2003 Xiaguan Quality Inspection Mark

// Published February 28, 2018 by mgualt

28 February 2018, 4.8g/85ml Yixing

A tea from Xiaguan that I enjoy more every time I drink it. It is apparently a 8653 style cake from the “big five reproduced masterpieces” series from 2003-2004 (see here).

Dry, there is clearly some smoke and some sweetness. The wet leaf has a complex smoky aspect.

  1. noticeably thick texture. Bittersweet. I’m struck by how heavy it is, I feel it going right down slowly as if it’s a ball. Very adherent. Excellent mouthfeel and sticks to the throat. Warmth begins in chest.
  2. Orange. Oily strength. Old fashioned sweet smokiness. Very good.
  3. Dark orange, getting stronger quickly. Oily rim of flavour. Liquor aroma and empty cup aroma are quite mild, but nicely sweet. Ample tannins and juiciness.
  4. Very robust, concentrated taste. Tannins. Less woody and smoky than the 1998 Yiwu brick. Warmth in chest and shoulders. Calm alertness but nothing major yet.
  5. Creamy texture. much more significant heat now. Colour is already beginning to reduce. Long lasting sweet strength aftertaste. Lots of juiciness on the sides and upper sides of mouth and tongue.
  6. Long brew is quite strong indeed. Dominant notes of smokiness and sweet strength.  Interesting that there is significant savouriness underlying the dominant taste, interesting from an aged tea point of view. Super heavy feeling. Calm. Lots of heat. Not jittery at all.
  7. After a break, there is a nice flavour to the water, mostly a kind of sweet camphor tar, but much lighter
  8. No power left but the lingering taste is nice
  9. Sweet, with camphor tar.


With a concentrated taste, ample tannins and a thick juiciness, this is a very satisfying tea. Enjoyable sensation of weight and slow movement. Lots of power in terms of heat and calm, alertness without jittery sensation.  Has the typical smokiness of the Xiaguan style but it is tame and only one aspect among many enjoyable aspects. I tried samples of the Red mark and the traditional artistic fonts from the set of five, and this was my favourite. This strikes me as more of a full straightforward enjoyable experience rather than a more complex one. Longevity is not very high, nor would I expect it to be.


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