I got this 50g package of a rather rare jasmine tea from my friend and chinese tea merchant in Kunming. He got a whole carton (I think that it is 20 pieces in two rows) from a former employee of Xiaguan TF.
Tasting of this tea worried me and I just felt happy about the box. However, after half a year, my curiosity prevailed and I opened it. If any green tea is supposed to be drinkable after twenty years, I dare say that this tea is an ideal candidate. There are several reasons: The tea is packed in paper box, sealed by cellophane. The tea itself is packed in another plastic bag. It is quite a similar stoorage to Xiaguan Chun Jian 100g, which is ment for long-term storage. Also, this tea has been stored well and dry in Kunming. The last important reason is that it is a tea from Yunnan, probably high-mountain one from Dali or Xiaguan - these teas have good permanency in general.
The front side of the package:
From a side (here, described with pinyin, chinese is used on the other side):
Opened box, the sack of tea and a neipiao with description and a date
The neipiao in detail; the date of packaging is September 1992.
Dry leaves are quite dark, aromatic:
Wet leaves (sorry about the bad quality of the photograph):
A photo of the liquor - 4th brew, to be exact (the color was consistent over different brews):
The aroma of wet leaves bears only a trace of jasmine, I find several jasmine blossoms among the leaves. The tea is chopped and contains a good amount of tips, I think it is the "Yi Ji" grade. The aroma is unusual and difficult to describe aged aroma, possibly similar to sichuan Yibin Tuocha 1995.
I prepared the tea in a small ceramic gaiwan made by Petr Novák, using 5g of the tea. I did a rather short steepings, using a water of about 92°C degrees. The tea was quite sharp at the beginning, I probably used too much leaves. I do even shorter steepings after that, the taste gets much better immediately. The liquor is sweet and aromatic, parts of bitterness change to sweetness quickly. There is a slight unpleasant staleness but I expected it to be much worse. There is an interesting dominant agedness in the taste, very different from puerh agedness. There is a hint of the jasmine, very pleasant, undisturbing.
I am very glad I tasted the tea. I saw it for sale only on Taobao for 83 USD (500 RMB) - 50g, which is too much, unless you are passionate collector of tea artifacts. Still, if you manage to get to this tea, do not hesitate to try it. Generally, the price for "aged green tea" from these years (even a bit older) is about 200-300 RMB (32-48 USD) for 50g. Such teas may be bought from collector of aged tea at the Fangcun tea market (Guangzhou).
Thanks for reading, Honza.