White2Tea Flap Jacks (Raw) – 2017
My white2tea Black Friday order this year included (along with the infamous Snoozefest) a ‘mini tong’ of some young raw pu’er coins called Flap Jacks (also available in ripe).
Each coin/pancake is 8g and wrapped individually like a normal cake. The wrappers even include the usual details (in Chinese) but is missing the pressing date. We are told very little about the material on the vendor site other than that it’s ‘fresh’ and was pressed in 2017 (probably autumn).
The ‘mini tong’ and coin wrapping is very cute, so would be fun to give as a gift to a tea friend. The 8g size suited my 140ml clay pot well, but I had to break the coin with my hands to fit it in. (No tea pick required!)
Since most of the coin was still compressed, I was wondering if I would need to do multiple rinses and/or wait several minutes to let the leaves open up properly for normal steeping, but this was not the case. The leaves opened up nicely after the first rinse and were ready to go.
First few steeps
The liquor was a deeper yellow than I was expecting and a bit cloudy. Flash-steeping yielded a body with medium thickness and strong bitterness. Astringency built quickly in the sides of my mouth.
The tea remained strong and bitter, which necessitated keeping steep times very shot. This meant that the young raw floral sweetness took much longer to kick in, and wasn’t strongly present even once it did.
Even many steeps later, the flap jack was not letting go of its bitterness. Evidently a bit of a powerhouse, its sweetness did increase but never enough to make you think it was your friend. It went down fighting.
This was an aggressive young raw, so not an introductory pu’er. For those who enjoy or don’t mind bitterness, a Flap Jack session is an enjoyable experience. Alongside pleasant baseline characteristics, the strong bitterness adds complexity to the taste and can change wildly with different brewing parameters.
Due to the small ‘coin’ cake size, I’m not really sure what the ageing potential is. The coin format seems to imply quick drinking, and a lack of thickness might mean ageing is not really viable. However, the material itself obviously has a lot going on, so who knows!
For $5.50 USD (~$7 AUD) per ‘short stack’ (~56g) this comes to about 10c/g (13c/g AUD), which I think is very good value for a solid young raw.