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.


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.


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.