It’s Yiwu month for April’s White2Tea Club!
April’s White2Tea club/ Tea of the Month teas are both rare pu’er – 2007 Rui Chang Xiang Yiwu Old Arbor and a hand rolled 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orbs. Both teas are 10 gram samples and available if you want to purchase more. Also, with being a White2Tea club member you get a coupon code for the teas that were in the box!
There was a surprise this month too – a pu’er tea needle! Now I have two pu’er needle picks so the Tea Owls can battle each other!
This month I’ll be sampling the 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb.
White2Tea’s 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb is really cool looking as it’s a large oblong orb of tea rippled of dark greens and silver.
I was expecting 10g but the orb weighed in at 7.5 grams. Turns out on the online listing is that 10 grams is a rough estimate of each orb. I’m was okay with 7.5 grams as I didn’t need to split the 10 grams into two small sessions.
I went with 200f and did a rinse. I started with 15 second infusions, adding additional time as I went. Not sure how much time I was adding between infusions as I get too tea happy to operate a timer or operate heavy machinery.
Tasting of April White2Tea Club’s 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb
First, Second and Third Infusion: The pu’er orbs were pretty light in flavor. What I could taste was sweet with a little bit of hay flavor. What was strongly present was an interesting silky heavy texture. Also interesting was the lack of colour in the tea – the photos look like my cup is empty!
Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Infusion: The flavor is opening up as the Guafengzhi orb starts to fall apart. The flavor is cream, butter, straw and hint of floral with a sweet perk at the end. The aftertaste is dry with peaches and copper mineral notes. More I drink the more dry the aftertaste gets, topping a 3/10 on the Astringency Meter. The color has gotten a clear marigold. I also cheated and photographed with bubbles – see there’s tea in there!
The Guafengzhi orb is getting heavier in texture, so thick it’s like I’m drinking a milkshake through a thin straw… in tea form. Milkshake brings the boys to the yard… does tea bring the owls? Hoot? …. I think the tea drunk is already setting in.
By end of the sixth infusion the orb has fallen apart and filled the gaiwan’s capacity.
Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Infusion: Strong flavor punch! The flavor intensity of the pu’er orb is quite high. The flavor is a sweet peachy flavor with a contrasting mineral bitterness at the end. The bitterness is interesting, like an intense vegetal and mineral copper.
With the tea having no signs of finishing, I had a snack break. Turns out Guafengzhi orb pairs really nice with some aged sharp white cheddar and homemade jalapeno jelly. The sour and sweet of the jelly and sharp pungent cheese complement the dry pu’er nicely!
Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Infusion: The Guafengzhi orb is still quite thick in texture. The flavor is easing off in intensity and paving for sweet copper and more of a floral finish. The floral here kinda reminds me of orchids. Though the flavor is lighter, it is much is stronger than most raw pu’er I’ve had at this infusion stage. The aftertaste of peaches keeps this pu’er an addictive sip. With these infusions the dryness is getting stronger, producing dry cheeks, a 5/10 Astringency. Eeee such dry cheeks! Squeeze those dry owl cheeks! During steep time I was talking in a loud voice to my husband that I think owls should have antlers.
At the fourteenth infusion I removed the lid and got a leaf stuck to the lid like pulling pizza with a massive stretch of cheese!
Fifteenth and Sixteenth Infusion: The pu’er orb is getting sweeter and bitterness is leaving. How is this tea still going? It is lighter but still had plenty of flavor left of sweet mineral with fruity floral aftertaste. However Guafengshi orb is still really dry. The taste is delicious and it’s tea drunk maximum! So much so, I automatically started drinking out of the pitcher instead of the cup.
Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Ninteenth Infusion: A bit of flavor left but super dry, 8/10 Astringency, giving me a weird gritty dried teeth sensation making me feel like I should brush my teeth. However brushing my teeth would ruin the tea flavor and aftertaste.
Very pleased with the taste and tea drunkenness of 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb. Don’t let the bitterness or dryness stop you. In retrospect, if I steeped the pu’er orb at around 185F it probably would of been less intense. I was sooo incredibly tea drunk from 10am to 7pm and it was a good idea that I didn’t go driving as operating my phone and typing this review was a challenge (and I took over an hour to edit the next day to remove out the crazy to make it coherent).
Price check on April White2Tea Club box: $7.90 for the 2012 Guafengzhai Old Arbor Orb (though this is in limited quantity as only a couple kilograms are available) and the 2007 Rui Chang Xiang Yiwu Old Arbor is a $600 cake. Both teas I wouldn’t otherwise of tried, especially the latter when the 25 gram sample is $60 (and I’m on a tight tea budget!). The perk of an extra discount for being a member is really nice!
Overall, this Tea Owl is still really happy with the White2tea club!