Peter at Puerh.sk has made some excellent cakes, most notably the Guafengzhai and Mannuo of those I've tried from 2009-2011. This collection has something of a cult following among the (very large number of) drinkers based around
Eastern Central Europe, and I can see why. They're not hard cakes to enjoy, they promise good things for the future, and they are priced nicely. It's a fine balancing act that Peter manages very well.
Badashan is in northern the Menghai region, and is a cake that is a little off the beaten track in terms of "single mountain" attributions, although I'm sure that it finds its way into many blends unattributed. The small leaves, pictured below, have an encouragingly heavy, content-filled scent, laden with sugars.
Xiaohu sits on my lap, scribbling with a pencil on the back of one his mother's academic publications on the estimation of lung function. He disregards the yellow soup (shown below), and seems content to draw on his mother's work, while his father enjoys a deliciously clean cup of Badashan tea.
It has the disconcertingly familiar aroma of grass and hay that I associate with leaves from that region. As I've mentioned before, there was a period (some time ago now) in which all of my tea was in storage, and I drank only casually while in the office. I had the same cake every day: a Menghai Tea Company "special" cake from Badashan, which left me intimitely familiar with the region, like it or not. (It was a fairly basic cake, but got the job done.) Thankfully, this cake is much better than the mainstream Menghai version.
It has an excellent silky texture, combined with a very wide-ranging body that is stuffed full of interesting compounds.
I pile in more leaves, and the result is a powerful, heavy, energetic tea with tons of honest kuwei [good bitterness in the throat]. I like this cake very much, and am impressed by the price of 33 euro per 250g xiaobing. That comes out at approximately £40 per 357g, which I consider to be a fair price for such a good cake. There are cakes that are triple this cost which would do well to learn from its endurance, cleanliness, and degree of content. Peter should be rightly proud of a very solid cake.
I hope that he makes more cakes in 2012; I'll be hovering around the web-site like a moth attracted to a bright light.