Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2002 White2tea White Whale

Hello everyone! I'm back again with a tea that has been getting notable review within the tea community as well as the "blogging circuit." As someone who has some bad experiences with puerh early on in my tea resurgence, I tend to ignore most pu' talk but this little brick has caught my attention due to the overwhelming positive reviews from some of my favorite reviewers. Hobbes, Jakub, Nicole Martin of Tea for me Please, as well as most forum reviews have all been quite surprised at the quality/price ratio that Paul of White2Tea has brought to the table with the White Whale brick.

Paul describes the 100g brick as a cha that can easily go head to head with other "famous" teas from the 2002 era. I'm guessing he is referring the the factory cakes that sell for ridiculous prices due to the popularity. At the price point of $23(recently up from the $15 price tag) for a 100g brick, this tea is quite a bargain in the puerh world for being a raw puerh that is already 12 years old and has been dry stored.

When I opened the cleverly stamped whale wrapper I am greeted by a nicely pressed brick of puerh. Being a newbie with puerh, I don't feel comfortable talking about the mix of leaves or the quality of the cake because I don't really have the background for it. All I can say is that it has a nice earthy smell but it doesn't have a pungent smell like many other types of tea. I'm guessing that is due to its compression.

Up Close and Personal!
I decided to just dive into the brick right away. I took my tea cake knife and wedged it in and found that it was quite tough to break pieces off in a clean chunk. I would guess that its my lack of experience is showing here but I was able to get 4g of small chunk/dust(hey, it was my first time with a brick of tea!) to put in my 3oz porcelain pot. Taking off boiling water, I filled the little pot and did a quick rinse. THERE'S THE SMELL. The little pot now fragrant with the most interesting smell I have ever smelled from a puerh. It smells of earth, wood, and other smells I am not familiar with. Its very interesting. The color is as one would expect from an aged pu', dark-orange/red.

3rd infusion!
Most of the flavor notes that I remember from my puerh sampling days were woody, leather, or tobacco notes; basically a smokers old leather shoe. This White Whale tea isn't anything like I remember from my previous experience. It does have a leather note to the flavor but its smooth, sweet(barely), and complex. I actually like this. I like this a lot. I especially like the warming effect I get when I sip this gem of a cha. With fall creeping in, I can see many pots of this brick in my future. I'm getting at least 6-8 wonderful brews out of this tea when pushing it hard. Those of you who enjoy flash brewing will certainly add 4-6 steeps. I enjoy a full bodied cup so I tend to brew heavy and hot. At 23 bucks for 100g, its a no brainer. You dont have to drink puerh everyday to know that this is a good quality tea for a good price. Paul is a great guy with a big heart and huge passion for tea. When you get someone with those qualities as a business owner, the business usually tends to be high up on my list. I highly suggest those of you looking to take a step up into quality teas, specifically puerh, to give white2tea a try!