Classic factory recipes

Puerh and other heicha
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wave_code
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:33 am

Though it might be interesting to have a thread about classic factory cakes and recipes. For those of us who haven't been so deep into Pu Erh for years when you jump into the deep end you suddenly are confronted with a sea of numbers from different production years and factories and it is hard to make heads of tails of it all. But over time you start to see the same numbers come up again and again and it starts to become obvious there are some almost universal favorites and there must be a reason why something is always sold out before others or comes up again and again. But, without the time and pockets to try everything that still doesn't tell you much about Cake 1 vs Cake 2 and why you might enjoy one more than the other, or if one needs more time than another, so on.

I'm interested in going a bit deeper on Shu and looking at factory cakes specifically. I like the idea of a more or less fixed recipe for the sake of consistency- getting to know differences from production years as well as being able to better predict how something might age in the long run if there is an older year available to compare it to, or different storage. Also while it is obviously appealing to some people I find the sort of endless stream of varied releases by some more western oriented companies kind of off-putting - marketing hype of any sort usually sends me running in the opposite direction. I suppose the downside to factory products being that you have to keep an eye out for fakes.

While I'm interested mostly in Shu I don't see why Sheng shouldn't also be covered here, or maybe even Liu Bao. Only problem I encounter so far with Liu Bao is that I have found it difficult to find different years of certain productions - Three Cranes seems to number their productions, but I don't understand the system. Each one is a different recipe with different leaf grades and to find multiple years of a particular recipe isn't something I really come across, while maybe with something like Duoteli yellow box it is possible.

For Shu CNNP's 7581 seems the classic. Dayi seems to me always one of the more sought after and budget friendly options with 7572 cakes, and V93 for tuo. Xiaguan seems to have a lot of tuo options but I am clueless on them. Any other recipes or factories which one should include in their "basic education" on factory cakes/recipes?
mrmopu
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:42 am

8592 is one produced each year. You may want to explore HaiWan tea factory as well. The founder is an ex Menghai tea factory employee.
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S_B
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:37 pm

I like the idea of a more or less fixed recipe for the sake of consistency
While the idea of recipes is helpful for some similarities in profile, I would say you'll still have trouble with consistency between years. Factory reforms aside, there have been many changes to how shou is made over the years, too. You'll find differences in different batches of different years all the same, with general trends holding true.
getting to know differences from production years as well as being able to better predict how something might age in the long run if there is an older year available to compare it to, or different storage.
If you're primarily interested in shou, in my humble opinion, vintage only really matters as far as whether or not that year was perceived as a good batch or not. In my humble opinion, shou is not likely to "age" in quite the way sheng will. Unless it undergoes some radical push - like say traditional storage - the profile of shou likely becomes "settled" after enough time to rest, but really isn't likely to do much radical changing under normal storage conditions. Fortunately, factories also tend to use material from multiple years, leaving most products immediately drinkable upon release. If you're interested in other storage areas, you can pick them up from TW, GZ, HK, too. I would say if you are really curious, try and explore some trad stored shou, that is where the difference in storage will be most absolutely apparent.
you have to keep an eye out for fakes.
For factory shou, it is almost easier to simply get this from YS. Markups on it are fair and cheaper than going to flagships through TB. It may sound less romantic and lazy to do this way, but it's not a bad place to start honestly.
Any other recipes or factories which one should include in their "basic education" on factory cakes/recipes?
The big 3 "standard benchmark classics" would be 7572, 7262, and 8592. 8592 is an easy enough daily drinker, and extremely cheap. Certain years of the 7562 brick I have heard are also pretty good. Little harm in picking it up to try. If you're really interested in seeing what Dayi can do with their access to material and the fermentation process, I would suggest trying the Golden Needle White Lotus (金針白蓮). It runs more expensive but is a good look at MTF's higher end stuff. I would definitely say take advantage of sampling from Western Vendors when you can. While samples are sometimes available from Asian vendors, it is not always as convenient to just select a few and go, especially when you're a new customer. It isn't always an "openly available" option.

MTF is a huge factory, so it becomes pretty hard to say any one thing about a recipe, since it may change year to year (some years have become very popular like the 901_7542), so as for sheng, I would recommend trying what appeals to you. 7542 runs pretty expensive especially for popular vintages (even modern ones), so I would suggest trying secondary batches. The 8582 is nice, too. Even popular vintages of recent years generally won't run nearly as high as 7542.

I hope this was slightly helpful. Either way, good luck on your exploration. Remember to trust what your tastebuds tell you above all! :D
Last edited by S_B on Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brent D
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:47 pm

Heres a thread I started a while back that has a lot of good info for this.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=262&p=2904#p2904
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tealifehk
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Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:37 am

I'm going to add that aging shou absolutely makes a difference. I get shou cakes factory-direct from Kunming and the difference in two-to-three years is absolutely staggering. They are unpleasant when they come in and sweet and pleasant after several years. The material also gets much smoother. I can't wait to see how the shu is my storage turns out down the line!
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Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:40 am

Thanks all for the tips so far. For Haiwan are there any particular recipes/years of note for people? It seems like comparing the 7578 against a Dayi 7572 would be interesting.

I don't expect shu to age in the same way as sheng, but I am curious to start getting some stuff to put down for the long term. My experience so far is pretty limited but I got some shu a few years ago that was incredibly fishy and I found it undrinkable when it first arrived. Stuck it in the back of the pantry and forgot about it until my last move. Now it has been my go-to morning grandpa cup and is starting to run out. It was my first time buying shu not given to me by a friend, so in addition to mellowing out the storage there is also change in personal taste to account for.
mrmopu
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Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:54 pm

Try the 2008 Haiwan Ultimate cake. 500 gram so its a big one. The 2012 Haiwan Dragon Spirit was another mice one. The 2011 Haiwan Yun Zi was liked as well. These are special productions more or less.
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