February 24, 2011

Jing Tea Shop 1984 Jia Ji Tuo Cha


It's been a while since I've done a specific tea review, so here's one.  This tea's either still available or now unavailable, depending on where you look on Jing's website ('Rare Teas' for the former, 'Raw Pu-erh Tea' for the latter).  I eyed this tea for quite a while from afar--watching as it sold out and was restocked, wondering if it was worth $1.45/gram.  I try not to nickel and dime too much about these kinds of things, but this tea wasn't available as a per-gram sample, so the stakes were higher.  Obviously I eventually caved under the auspices of the classically pathetic "birthday present to myself." 

This tea is ultimately a bit disappointing, but mostly in relation to its price--I can point with every finger on one hand (maybe some on another) at less expensive teas at Essence of Tea that I prefer to this one.  In brief, this tuo isn't as mature as I'd hope from a 1984 tea, and it's also less complex and less enduring than I've come to expect from aged pu-erh.  Does this all come down to its storage?  Surely, when it comes to maturity and remaining astringency, but when it comes to complexity and endurance I really have no idea.  A more humid might transform the flavor with a little more depth, but then again the original source material might just not have the complexity found in more famous blend bings.

Really, though, a few years ago this would have been the best aged pu-erh I'd ever tried--the drier storage does bring out a sweetness that for some reason always reminds me of blackberry bushes.  It's quite sweet and soft in the mouth barring a little astringency, and it does survive more brews than an unaged pu-erh.  If this were the only aged pu-erh I'd invested in, I'd probably be pretty upset.  As it stands, it's a rather expensive addition to my modest stash of aged tea that I'll be able to occasionally dip into in order to take the pressure off the better stuff.  I suppose part of the expense goes toward the reminder that not all aged teas are good, and that years aren't always an accurate measure of maturity.

3 comments:

learning to pull radishes said...

I remember eying that one but never picked it up, though I did recently send away for samples from their current line-up (none of which are all that old). We'll see how they taste. Thanks for this note on that little tuo, though. Good info to know :)

- bev

RTea said...

Your Jing Tea teapots are nice. If one of them is missing, I swear it wasn't me that took it ;)

Next time we drink Anxi TGY, I'll brew it and we'll drink the one that has been stored in clay; the base is more clear and the fire is more balanced.

Rich

Elliot Knapp said...

Hi Bev,

Thanks for the comment. I've tried a number of their other pu-erhs; Jing and Seb have pretty good taste, but they're all quite young teas. Surely they won't be making you forget your Tong Qing Hao session.

Elliot