A Tea Addict's Journal

Friday August 25, 2006

August 25, 2006 · 8 Comments

Well, I had a tea date today with YP at 4pm. I went on time, and she was a little late because she got held up.

While waiting, we drank the cheapest puerh on sale at BTH. It was about $1 USD an ounce. None of us (including the storekeepers, Rosa and Helen) have tried it before. Some cooked, some raw mixed together. None very good, but I guess it is ok drinkable. At first after two washes it still had some odd tastes that it acquired throughout the years. I suppose if you air the tea out a bit it might taste a bit better. YP came in halfway through our tasting session of this tea. We asked her how much she’s willing to pay for this at the BTH without knowing the price. $1.50 USD was the answer. We were all impressed she won’t get gibbed.

But of course, we weren’t there today to drink $1/oz puerh.

YP is a lady with a big goodie bag when she’s in the mood. It’s basically a big paper shopping bag full of stuff — tea stuff. The first thing she pulled out was this

With a closeup

This is the REAL Zhenchunya hao tea. Why do I say real? This is the first batch, apparently. Mr. Chan of BTH got only 40 cakes when he first sold it. YP scored a cake and half (limited quantity for everybody). This is NOT the same thing as the Zhenchunya I saw in the BTH the other day (of which I took some pictures). As you can see, this one has golden tips in it, and the leaves are browner, while the other one is greener and dimmer. The leaves of this one is very shiny, very oily, while the other one is dull. I was quite impressed by the differences.

Then she pulled out this

Yes, a lady who carries around a whole cake. This is the wrapper

This is an 80s Sheng+shou mix cake, commonly called Traditional Character Zhongcha brand because it has traditional (rather than simplified) characters on the wrapper. Going price in BTH is $3800 HKD, or $400 USD.

Onto the tasting:

We had the Zhenchunya first. It’s remarkably mild mannered as a tea, very smooth, very subtle. The taste lingers forever, but isn’t overpowering. I think we could’ve added a little more leaf, but she got a little protective of her stash. It was really quite good, and the tea shows its age as a 10 year. Not as harsh and bitter as the Zhenchunya at the BTH that they sell now. I might ask Tiffany to give me a try of that again to see the difference using similar leaf to gaiwan ratio.

This is how the leaves look brewed.

Then… she pulled out more goodies. Two newer cakes, to be exact. I didn’t take pics of both, but I did take pics of a corner of a cake that she gave me (along with pieces of the Traditional Character Zhongcha as well as the leftover Zhenchunya sample she took — all mine!!!)

This is a 3 year old cake. Reminds me a little of my Taiwan cake, but this one is more silvery, although both are very buddy cakes — mostly buds and not much leaves. The tea is sweet, not quite green anymore, has a raw edge to it, tastes wild (rather than very tame and boring) and is quite tasty now. She said she’s buying these to see how they will age over time as these buds only cakes are a fairly new phenomenon. She bought at least a whole jian, afaik. Maybe more. All from Guangzhou.

This is how it looks brewed. Looks almost like white tea.

We were going to taste the Traditional Character cake, but I had to run soon already. Didn’t really have that much time left. So… she pulled out the other goodies she brought.


The top pot is for Wuyi, the bottom for aged high fire TGY. The top pot is a real Mengcheng. The bottom is by a maker called Songsui or something. I wasn’t really sure.

We had the TGY first. Very nice — 98 TGY from BTH, stored in good sealed condition for 8 years. I think she has bucketloads of this stuff. Somewhat sour as she brewed it extremely strong, but the aftertaste… on it’s great. That’s the taste you can’t get with new tea. It’s a round, full tea, with something I can’t really describe. Similar to the other aged Gongfu tea I had at BTH a week ago (from some other guy who has lots of stuff stashed), but this one’s a little more powerful (less age) and the tea quality itself is higher. She only makes 3 rounds of this and stops — she says anything more is a letdown after the goodness.

They were going to keep drinking — the Wuyi, and maybe other things. I had to go to dinner with dad, so I had to run. 🙁

I did come off with lots of goodies — four samples of teas, as well as lots of good advice on tea drinking, gaiwan using, etc etc….

A few action shots, as she brewed the ones where her pot was used (others were brewed by Rosa, a very experienced sales at BTH)

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8 responses so far ↓

  • Phyllo // August 25, 2006 at 5:16 pm | Reply

    Another nice tea day, for you!  I’m jealous.  Any reason to think YP might have the hots for you? 🙂

  • Kaloingie // August 25, 2006 at 5:25 pm | Reply

    I am constantly amazed at the level of connoiseurship (sp?) to which you aspire. I wish I had an ounce of your ambition…

  • MarshalN // August 25, 2006 at 11:59 pm | Reply

    Uh, yeah, a 50 year old married woman (who comes with her husband) has the hots for me, yeah

  • MANDARINstea // August 26, 2006 at 12:02 am | Reply

    That is a nice duplicate of a Mengcheng pot. Are these pots from China or BTH? Nice collection of tea also! Do you have any backgound on this lady? Great shots my friend : )

  • davelcorp // August 26, 2006 at 12:57 am | Reply

    Hmmmm… my jealousy has risen to a new level. I’m alreay trying to figure out a reason to go to HK.

    The all bud cake is very nice looking — it seems to be a better quality than most that I’ve seen. I’d like to hear how this ages. A whole jian? That’s a hefty speculation.

    Did she get to sample any of the Xi Zhi Hao stuff?

  • MarshalN // August 26, 2006 at 2:36 am | Reply

    She look at the Xi Zhi Hao stuff, said “this probably tastes a bit thin, doesn’t it?”. I said, yes, relatively speaking it’s a thinner tea. She didn’t even want to try it.

    She claims it’s a real Mengcheng. I don’t know these things very well, so I refrained from commenting. I do know that she does NOT polish her pots. She made a big point of it the first time I met her, about 3-4 years ago. That could be why it looks relatively unaged.

    She was at one point a student of Mr. Chan. One of his earliest, and has a fantastic collection of things like Yellow Label (probably in the dozens) and such…

  • Phyllo // August 26, 2006 at 3:24 am | Reply

    What was the approximate infusion times that you guys used to brew the Zhenchunya?

  • MarshalN // August 26, 2006 at 4:03 pm | Reply

    Um…. it was fairly short

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