The 1998 Bao Yan Jin Cha Xiaguan from Tee Kontor Kiel has been in my tea cabinet for a few months (ever since they sent me a sample package) and I didn’t get around to brewing it. I felt today was the right day for this remarkable tea. It’s remarkable in a way because it’s over 20 years old and this is something you don’t get to drink every day (at least I don’t).
1998 Bao Yan Jin Cha Xiaguan
As briefly mentioned above, this is a tea from 1998. It’s a sheng puerh produced by the world-famous Xiaguan Tea Factory in Yunnan Province. The leaves were pressed into 230g mushrooms, which makes it different from your average puerh cake. I don’t have a full mushroom myself; I only got to taste a sample.
What struck me with this tea is the fact that it had been stored in Taiwan for 20 years and that the storage is supposed to be very clean. I don’t have that much experience with puerh tea that has been through natural Taiwan storage so it’ll be an interesting experience of how this affected the tea.
- Water 99°C
- 5g for a 120ml Neiziwaihong Qing dynasty teapot
The leaves have a deep dark brown colour. The chunk I received is very tightly compressed and I see smaller leaves and some stems. The aroma is really good. I’m getting warming notes of dry wood and camphor. There are also some faint hints of fruits and incense.
Infusion 1 (20 sec): the colour of this infusion is dark orange and the flavours are fairly subtle because the chunk hasn’t opened yet. Really soft and gentle infusion. There are light hints of fruits with a camphor undertone. Good infusion to start with; it’s gentle and appealing so I want to know more about what this tea has to offer…
Infusion 2 (25 sec): the colour hasn’t really changed. I feel camphor is stronger in this one. It feels thick and the texture is a bit spicy as it covers my whole mouth and it makes my mouth tingle, which is a pleasant sensation.
Infusion 3 (30 sec): the colour is getting darker now. It still feels smooth and gentle but the camphor notes are really coming through now. It feels right there at the surface while also being somewhere deep down below the surface. It’s difficult to describe this sensation and combination of flavours, which makes it really interesting. The camphor is also getting more intense towards the finish.
Infusion 4 (35 sec): gentle on the tongue with subtle flavours of camphor. There are only slight differences between these infusions. Notes of camphor are also noticeable in the aftertaste.
Infusion 5 (45 sec): colour is lighter but camphor is more or less the same. It starts out relatively light and slowly increases towards the finish. At first, there is not really an aftertaste but after 1-2 minutes, I’m starting to get some camphor again.
Infusion 6 (60 sec): camphor is still there and I’m also starting to get a hint of spices. Nothing too intense, but it’s pleasant and gentle. There is also a faint sweetness peeking through towards the finish.
Infusion 7 (long): notes of camphor are at the surface now. It’s also a bit sweeter than infusion 6 and I’m also getting a creaminess.
Infusion 8 (long): this one is even sweeter and is dominated by a creaminess full of camphor. So good!
The 1998 Bao Yan Jin Cha Xiaguan was a good and gentle tea. The flavours were clean and pleasant as I got camphor and spices with a slight sweetness and even creaminess in the later infusions.
I have to say that they are definitely right: the storage has been really clean. I have never tasted a sheng puerh this old with such clean storage; impressive! It’s a pricy tea, but it seems ideal for special occasions when you have to celebrate something.
If you’re interested in this one, you can buy it over here.