The 2001 XiaGuan "8653" Iron Cake is a 357g Puerh Raw Tea (Sheng Cha) treasure, a result of meticulous craftsmanship and storied tradition. This cake presents an exemplary harmony of appearance and flavor, with tightly wound and neatly arranged tea threads that not only promise quality but also a feast for the eyes.
Upon brewing, it yields a clear tea liquor that sparkles with brightness, an invitation to a tasting experience that is both vivid and profound. The infusion greets you with a slight smoky undertone, a delicate whisper of its fiery past that seamlessly melds with the original fragrance of the tea leaves.
The palate is graced with a sweetness that walks hand in hand with a medium level of bitterness and astringency, a balance that speaks to the seasoned tea drinker’s expectation of a classic sheng pu-erh profile. As you continue to sip, the refreshing tea flavor emerges with a strength that may take its time but arrives with a confident, robust presence.
The "8653" Iron Cake is known for its thick taste and mellowness, a result of the ‘T’ version's hard cake form, which ages more slowly and thus impeccably preserves the tea’s unique, original fragrance. This particular cake is a study in the art of patience, rewarding those who wait with an ever-deepening complexity.
For those who prefer a softer touch, the "FT" version of the "8653" offers a more gentle flavor profile, dialing back on the strength to let the subtler notes come to the fore, an excellent choice for those who seek a more nuanced tea experience.
Stored naturally in Guangzhou, this tea has been allowed to mature gracefully, its character enriched by the environment's gentle influence. It comes highly recommended for those wishing to delve into the world of pu-erh tea or to incorporate a remarkable tea into their daily lives.
The "8653" boasts a fascinating history. Originally commissioned by a Japanese buyer in 1985 and sold through a CNNP branch in Shenzhen, the order was unexpectedly canceled, prompting its introduction to the domestic market. By 1988, it had earned its numerical moniker, a reflection of its blend recipe year (1986), the grade of the tea materials (5th grade), and the production factory within the CNNP group (XiaGuan, No.3).
In its various forms, from the general "8653" to the "T 8653" Iron Cake and the "FT 8653" tailored for a Taiwanese company, each iteration reflects a different facet of this celebrated blend. The "FTT 8653" combines the iron cake's longevity with the refined selection of younger, finer leaves, catering to those who prefer a less rugged taste profile.
The 2001 XiaGuan "8653" Iron Cake stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of pu-erh tea, a blend that not only tells the story of its origins but also of the evolution and diversity within the world of Chinese tea.