2001 Iron Zhongcha
This is an iron-pressed cake made in 2001 and stored ever since in dry Malaysian storage. Despite its appearance and the fact that it was purchased at the time from an official Xiaguan dealer, it is likely not an official Xiaguan 8653 production, so we are calling it 2001 Iron Zhongcha. At the same time, this really impressed our tasting panel, being better than or as good as the official 8653 iron cakes we have tried from the same era. The excellent storage here has taken away nearly all the smokiness, and left a rich, concentrated and dark brew with nice camphor and aged taste. This is the ideal Zhongcha situation for us: a great tea with superb storage, but unofficial, bringing the price down to more reasonable levels.