|Pu'er gift from 2009|
|Working my way through this cake since 2010|
Based on Stephane's latest entry in French here, the language of pu'er is expressed in numbers XXXX. From the little bit I read the first two numbers represent the year of recipe creation, followed by leaf grade and finally manufacturer's code number. To add to the complexity of this pu'er conundrum at hand, no where on my packaging can I locate such a code, save for the year of manufacture being 2002 and expiry date that falls on March next year. The expiration date is of course just a food safety and health requirement which I believe is created to indemnify the distributor.
From the little bit that I gathered, this is a cooked pu'er cake. The leaves seem to have undergone mould fermentation and have an orange appearance overall. Also, I believe the character for tea 茶 found on the paper packaging is coloured red in the case of cooked pu'er. The packaging said nothing about this cake being raw or cooked pu'er (not very helpful). All that is mentioned are health benefits, differences in astringency levels between a green (raw) and a dark (cooked) cake. There is also a standard piece of text advising consumers to store this piece of cake in a cool and dry place, away from humidity which makes no sense at all if the whole concept of aging pu'er thrives on humidity! How can one help for feeling disgruntled?
|Peeling off whole leaves is effortless with this cake|
Editorial note: Before 2006 China National Native Produce (CNNP) cakes bear no such informative code. To be entirely sure of what you own is of the right origin and year, one must rely on a trusting relationship with the tea seller and have actual same year/batch samples at hand to verify the authenticity of newly bought cakes. Such is the dedication in the ultimate pursuit of pu'er knowledge.