Friday, August 29, 2014

Predictions on 2005 XG Ancient Wild Tree

Back in the day when I had just had one overpriced beeng and a few tuos to my name, I stumbled upon Mike Petro's site and his over-the-top multi-page stash of tea.  If you look through Mike Petro's collection, you can see a time-capsule of most all internet teas available circa 2005-2007.  As his collection appears to be almost indiscriminately complete, I'd be curious to know what he passed over.

His site led me to start buying direct from Yunnan via eBay instead of being ripped off by local vendors for which I should be eternally grateful. I followed his recommendation on my first purchase from Yunnan Sourcing which included this '05 XG. Mike confidently proclaimed this XG's aging potential so I sprung for a few. He certainly had the bit about old tree being better material for aging right but how did this Big Factory old tree fare after all these years?  You can also read the live-journal review re-iterating the optimistic aging potential of this cake back in 2006. Vendors still shamelessly make such predictions but experienced tea bloggers now take more care; we've had no shortage of cruel disappointments evident only after a few years.

This XG beeng looks much darker than my other iron beengs but enhanced aging is not exactly reflected in the taste. The greenish hue is an artifact of my ipad camera and in natural light- the cake is much darker than its counterparts. This beeng isn't really going anywhere fast due to the dry climes of my house.  Even after almost decade, it's still not ready- it brews up amber and causes residual heartburn.  It's XG charms are lost on me as I've developed immunity. Perhaps someone with better aging conditions with this cake could comment.

Mike's recommendation for the 2004 Dadugang 1336th Dai Calendar was perhaps his best call. It's an enjoyable tea by all accounts and at $2.50 a brick back then, you couldn't lose either way.

After facing the sad spectre of dry home storage,  I went to brunch at Quince which is next to a shop selling ethnic crafts.  I prefer to get my folk art in the country of origin but I haven't been able to travel since January and am reduced to buying retail.  I was mesmerized by this wall of carved canoe prows from Papua New Guinea.  These are from the middle Sepik where crocodiles are the common motif. The canoes last less than a decade after which the canoer will often cut the prow to sell.  There's some anthropological discussion about whether or not these crocodiles were carved for protective intent but I would worry such carvings act as a decoy and maybe invite a dim-sighted amorous croc.

I've been ambivalent about traveling to PNG for my well-founded fear of sea water crocodiles.  I think nothing of sharks when I'm snorkeling even in shark rich waters but the mere thought of a cruising crocodile makes me avoid one of the richest regions. I guess if a larger creature with serious teeth were to tear my limbs, it should not matter that it's a crocodile or a shark.  I chose the subtlest simplest carving. You can see the dirt still caked on from use.  Although I bought it for my new studio, it's protecting my tea closet until the studio is finished. A girl can't ever have enough carved crocodiles so I'm looking for a few companions. 

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