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Older pu-erh characteristic

Well, I got this tea from a friend. I really have no idea what tea factory the tea comes from. It is a 250g cake that has been compressed by machine. The cake is reportedly from the 60's. When I pry off some for brewing, it comes off in the expected chunks for heavily compressed tea. When I brew up the tea, it brews up into a nice dark amber liquor; it has nice mouthfeel; there is no astringency.

So, with all of that as a preface, here is my question for the accumulated wisdom of the group. This tea literally was powder except for a couple of partial leaves. Is this normal for an olderm highly-compressed tea? Or, is this just a really crappy tea?
 
Netsufr, From my experience and in my humble opinion, generally better aged pu'ers--even zhuan cha, fang cha,and tuo cha's--are not comprised of tiny particles.

But some of my friends speak fondly of a brick called Hong Kong Back to China. It was tightly compressed and comprised of particles, but it delivered an enjoyable aged pu'er beverage. Another similar item, P.L.A. teabrick, was wretched. People told me not to buy it, but the photo made it look beautiful, so I bought it, and it was yucky and went out the window. The surface was pretty, but the interior and the tea liquor were awful in the extreme.

Some old iron cakes are great and fetch vast sums of money. They often remain tight even into old age. Jincha (mushroom-shaped "tight tea"), true to its name, remains tight, and to drink it even mature, one often needs to go at it first with an ice pick.

I have two wonderful 'shrooms in my drink-now hutch, one from the eighties and one from the nineties. When I partake of them, I break loose a chunk, but I do not break the 'shroom chunk down further into smaller pieces. I let it hydrate in the vessel and slowly self-discombobulate as I brew it over a period of days. I have not answered your question, and I doubt I even make any sense. :) grasshopper
 
From my experience with older, heavily compressed teas, they seem to fall apart without much effort from me. Actually more of the leaf tends to stay intact when well aged than when new. Almost as if they have given up the fight and finally relaxed. If you are being gentle with it a what you wind up with is a pile of dust then I would think the cake was made from dust in the first place. Teas that are made from leaf particles are hard to brew and always brew a cup of murky sludge. Ive had tuocha's that were very well aged and I realized I didn't even need a pick, just the slightest prying with my fingers was enough to get it to just fall apart and most of the leaf was whole. But the real question is, do you like it?
 
*snip* It is a 250g cake that has been compressed by machine. The cake is reportedly from the 60's. *snip*


I could be wrong but I don't think they pressed stuff in 250 gram cakes back then. I thought smaller sized cakes were a relatively modern (post-00) phenomenon
 
I could be wrong but I don't think they pressed stuff in 250 gram cakes back then. I thought smaller sized cakes were a relatively modern (post-00) phenomenon

ah-ha, that is an interesting fact. Good point of reference for the future. However, I did misuse the terminology; it is actually a brick vice a cake.

tea had pretty good flavor profile but was not amazing or anything. I pried the tea off the brick in a couple of chunks that really did not disintegrate completely due to the very tight compression until after the 9th or 10th infusion.

I had no idea that there were teas that were actually comprised of compressed of something that might be the equivalent of tea fannings. Very interesting.

Update on brick type. The person providing this brick believes it to be a Cultural Revolution tea brick from the 70's. The tea came in a nice wood presentation box but there is no wrapper, no nei fei or anything else that would be useful to identify it.
 
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