Review: Canton Tea Co. 1999 Vietnamese Cooked Loose Puerh

Canton Tea Co., Pu'er Tea, Yunnan Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs down."The liquor had far too strong of a wood flavor. I couldn't finish it."
Geoff’s Teaview: 2.9/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.5/10, Jamie gave it 7.5/10, Troy gave it 8/10
Your Reviews: 9/10
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cantonvietnameselooseThe title for this shou (cooked) puer is a little misleading. More to the point, I got confused. Upon requesting it, I thought I was getting something produced in Vietnam. Most teas I tried from there were greens. A puer made from somewhere other than Yunnan might prove fascinating. Alas, that is not the case here. It is from Yunnan, or rather, a small artisan outfit situated on the Yunnan/Vietnamese border. This tea only takes its name from its proximity.

The fact that it was a cooked puer was also not an initial selling point. However, after an artificial aging process, it was given an extra decade to naturally post-ferment. That - in theory - would impart some "flavor of awesome". The oldest shou I had up to this point was an '02, and I liked it.

It certainly smelled that old. While it was - thankfully - lacking in the usual "fish-dry" smell of a factory-aged post-ferment, the aroma of dust and dirt replaced it. A pre-wash would be in order.

Brewing instructions on the Canton Tea site recommended gong fu style. Unfortunately, I had neither the time nor equipment to attempt this (i.e. no gaiwan or gong fu set). Following a twenty-to-thirty second pre-wash, I went with a puer default of boiling water for four-minutes-thirty. Since I needed the wake-me-up, I did a double-brew of 16oz. One infusion only to get a rough idea. Most aged sheng puers did well with this. Some shous, too.

I have to be honest. The color of the infusion was lovely enough on first impression, rustic oak with some transparency. The aroma had an ancient forest feel to it. It really lost me on the taste, though. The liquor had far too strong of a wood flavor. I couldn't finish it. That impression could be because I did not adhere to a traditional gong fu prep. Perhaps my one steep time should've been divided into three or four. The fact of the matter is, I have yet to encounter a good puer that needed such rigid adherence. A good '99 varietal - cooked or raw - would impart something noteworthy and nuance-heavy. This had none of that.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. 1999 Vietnamese Cooked Loose Puerh, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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3 Responses to “Review: Canton Tea Co. 1999 Vietnamese Cooked Loose Puerh”

  1. Edgar Says:

    Geoff – this tea does require some careful brewing but once you get it right it is very rewarding. If you don’t want to use Gong Fu style I would recommend using less leaf and a slightly shorted infusion time.

    We entered this tea into the Great Taste Awards (google ‘Great Taste Awards 2010 tea’) this year and it won a Gold Star – the only puerh to do so!

    My Rating: 9/10

  2. Geoff Says:

    Thanks, Edgar. I will try that. 🙂

  3. David Says:

    Edgar – I think maybe not the *only* puerh to win a gold star

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