In August 2010, an investor friend of Cloud's dropped by and tried to understand the investment value of raw Puerh tea. Cloud mentioned that the value appreciation of raw Puerh tea was related to aging years and, most importantly, good raw materials. Although the arbor tea leaves are quite expensive these days, they will bring fairly good investment return as long as they can age into goodies. Living with ultimate low interest rate today, Cloud's investor friend suddenly had a thought in mind and asked, "Can you blend a piece of good arbor tree tea cake?"
Of course, it is not a difficult task for Cloud to blend those good tea cakes. However, it's a pity and just for personal fun if the blended recipe would not have been mass produced. After a few minutes deep thought, unexpectedly, investor friend was serious to that idea. He expressed that he was willing to invest so long as the raw Puerh recipe was good enough to provide future return. It would not be a problem for him to store the tea for decades. With the help of Cloud's investor friend, Cloud's Recipe has been realized.
Cloud's Recipe is the blending recipe of arbor tea leaves. The recipe (or formula) was absolutely determined by Cloud, but the specifications, wrapping designs and production details were determined by Cloud's investor friend. Therefore, Cloud's Recipe is different from Cloud's Raw Puerh. The latter is mainly blended by modern planted tea or ecological tea. The production of arbor tea cakes requiring investor(s) is due to the huge costs of arbor tea leaves these days. It might be a decade investment without any leverage. Since this batch of tea cakes was the order of investor, the major collector is obviously the Cloud's investor friend.
Many tea lovers ask, "Single blend or multiple blends, which one is better?"
What you have to know is that tea leaves grown from different mountains have their own characteristics. Tea leaves from certain mountains provide good aroma. Some are major in water quality. Some are good at aftertaste and some may contain necessary bitterness and astringency. In fact, it is possible to have all these good tea characters in a single blend tea leaves. But it is just not economically feasible. Such raw tea materials must be outrageously expensive and without satisfactory quantity for huge market demands. Usually, these ultimate perfect raw tea materials are just enough for compressing a thousand numbers of tea cakes which are far less than the quantity demanded by the markets.
The advantage of a blended tea cake is to enlarge the good characteristics of tea leaves from individual mountain and reduce certain drawback by an appropriate blending ratio of each individual raw materials. This needs experience. A well blended tea cake will showcase its rich, tasty and marvelous tea broth sensation and aftertaste. This is the beauty of tea blending.
2010 Cloud's Recipe - Raw Materials
On 8 September 2010, after receiving all possible raw materials from Yunnan, Cloud's investor friend and Cloud blended the tea seriously in Hong Kong. On that day, we brewed more than 10 different raw materials from different mountains, including (listed in no particular order) Menghai(猛海), Bangpen(邦盆), Hekai(賀開), Mengsong(猛宋), Nannuo(南糯), Manzhuan(蠻磚), Yiwu(易武), Jiangcheng(江城), Luo Shuidong(落水洞), Manlong(曼龍), Wangong(彎弓), Mahei(麻黑), Zhangjia Wan(張家彎), Jingmai(景邁). The pure tastes of raw tea leaves materials from different mountains varied and had their own taste characteristics. In order to blend good tea cakes, Cloud eventually picked the following mountains with appropriate ratio. This was the 2010 Cloud's Recipe:-
P.S. The incorrect Chinese character "猛" (Meng) was used because some old Chinese Windows did not display the correct Chinese character "孟力" (Meng) accordingly.
- Luo Shuidong(落水洞): Good water quality, sweet, thick tea broth, but weak aroma.
- Zhangjia Wan(張家灣): Sweet and smooth, but a little bit weak in aroma.
- Manlong(曼龍): Thick taste, well balanced, tasty.
- Bangpen(邦盆): Some bitterness, thick quality, quite balanced, but aroma being too green.
- Mahei(麻黑): Good aroma, thick tea broth and sweet, but high costs and limited supply of raw materials.
- Manzhuan(蠻磚): Green aroma with arbor taste, but a little bit weak for aftertaste.
Naming the Tea - Ancient Beauty in New Phase
On that day, investor and Cloud tasted and drank a lot of 2010 raw arbor tea materials. After a series of trial brews and fine tuning, we finally decided the blending. After the task was completed, a very aged Puerh tea had to be brewed for comforting our tired tongues and stomach.
This tea is blended from the above stated 6 different arbor tea leaves from different mountains according to an appropriate blending ratio. Cloud's investor friend names the tea as Ancient Beauty in New Phase (古韻新姿) which means "new wrapper styles with modern blending technique resulting a good Puerh tea cake for today and tomorrow". Description ticket (A1736) explains in Chinese that "... all these tasty arbor tea materials are from famous tea mountains of Yunnan. Now, a friend and Cloud blend them together and get the recipe. The tea showcases golden tea broth with well balanced aftertaste and strong feelings. The aftertaste is long-lasting. This tea is named as Ancient Beauty in New Phase (古韻新姿) for its uniqueness. It is a tea to be shared with tea lovers."
2010 Cloud's Recipe - Wrapping Characteristics of Ancient Beauty in New Phase
Investor friend got the idea from the wrapping style of Antique Puerh Vintage. He demanded for using 6 pieces of bamboo thread to tie up the entire stack. This makes the whole stack so strong and tidy that it will not get loosened easily in the coming long-term storage. The tying knots of bamboo thread, referring to the Antique Puerh Vintage, are so beautiful. In order to ensure the tea cakes not being exposing to excessive water contents from the air during the long-term aging progress, double wrappers are requested by the investor no matter how much it costs. What's a perfection without concerning the costs!
2010 Cloud's Recipe - Outlook of Ancient Beauty in New Phase
This tea cake is compressed by traditional stone mold, which can be noticed from the edge of tea cake, being round and thick (A1743). A trademark ticket printed with the month of manufacture "2010.10" (A1738) is also embedded into the tea cake so that it will become the concrete evidence of the aging year in the future.
2010 Cloud's Recipe - The Taste of Ancient Beauty in New Phase
2010 Cloud's Recipe - Ancient Beauty in New Phase has clear and elegant aroma. It tastes sweet, thick and long-lasting. Sweetness is one of the major aroma characteristics. Although some individual raw materials do have weak aroma, raw materials from other areas supplement to that insufficiency so that the overall aroma is good enough for appreciation (both sensations and value). This is the core spirit of blending.
The tea broth shows light golden color (A1744). If it is brewed and appreciated at this moment, you will find the silkiness, smoothness and thickness of this arbor tea broth. These great sensations are from the Yiwu raw materials (i.e. Luo Shuidong(落水洞), Zhangjia Wan(張家灣) and Mahei(麻黑)). Apart from the thickness, you can also find out the little bitterness in the tea broth (contributed by Bangpen(邦盆) raw materials). By blending these arbor tea raw materials by certain appropriate ratio, it will result a tea broth full of rich and thick tastes. If you taste it gently, you may also notice a little bit slight olive smell and taste inside (this may be the result from the complex multiple blend and definitely not from any single raw material). That's why blending involves certain techniques, which make the tea eventually smooth and elegant.
After drinking a sip of this, refreshment with pleasure will follow instantly together with the fantastic cool aftertaste, very long-lasting indeed.
Although the whole batch of tea has been shipped to Hong Kong in January 2011, the tea cakes had to be stabilized in the warehouse for letting the slight water contents to be "evacuating" by putting them in a relatively dry place. After several random tasting of tea cakes from different stacks and confirming the tea quality being consistent, the mission is finally accomplished. In order to make good tea cakes, timing is important. Good raw materials, huge finance, technique and patience, lacking one of them will fail the mission. Most importantly, the tea cake must also be affordable to general tea lovers. Therefore, even though Cloud has self-interest in this tea, Cloud still says, "It is NOT a regular or ordinary blend and product." The blend is so good that Cloud's investor friend loves it so much.
2010 Cloud's Recipe - Where to buy Ancient Beauty in New Phase? (Limited Supply for 2011)
Although there are more than 2,000 tea cakes of this batch, Cloud's investor friend originally intended to hoard the entire quantity for several years because he loves the recipe so much. However, Cloud advised that a small quantity of this batch should be released to the market for those tea lovers who were willing to storage their tea cakes on their own. Moreover, it was also a good chance to let tea lovers konw that how good the taste was at the very beginning. Cloud's investor friend agreed. As a reuslt, he was willing to share 100 tea cakes for those who might love this tea.
As the whole capital belongs to the investor friend, Cloud cannot ask for more stock for circulation in 2011. Since there are not many tea cakes for the market in 2011, Cloud decides to designate one of the Cloud's dealers (in Kowloon, Hong Kong) as sole sale agent to deal with this tea. Details are as follows:-
Sole Agent (2011-2013) :-
Tea Shop: Sin Fook Tea Shop
Address: Shop No. 83, Tak Ku Ling Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2320-8739
Quota of 2011
260or US$ 33.99/ piece (400g)
100tea cakes (limited supply for 2011 - 100 quota SOLD OUT)
Quota of 2012
380or US$ 48.99/ piece (400g)
42tea cakes (limited supply for 2012 - 42 quota SOLD OUT)
Quota of 2013
500or US$ 64.10/ piece (400g)
42tea cakes (limited supply for 2013 - 42 quota SOLD OUT)
Quota of 2014
Price: HK$(to be confirmed) or US$(to be confirmed) / piece (400g)
Available Stock: 0 tea cake (For 2014 quota, the investor decided not to release the stock.)
Quota of 2015
Price: HK$(to be confirmed) or US$(to be confirmed) / piece (400g)
Available Stock: 0 tea cake (For 2015 quota, the investor decided not to release the stock.)
Cloud's Tea House（2016 - present）:-
Tea Shop: Cloud's Tea House Tsuen Wan Shop G15
Address: Shop G15, G/F, Fortune Commercial Building, Fortune Shopping Centre, No. 362 Sha Tsui Road, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2421-7542
Quota of 2016
Regular Price: HK$
1,280or US$ 164.10/ piece (400g)
Special Price: HK$
1,111or US$ 142.44/ piece (400g)
42tea cakes (limited supply for 2016 - 42 quota SOLD OUT)
Quota of 2017
Regular Price: HK$
1,380or US$ 176.90/ piece (400g)
28tea cakes (limited supply for 2017 - 28 quota SOLD OUT)
10 February 2011 wrote in Chinese
14 February 2011 translated into English
7 January 2012 updated
6 January 2013 updated
18 December 2013 updated
9 November 2016 updated
8 March 2017 updated
Cloud (Hong Kong)
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