The cake on the right comes from a clean and well managed puerh warehouse. Its appearance is lighter, greener and less shiny. Once a month, the tea is inspected and shuffled around, if necessary. Cases that are high are put below and vice versa...
In terms of smells, my home stored cake has a slightly darker, wood like scent, but also weaker fragrances. The warehouse cake has a much more energetic, pungent, flowery scent. It is much more 'attractive' and sweet.
In terms of taste, there are lots of similarities that confirm that these are the same puerh. (I started to have my doubts after all these differences!). Also, the taste tended to become more and more similar as I made more brews. But the taste of the warehouse stored leaves has more energy overall. In the first brews it had more depth and balance.
From this experience, I conclude that oxidation of the leaves (darker leaves) isn't necessarily a good sign of aging.
What is the difference between my home storage and the warehouse storage?
My puerh occupies a small space in the room, while in a warehouse, the tea is stored in a much bigger quantity. Also, such warehouse keeps its doors shut most of the time. There is less air and airflow.
Another difference is the presence of old raw puerh in the warehouse, while I stored all my old puerh in another room. (This is going to change...) The inoculation of the young puerh with bacteria from older leaves probably also helped to improve the young puerh. Despite the leaves looking greener, it didn't feel/taste younger than the darker leaves from my storage.
|It's so amazing, it has a scent of rose when brewed well!|
This raw puerh sets the bar very, very high. The best education comes from the study of the classics (*). These spring, high elevation, old arbor, wild puerh leaves are a masterpiece of puerh. I'm very glad that I can add this (warehouse stored) cake to my selection again.
(*) The best motivation to learn is also to enjoy the 'material'!