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Ever since I got this brick I’ve liked it and considered it one of Zhongcha’s best，but now it tastes wayyy different. This super compact square is beyond it vivacious days of intriguing optimism and has become viciously delicious.
We’re talking about a full mouth explosion of “puerhions,” the element that tastes like sparks in the mouth. We’re talkin’, sweet root-beer that fades into Ludens cough-drops in by about the fifth round.
As far as squares go, the ’07 HK Returns is as powerful as the both the ’09 Tulin 200g and the ’05 Bajiao Ting’s Shengtai 100g. However, some Bajiao Ting productions are a little heavy handed with the smoke, like Xiaguan. I’ve no recollection of any Zhongcha production being smokey. This is no exception. The Tulin Square is younger and not as compact as the other two. The sharp notes of the Tulin tuo that I’ve sampled are now absent in this square, despite the tuo being older. I take this as a mark of either its quality or what “squaring” does in preparation or in how it ages. I dunno.
Squares and bricks can be a species quite different from cakes. It is simply not possible to “fleck” from the HK Returns square, whereas this is not the case with the cake. The recipe is ostensibly the same, but from what I’ve been able to gather the it’s all a secret, so there’s no telling. For what it’s worth, the brick tastes more similar to the tuo, with the cake being the most dissimilar with no hints of medicinal taste and an astringency that doesn’t pop or dept the the brick.
Over, it is my sense that something happens with the crushing of the leaves in the course of shaping into a brick that makes the brew much more active in the mouth, while simultaneously muting the bitterness. I’ve noticed this is quite a few of the very compact bricks. Since leaf aesthetic is usually not part of the product’s composition, so they often fall beneath the radar screen of the speculators.