Monday, September 10, 2012

1996 Xiaguan Butterfly Spring Tuo

When I got home today I was very happy to see a small package waiting in my mailbox. What could it be? 
I finally received the pre-2000 sampler I had ordered from Life In Teacup, including the infamous Butterfly. I was just thinking this one would have been great yesterday after the Monarch festival, but I have been highly anticipating it nonetheless. I first do some breathing to clear my mind of any outside thoughts or preconceptions about it as it has been highly discussed around the blogs and forums.
I first have to say the wrapper is just plain cool.
And so to the tea.

The first sniff after opening the sample pack gives me sweet plum and woody mushroom aroma, almost reminds me of the sour dry plums I sometimes get in chinatown.
The first infusions gives an aroma of mushroom and spice. As I smell the infused leaf in my pot I do get some mild humid storage aroma, but it does not come out in the flavor.

 The liquor itself is a good clear orange and has a spicy and a bit dry mouthfeel. The flavors are very traditional xiaguan but already changed from the heavy liquors I have found in 2000's tuo's. It develops into some honey sweet,dark, woody, fruit flavors with an almost cinnamon raisin aftertaste.
 I do like this tea and it gives me a good mellow warming chi feeling that actually re-energizes me and sends me out for some form and chi kung training.
As I return to the tea it then turns back to mushroom, leather and wood towards the later steeps.
The comparison I can make in my own teas is to the 99 xiaguan cake and a 2004 tuo that I really like, but this butterfly tuo is a bit lighter.
 I think it is a good xiaguan example but not that extraordinary, but it is worth a try. I enjoyed the session, and thats really what counts to me.
I cant afford it anyway even if I did really love it. I will just let my younger tuo's age a bit more.
 I will say I do very much like xiaguan productions especially the tuo's and bricks because of there rough strong nature.

 As I sniff the infused leaf again I do really smell some humid storage? Is it just my nose or what, because I did not taste any.  The leaf is as most xiaguan tuo, small, broken and dark, and somewhat fragile as I cant unroll the leaves without tearing.
And so continues the quest for good Xiaguan.
I also got a sample of the Hei Cha and it smells really enticing, so I will probably try it next.

Drink up!


  1. I should also add that after sitting in a place like Hong Kong, you can often smell in the dry and wet leaves some humid storage like smell, but it can be entirely naturally (i.e. non-deliberate wet) stored.

  2. No there was no sign of mold at all,
    only very clean good looking leaf.
    I have had the experience of cakes in the same tong being differently aging depending on where they are in the tong, bottom and top very clean and dry and the very middle cake being a bit more humid with slight spores developing.
    This could be the case with all the different experiences with this same butterfly tuo. Every tuo will not be the exactly the same, and even in the same tuo the outside will be different than the inside of it. If I were to order one it probably would not be exactly the same as the sample I just had.
    Again our tastes are also different as even from the same pot my wife will sometimes get a totally different flavor than me.

    1. I agree my wife taste different things when we both try the same tea.