The Haiwan tea factory was founded in 1999, so this beeng was produced by relatively new tea factory. This may be good, because the workers and owners may be still enthusiastic - good example is the 2005 year for San Ho Tang tea factory. And this may be bad, if the workers aren't skilled enough.
Producing good pu-erh is more art than just labour.
I got few of these beengs from Scott at Yunnan Sourcing LLC. They were relatively cheap and nowadays 7 years old pu-erh is “the aged” tea. I never tried them before by myself, because of some not-so-good reviews of these beengs. Unfortunately, I read those reviews only after the purchase.
But since yesterday I moved some of my pu-erh stash to basement, I decided to try two of those beengs. The first one is the 2000 Haiwan Gu Hua (Fall Harvest) beengs. The leaves were small and dark brown with very few stems. So I threw them into teapot and prepared the tea. The brew had ok color, dark orange, not very clear but neither too muddy.
What warned me immediately was the smell of tea. I like the cellar-like smell of aged pu-erh, but this beeng had very aggressive and wet smell. It was like wet stucco. Very wet stucco. It immediately warned me of bad tea.
The smell was ok – sweet with touch of honey. But the taste was something I did not like at all – it was very sour, very mineral, and unpleasant. I stopped drinking the tea after second infusion.
I’m not sure what caused those problems – maybe very bad storage conditions. Well, it’s moved now into basement and I will let it sit here and rest and, maybe, age. I do not believe that this tea will ever be good, but maybe it will at least age into something OK.
See also: Phyllshengs review, Steven Dodd's review, Hobbes review.
Please nottice, that some of those reviews are based on tea from Jing Teashop.