Zhijian 2016 “Serious Formula” young raw pu’er cake

The first full-sized tea cake I ever purchased was the Zhijian 2016 “Serious Formula” young raw cake in August 2017 from a local tea shop in Sydney’s Chinatown area called Topotea run by Shane Shu. I was after a cake of young raw and Shane took me through a tasting session that included this young raw pu’er cake. I very much enjoyed the tasting, so purchased a cake for $75 AUD (21c/g).

Only now have I tried the tea for the first time since buying it, which means it’s time for a review!

Taste

Fairly thick mouthfeel, low bitterness, medium astringency. It has that typical ‘young raw taste’, although definitely at the sweeter end of what I’ve tried before in my (limited) experience. It’s quite forgiving, even when brewed for extended periods at high temperatures (I was brewing in clay). The ‘chaqi’ was very mild.

I think this is a great introductory tea for those interested in trying young raw pu’er and for those who don’t appreciate strong bitterness. For those who drink young raw as an ‘energy drink’ or want a sucker-punch to the mouth, this isn’t the one for you.

Material

Later, as I learnt more about pu’er in general, I tried to find out more about this cake I now owned. It only had Chinese characters on the wrapper and , so it has taken me some work to (partially) translate. Of course, it’s essentially impossible to verify the information, so it should all be taken with a grain of salt.

The leaves were picked in early spring (2016, I assume) from high mountain big trees in Xishuangbanna, pressed in late 2016. I’ve seen some Chinese online vendors selling the same cake claiming the material is from Bulang Mountain (~1,400m), although it’s evidently a blend so other leaves may have come from elsewhere in the prefecture.

Shane suggested that this cake has good ageing potential, but I don’t have any kind of storage setup yet and am planning on just drinking through it.

Label translation

Below is my attempt to translate everything on the label on the back of the cake wrapper.

铲平名称:只见·认真配方 普洱茶(生茶)紧压茶
Product name: Zhijian “Serious Formula” pu’er (raw) pressed tea
(I’ve also seen “认真配方” translated as “Conscientious Prescription”. Names are always hard to translate.)

产地:云南省西双版纳州
Origin: Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

配料:云南大叶种晒青毛茶
Ingredients: Yunnan big leaf cultivar sun-dried mao cha

净含量:357克
Net weight: 357g

产品执行标准:GB/T22111-2008
Product performance standard: GB/T22111-2008

生产许可证编号:QS5328 1401 0130
Production license number: QS5328 1401 0130

贮存条件:在清洁、干燥、通风、避光、无异味条件下贮存
Storage conditions: In a clean, dry, ventilated, dark, odour-free storage place

保存期:在符合贮存条件下、适宜长期保存
Shelf life: In compliance with storage conditions, suitable for long-term preservation

生产企业:勐海县南峤茶业有限责任公司南峤茶厂
Manufacturer: Nanqiao Tea Factory, Nanqiao Tea Company LLC, Menghai county

监制:厦门只见茶业有限公司
Producer: Zhijian Tea Company LLC, Xiamen

生产地址:云南西双版纳州勐海县工业园区
Production address: Menghai County Industrial Park, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

生产日期:2016年12月17日
Production date: 17-Dec-2016
(I assume this is when the pressing occurred.)

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