In the backstreet alleys of Taipei sometimes you will find hidden treasures of unexpected value tucked away in the modest stalls and shops that serve their community with dry goods, hot foods, hardware, and whatever else you may need. Such a thing was our recent discovery when Donna found a few dozen bundles of two great aged puer cakes.
The Horse & Dragon Celebrating puer cakes were pressed in 1999 by one of the oldest most reputable merchants in Yunnan; the name TongQing is synonymous with best quality and the liquor produced from the flaky fragments of this well cooked cake is rich with a depth that only comes from the bacteriological progression from compressed circles of leaves into concentrated disks of restorative power. This elixir has warm notes of maple and date but finishes with a spicy hint of cinnamon.
The raw green Old BanZhang Village puer cake from Bulang Mountain in Menghai Yunnan has all the umami goodness one would expect from the big green leaves harvested from the will hills at the southern edge of China. These leaves pressed in 2008 have sour plum notes and front of palate charm but the bitter melon flavor brings up the rear to round out a full flavored broth that will stimulate but not inebreate.
Both of these cakes are good now, but they should only get better as time passes. Provided they are kept in a cool, dark, dry place this tea is a treasure of which nuggets can be broken off and shared when special people show up or important occasions require a particular blessing of tea.
We hope you will enjoy these cakes.