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Xiaguan Pu-erhs

xiaguanfactoryimages.jpgThe Xiaguan Tea Factory, founded in 1941, is one of several major tea factories in China. It is located in Dali, Yunnan Province, China. Leaves from nearby gardens are mixed according to recipes (a typical practice for producing pu-erh cakes), indicated by a four-digit number included on cake wrappers since 2005 where the first two digits are the year the recipe was produced, the third is the grade of leaves used, and the last is the factory (3 for Xiaguan Tea Factory). For example, 8613 means a recipe from 1986 (the year the factory started making tea cakes) using first-grade tea leaf made by the Xiaguan Tea Factory. There might be a letter in front of the number, most frequently "T" to signify tight machine compression. Tighter tea cakes age more slowly, so these will have a fresher flavor but also last longer.

This factory specializes in both raw and cooked varieties of pu-erh tea and is famous for tuocha (“Bowl-shaped Tea”) and bingcha (“Disc Tea”). Aged tuocha and bingcha, especially ones produced in the 1970s thru 1980s, are highly valued by collectors.

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