Monday 2 May 2016

Tea Tasting with Sweet Man 品茶: Dragon Disc by TaeTea 大益 龙年纪念饼,简称《龙饼》

My first attempt to start off my Tea Reviewing Blog, going to share with you one of a raw Pu'er tea  (普洱生茶)i kept for almost 4 years....

Name/品名:Tae Tea Dragon Disc (a.k.a "Dragon Disc") 大益 龙腾盛世 (简称“龙饼”)
Year/年份: 9th Dec 2011
Type of Pu'er Tea/茶类: 生茶
Date of opening the disc:20th Feb 2016
Date of Review/Tasting: 1st May 2016

Pressed in 9th Dec 2011 for the year 2012 Year of the Dragon (Chinese Horoscope)...
(wow... The tea pressed on the birthday of one of my idol!!! )....

This "Dragon Disc" was bought in early year 2012 and instead of one disc, i have bought one whole stack (一整提) + 1 disc (total of 8 discs).

One reason why i bought one whole box/ tube... Because I always have this special affection to powerful animals such as Lion, Horse and legendary characters such as Dragons, Phoenix, Unicorn etc. It was the year of the Dragon in 2012, and TaeTea comes out with Horoscope collection every year and this is one of them.

And another reason why I bought so many to keep,  TaeTea (大益) is a reputable brand that enjoys a good increase in price over the years. Having a good track record on its appreciation value means I can just buy them and put them aside without worrying that it will depreciate.

Of course, with a major brand, it comes with assurance too for the hygienic environment where the tea are produced. After all, these are tea that we drink and consumed into our body system. (I will share more reason why we need to look into this aspect in future posts)

The tea was pressed in 9th Dec 2011. From the time i bought it early 2012 till now, the value gone up 2-3 times its original price. You might think since it is a horoscope-year special edition, it is only natural that prices gone up that much for special edition?
But the Rabbit series pressed the year before (The year of Rabbit), didn't really enjoy such a soar in price as its Dragon-disc did.

I open the new disc on 20th Feb 2016 after keeping it for almost 4 years plus. I have left this disc exposed to air by putting it on the shelving as a display hence giving it a lot of room to ferment and speeding up its maturing pretty fast. The tasting for this review was done on 1st May 2016.

Take a look a the tea leaves itself... 

The insert is just the standard insert TaeTea being using for a lot of its series...
(I believe there are a lot to learn from this insert but yet to do proper research,
 do share with me if you know something about this insert, ok?)

Personally, i like what i sees with every leaves clearly seen and pressed such a way that even inside the disc, it is the same leaves closely pressed, with a certain maturity and colour turning really dark. But i feel it could have being nicer if i can see some green for a 5 year old tea.

First, i started break the disc into manageable bits. I usually take 8-10g for each brew.

Using my Zisha pots (紫砂壶) which is approximately 220cc
(Will find a chance to share more on my pots on separate post).

Washed the tea leaves for 3 rounds (my usual number of rounds for older tea; will share more on brewing techniques in posts ahead).
here goes the various colour changes....
1st brew

2nd brew

3rd brew

Seriously didn't really expect much from the tea since it is only kept for less than 5 years, but surprising. it shown a very beautiful matured orange colour that only older tea would have.

4th brew, this is where i start to drink.

Fragrance wise, it isn't those that give out strong fragrance when brewingbut if you take the effort to notice, you can smell the fragrance that is light and sweet. Giving out a very steady, pleasant fragrance that isn't wild and isn't overwhelming.

I took the first sip... Marvellous! Taste almost as wonderful as a few disc of my 2002/2004 tea (will share more on separate posts).
Maturity wise, isn't that "overly-matured", still have some raw after-taste, but seriously, for a less than 5 years tea, couldn't have expect anything more than this.
The taste is sweet, pleasant, not overwhelming, not too strong. It didn't lose too much of its pu'er-ness of the tea (interestingly some "overly-matured" tea totally lose it) yet it is comfortably smooth. As mentioned, it DOES have a raw after-taste but isn't strong that it can easily be ignored by having the next cup. I feel it is matured to just-right condition to start drinking.

It is really satisfying. And even thou the price gone up 3 times compared to the price i bought it at, i seriously think it worth the price. But would i buy them at the current price?... maybe not for me. But for those who don't really have a wide collection of past stocks, it is worth the purchasing. After all, the dragon disc is a limited edition in celebration of the year of Dragon during 2012. The next one might have to wait till 2024.

Here is the remains of the tea leaves after all the brewing...

Here goes my rating...
Colour/色: mature orange
Fragrance/香:steady and comfortable, not overwhelming
Taste/味道: sweet and matured (a pleasant surprise that it matured so much faster than a lot of other tea i had)
After Taste/回味: pleasant after taste with nice lingering of the sweetness.

sustainable brewing/耐泡: average.
Looking forward for next brew: Yes.
extra notes: The tea was kept in Singapore for 4 years intentionally exposed to air to ferment, that could be the reason it matured so much faster.
But again, I don't have a disc that I kept in China or other climate to compare the differences.
Neither did i open the disc to try earlier years to monitor it maturing.
So if you do have something to share, please share to let us know how you find your Dragon-disc? And leave us some keynotes to compare?


  1. I am not much of a tea connoisseur, but I love reading about it. It's always entrancing to find out how much goes into brewing and enjoying it. Good luck with your future reviews!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Alina, will continue to bring more reviews so that more people can based on what i wrote, knows a bit more about the tea we drink. Drinking tea improves one characters too as we discover ourselves in the process of enjoying the tea.
      Thanks for reading! Keep blogging!!!

  2. Wow... coming from India where tea is huge, I had no clue that even tea can be matured and brewed with multiple washes! This post was totoally informative for me :)

    1. Yeah, everyday is new learning experience for myself too!
      Not all tea are made the same, the tea i posted with review is what we called Pu'er Tea. All tea are processed differently before they reaches the consumers.

      And this particular type of tea i reviewd is Pu'er tea. It will gets better as years go by (which i used the term "matured"). They are actually fermented as years go by, and this natural fermentation changes the properties of the tea as well as the taste changed, and usu change better. Although there are possibility that it reaches its peak and go from good to bad in more years to come, but that is another controversy subject that is arguable.

      And fermentation is by itself not a very "clean" process to speak of, hence washing is always a necessity when it comes to drinking pu'er.
      Some of the older pu'er tea collection even contains feathers, hair and impurities, hence washing is always needed.