flaky leaf). Not very impressive. Have you found this before?

Lastly, this doesnt taste like shu pu. The broth is a light amber, thin, and tastes of a stale Assam. I know most of you have already outlined your disdain for shu in other threads, so maybe many of you wouldn't have come across this brick - however sharing your experience with anything similar is appreciated.

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Dec 17th 08 6:43 pm
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by Consilium » Dec 17th 08 6:43 pm

" A Tibetan can fall sick in a matter of days without it. "
Haha, I didnt see that one there before. Anyone willing to make that kind of claim as a selling point obviously doesnt think very highly of the teas quality. Drink this or you'll die!

I didnt think the price was too bad for a 2005, I'd rather not drink any shu much newer than that. I doubt this will benefit from any further aging at this point, as I doubt the composition is much more then spent leaves.

Whats with the "tea skin" though? I've never seen this on other compressed bricks with chinese characters. It just seems like some kind of strange organic coating. Unsettling.

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Dec 17th 08 9:48 pm
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by puerhking » Dec 17th 08 9:48 pm

Wow. That looks like it would cause a chain reaction if it were compressed any more. You know.....others have talked about a gelatinous goo from some of the compressed nugget shu's. Perhaps this is the same thing due to the high level of compression.

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Dec 18th 08 9:28 am
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by Consilium » Dec 18th 08 9:28 am

Thanks for the replies.
puerhking: gelatinous goo from some of the compressed nugget shu's
I know what your talking about, I have some loose "broken nugget" puer from a recent PS sample, however not only have I never seen the nuggets as previously described in other threads, but this tea brick displays its freakish qualities prior to brewing. I'll try to get some photos up this week of the broth and broken brick to illustrate what I mean.

I stabbed myself only a dozen times trying to remove the cortex of this brick without destroying its constitution. In the process, both faces with the characters came off as if they were plastic sheets of tea glued to the top face of a brick. Disturbing. I almost wish I had more to complain about regarding taste, however besides being so thin-tasting as to ignore major shu pu qualities, the taste is excusable at best.
TomVerlain: what are your brewing parameters ?
Although different with most puer, I can generalize this brick's brewing methods as follows: Doubling mass of pu to 11g due to weakness of broth, 175 mL Zisha pot. First is 15 sec rinse (about the amount of time to pour water into and out of the vessel). First infusion flash, second flash, 3rd 5 sec, 4th 15 sec, 5th 30 sec, etc up to 11 infusionas at a total of 5 minutes.

Now that I think about it more, the fact that the tea came in a rather impressive silk bag should have told me something about its "face value". I'll be happy to send out some samples of this brick to anyone interested if I'm allowed to do that. Anyone who has some of the PS Tibetan bricks as a comparison trade would be especially appreciated.

By the way, anyone know what those characters mean? Does it say "Drink or Die" or "God darnit your a loser"? Regards-

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Dec 18th 08 1:01 pm
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by xuancheng » Dec 18th 08 1:01 pm

For some reason, I can't access the Royal Puer site on my computer. Tried a couple of browsers, maybe their servers are blocked here. I was going to try to translate the characters or find out more about the tea... oh well.

Most tea that Tibetans drink is not actually pu'er, although it is somewhat similar to Shu. I think the Tibetans actually boil their tea, maybe thats why you are getting such insipid brews out of it. Try tossing the tea leaves into a pot of boiling water and simmering it for a minute.

That may be overdoing it, but you might want to brew it for longer and see what happens.

I am planning to try a few kinds of Black tea (heicha) soon, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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Dec 18th 08 6:12 pm
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by Jeremy » Dec 18th 08 6:12 pm

Its a nice looking collectors piece, but Ive had the same experience with others. I bought a really cool looking bamboo log with chinese character impressed mini-cakes. The 500g / 10$ price tag should have tipped me off. The tea is quite literally undrinkable, unless of course you are a masochist.