A Tea Addict's Journal

Entries from May 2007

Tasting sample A

May 31, 2007 · 12 Comments

Ok, so it’s about time I tell you what sample A is. Let me show you how it looks like first.

To be honest, I myself don’t really know what it is. I found it in Shanghai. The person who sold it to me claims that it is from 2001/2002. Supposedly made with Yiwu leaves, but freely admitting that they probably weren’t very good Yiwu leaves. When asked about factory, he doesn’t know, and neither do I. Since it’s in a CNNP wrapper, it really could be anything.

As you can see from the picture, one corner of the cake was a bit banged up. There are lots of shavings/fannings in the wrapper, so I decided to use mostly those, plus a little piece I pried off the cake, for my tasting today:

7.2g of tea in a ~75ml gaiwan. There will be some wastage for the tea, because lots of fannings/broken bits will get washed out in the first infusion or two. So maybe it was really more like 7 or 6.8g of leaves.

The times for the infusions was something like 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 15, 20, 40, 120, 300, 300s. I don’t take exact times, but these are more or less right. Since so many of you took careful notes, it’s only my duty to do so….

Infusion 1 — slightly cloudy, probably due to the tea being mostly fannings. In the mouth — a bit tangy, with what I think some others have described as citrus like. Cools the back of the mouth a bit, and the back of the tongue as well. Some qi, as I drank the cup and start to sweat a little, but nothing major. Ah… I see what some people have said is smokey. There’s an underlying layer of smoke in this tea beneath the tang… just a bit though, and I have a feeling this is a residual of smoke that was a lot more prominent earlier but have dissipated over time.

Infusion 2 — darker in colour, a slightly heavier body, with a stronger taste of that tangy character, slightly puckery on the sides, but tolerable and not unpleasant. Interesting perfumy notes as I swallow. The tea is a little drying on the mouth.

Infusion 3 — The tangy character receding. The tea is turning a little spicy on me, in an odd way, though not entirely unpleasant. Still drying.

Infusion 4 — There’s a slight watery-ness to the tea. Perhaps I ought to lengthen the infusion time. Still a bit thin. Throat feels a little sweet.

Infusion 5 — There’s something odd about the taste of this tea right now. It’s not unlike some slightly aged puerh I’ve had, none of them too promising for the future. There’s something a little bland about the tea as well.

Infusion 6 — More of the same, except this time I took longer before brewing the next infusion and could still feel the slightly sweet and plumy and maybe talcum aftertaste, which is what I think is probably the best attribute of this tea. On the other hand, I also can’t shake the drying feeling of the tea — the throat feels slightly dry, and it’s still thin.

Infusion 7 — I think the tea is turning sweeter, losing that puckery edge and taking on a more talcum like aroma. Still thin.

Infusion 8 — Definitely getting more watery. Need to lengthen infusion time again and see what happens.

Infusion 9 — Steeped for… two minutes? Still a little bland, but it’s gotten a little more of the aftertaste than before.

Infusion 10 — Another long infusion — still got something, more like the talcum. Notice the lack of the word “bitter” in the whole review? There’s still a lingering aftertaste that’s more or less the same as before.

Infusion 11 — Rather weak now, and bland. I might infuse one more, but this is about it. The aftertaste of the tea is starting to die. This is in sharp contrast to, say, the 2002 Mengku I had a few days ago, when the tea left a mark in my mouth for hours. I know that given another…half an hour? I won’t be able to feel much in my mouth that might remind me of having drunk this thing.

The following pictures are infusions 1, 3, 5, 7, in that order

I’ve noticed that when I make tea…. the colour of the tea tends to be fairly consistent throughout the infusions until it really starts dying. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

This is actually only the second time I am drinking this tea properly, the first being at the teashop when I bought two cakes, one for distribution and one for keeping. I remember thinking to myself that it would provide a nice contrast to sample 1, and that this will be a much more pleasant “drink it now” kind of tea, whereas sample 1 is probably the exact opposite of this. I also thought that this tea, despite its relative drinkability, has problems. The tea’s a little thin, the complete lack of bitterness at this stage of the tea is slightly worrisome, and the slight sourness is not necessarily a good thing. I also thought that, at least for the first two or three infusions, it is quite attractive.

Some have commented on it being possibly pre-feremented. While I can’t say for sure, I must say I can’t rule out this possiblity because of the problems this tea seems to have. Given that I used a fairly generous amount of leaves for a relatively small gaiwan, the fact that it only really made it to infusion 12 is in and of itself a warning sign — especially since the tea started limping along earlier. A good, young puerh worthy of aging should easily brew 15 infusions given my parameters, and it shouldn’t start feeling watery until at least the 10th infusion. Here, the watery feeling starts much earlier. It makes me think this could be summer tea.

Phyll made a comment that it might be a mixed raw/cooked cake. In his sample, he found some pretty dark leaves. I must say I didn’t see any in mine:

There were leaves with different colours, but that’s common in a sample of a few years old.

And I sifted through the leaves pretty thoroughly. I also think that given its relatively lightness and airy nature, that a mixture of cooked leaves is pretty unlikely. If cooked tea were mixed in, I’d expect a darker brew and a heavier mouthfeel, neither of which were really present. Instead, as vl pointed out, Phyll’s dark leaves could be more like burnt leaves.

Somebody asked if this tea was wetstored. Once again, I don’t think so, at least not very noticeably. It could’ve been stored in a relatively humid climate (as Shanghai is). Because of the problems or concerns that I have about the cake, I’m not sure if this will really age so well, and I’m not even sure if we could really look at it from the point of view of a normal raw puerh.

What it is is a tea that is pretty easygoing, if a little boring. As long as one doesn’t mistake it for a good aged puerh…
it’s fine, but I can definitely see how somebody can sell this tea for 5x the price it sold for and get away with it.

It has really been interesting to see the range of responses to the tea, and has me puzzling over some issues. It is less apparent with sample A and much more so with sample 1, so I’ll leave that discussion till tomorrow when I give that tea a try again.

I think it will definitely be interesting to see what happens to the sample A cake in the next few years. I hope I’m wrong and it ages wonderfully, although I really have my doubts.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

The green peril

May 30, 2007 · 2 Comments

I drank this today:

This is the really really cheap cake I bought for Rosa. Her requirements for the purchase were twofold.

1) Really cheap
2) Really bitter.

She made it pretty clear that’s all she wanted. She thinks the more bitter the tea is, the better it will age in the long run. And she wants it cheap. Ok, well, I bought this thing after trying out a few (all pretty nasty tasting) teas. It was in the right price range and it was definitely bitter. My girlfriend thought it was really, really bitter. I have to concur.

I bought some for myself, to see how it will age.

I decided to try it today, because I actually haven’t tried the tea since getting it. It was a while ago.

So I went ahead and pried a corner

It was a little more than I expected, 8g, and I took it almost all from the surface of the cake. No matter, I’m not trying to sell the thing anyway.

So I threw it in the gaiwan, poured water over it, and out came the tea…

Colour is, hmmm, light.

The taste is, hmmm, not great. Bitter. Wait, do I detect something wrong? Uh oh… I brewed another infusion, and another… hmmm, I think something is wrong.

There’s green tea in this thing.

I can’t really tell how much green tea this cake is consisted of. I don’t remember tasting it quite like green tea when I tried it at the tea store. Then, I had the middle of the cake, while this time it is the surface. Seeing how silvery and light the surface of the cake is, I wonder if that might have something to do with it.

Green tea will add some fragrance and sweetness to the otherwise nasty and dull young puerh. The downside, of course, is that it doesn’t age well. Oftentimes a good green tea added puerh will be pretty floral even when very young, and has a light, sweet taste, with only a modicum of bitterness. The bitterness will show through in a few years though, and the tea will taste terrible then.

IMO this tea tastes too bad now to be fully green tea. Then again, maybe I just used too much leaves. But I feel that there’s some puerh taste in it, just not…. pure.

Oh well, it’s so cheap, it doesn’t really matter that much. I won’t miss it horribly if it all ends up in the compost pile. If it is mostly green tea, at least I will get to watch the progression it makes in aging, and once in a while, taste it to figure out what happens to such tea. The wet leaves look good too…

Oh well.

On another note — the comments for sample 1 and sample A are mostly in. There are a few of you who haven’t said a word about it yet. You know who you are. I’ve been very intrigued by the wide range of responses on the two teas — both have lovers and haters. Perhaps it’s a good sign that way.

I think I’m going to drink the two teas in the next two days, and post my own thoughts on them as I drink them. I should stress, now that the tasting is mostly over, that I only have one cake of each, and that part of the point of this exercise was to see what other people thought and whether I should buy more of either of these (by getting your second, third, and fourth … opinions). Both teas I’ve tasted only two times, so my thoughts are by no means definite.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

The curse of the golden flowers

May 29, 2007 · 8 Comments

I had plans to drink another sample sent to me by iwii today. Among the stuff he sent me were a few pieces of a heavily traditionally stored tea. As most of you who regularly read my blog know, I’m a good Hong Kong boy and do not mind traditional storage so long as it fulfills two conditions

1) It is not so wet stored as to have health concerns for me
2) It is not presented as a dry stored tea of significantly older age and thus selling for a price it doesn’t deserve

As I was flipping the few pieces of tea around for picture taking, however, I noticed something

Not clear enough? Try looking at the picture here.

See those yellow dots in the middle? There are conflicting information regarding these things. Some call it “golden flowers”, and claim that they are good for you. Others say that there are two types of golden flowers — one is the good kind, the other is a harmful kind that is really a mould that will produce a carcinogenic toxin. Needless to say, I was a little alarmed to find this. I then searched around the pieces some more… there were more of these on other pieces, scattered around, and also some white mould

As well as that white dusting that covers pretty much everything, inside and out.

Properly traditional stored tea should have some of these white dusting, but white mouldy spots or yellow ones are generally considered bad. I put off the tea and brewed some of my Mengku 2002, which I haven’t tried in at least half a year. I used the shavings that have accumulated inside the wrapper, plus a little off the cake. The tea brews a nice amber colour

It’s bitter, and strong, but smooth. There’s a strong taste to it…. something akin to dark chocolate. Obvious qi, with a bit of huigan, not quite hitting down the throat, but definitely towards the back end of the mouth. It’s not a great tea, but not a bad one either, and it now costs at least double what I got it for about 9 months ago.

While drinking it, however, I was sorely tempted to try the sample that iwii gave me. I was planning on throwing it out, but decided that I can at least brew it and see what happens.

I washed it a few times, and then brewed one infusion for trying. The obvious aroma coming from the tea is a medicinal smell, but not in a very aromatic way, rather in a slightly pungent and unpleasant way. I tried a few small sips of the tea, which brewed an almost pitch black drink. It’s surprisingly bitter, given that it’s been so wet stored. Normally teas like this should be fairly sweet and pleasant, but this one isn’t.

The leaves for this tea are rather rigid and inflexible

It’s lost much of its vitality, and I couldn’t really find many examples of leaves that were both whole and open-able. This was the best one after some exhaustive searching

Even then, it didn’t really open up, and it’s already gone through 5 very long infusions. Properly traditionally stored tea should only be lightly wet stored, and then dry stored for a few years to let the wet storage dissipate and develop before going on the market. This tea has been mismanaged — too wet, and not enough time/treatment afterwards to make it palatable. Perhaps given some years in a dry, airy environment it can be saved a bit, but I don’t think so. It’s quite far down the road to being a cooked puerh, if you examine the leaves. There isn’t a whole lot that can happen to it, and the existence of the yellow mould pretty much seals the deal. Whoever sold this cake is doing a disservice to tea drinkers it serves.

So, iwii, where did you get this cake? You should ask for your money back, especially if they told you it’s dry storage or it’s 30 years old (which it can’t be).

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas
Tagged: ,

Mystery sample + Teacuppa sample F

May 28, 2007 · 2 Comments

I am feeling “shanghuo” today, which basically means I have a slightly sore throat, a nosebleed, and generally feel like I have too much “heat” in the body. I thought perhaps a few cups of young puerh will help cure the problem.

I got more samples yesterday from a reader of my blog, iwii. There are quite a few of them. There’s one in particular that he wants me to taste, so I decided to try it first.

Looks good enough? Leaves are long and flat. It’s from a cake, as there are compressed pieces. They are a little flakey and feels dry. Smells a little like the plastic bag it came in. I know my samples had the same problem and could’ve contributed to an initial off taste, I’m afraid…

I broke the big gaiwan while preparing the setup, so I have to use the small one… used something like 6-7g of leaves.

The initial infusion was a yellow coloured tea. There was a slightly spicy and slightly familiar smell to the wet leaves… I think it was from one of those huge column teas that use Yunnan maocha to make. Not entirely sure though, and I don’t think I own anything that smells quite like this.

The taste… has an “off” taste. I wasn’t sure if it was from the bag, or if it’s something else. The tea is not bitter. A little flat, perhaps, and a little strange. There’s an aftertaste. Not a terribly strong one. There’s some obvious qi.

A few more infusions… the tea stays more or less the same, with the off taste going away a little, but still there, so I think it’s not the bag, but the tea itself. I can’t quite describe what the taste is, except it is a little medicinal.

Iwii told me that almost everybody who’s tried this tea didn’t like it. He does though, and hopes that I find something nice about it. I must say I can see why people don’t like it. The taste is a little off-putting. I can also see why he likes it, because there is something to the aftertaste. Is it enough to offset the rather awkward taste? I’m not so sure, honestly. I think this is something I might buy a cake or two of and see how it ages over time and learn from it. I don’t think I’d invest in it, unless it’s very cheap. The wet leaves look quite good, just like the dry ones, but somehow… there’s something weird about the taste that I can’t quite put my finger on.

I felt energized today, so I drank more than one tea. Since there are lots of samples I need to work on, hopefully before I leave Beijing in a month’s time, I decided I need to clean some of them out as they are difficult to carry around. Since the Teacuppa stuff is sort of on a time constraint, I decided to try one. I picked out F, since I have plans for E and really don’t want to try D given other people’s reviews.

I threw the whole sample into the gaiwan. Since others have noted it’s weak, I figured it won’t hurt.

The tea is very strange. When I sniffed the lid…. there’s an obvious citrus like scent. The tea… tastes like an artificially flavoured orange drink, because it’s sort of cirtrus like, but not really. There’s a tangy taste to it that lasted through all four infusions that I tried. I only drank a little of it, because it is really very strange, and in a somewhat unpleasant way. I have a feeling this wasn’t quite made properly, as a puerh, and that with some aging.. it just turned into something really quite odd.

The leaves actually look ok

But something is really strange about the taste of the tea, and I don’t know if it has to do with storage.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

2001 Fuhai Yiwu

May 27, 2007 · Leave a Comment

One of the wonderful things about having a tea blog is the exchange of information that takes place. I sent out some samples, but I probably get more in return. In fact, I have a feeling that I will always have an endless supply of samples of tea to drink. (By the way, please keep commenting on the samples I sent out — and I have questions for some of you that I posted in the comments section as well).

Since I had Davelcorp’s sample A the other day, I decided to have the sample B today. He told me this is the Fuhai factory 2001 Yiwu Wild Tea. The tea looks quite decent

Last time I drank it, I remembered I liked it better than the Menghai. I have to say I hold the same opinion, although my estimation of this tea has decreased slightly…

The tea as infusions 1, 3, and 7

As you can see…. the colour remains pretty consistent throughout, although that might be a product of my brewing…

The tea is mildly fruity, with a hint, just a hint, of tartness throughout. There’s a pleasant sweetness to the tea, and almost no bitterness whatsoever. It’s lost the Yiwu taste, but what replaced it is something that I don’t normally associate with Yiwu aged a few years. I think storage has to do with this, because Yiwus I’ve had that are aged a few years were stored in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong storage is probably different from Davelcorp’s SF storage, with the tea being lighter and fresher.

The downside that I didn’t notice as much last time was that the tea was a little monotonic, and moreover, a little thin. Not a huge down, and perhaps the brewing vessels/waters changed my impression a little.

Which reminds me… I used 6.6g of tea in my bigger gaiwan (not sure how much water it holds…). Infusions are something like 5, 5, 5, 10, 10, 15, 15, 20, 40, at which point the tea starts dying on me. I’m guessing a little here, but the general point is that… infusions are short. I noticed that parameters vary very wildly among different people who got my samples. Since I have requested people to give me some idea as to how they’re brewing the tea, I should tell you how I brew mine. Generally speaking, I use a relatively (so it seems) high amount of leaves, but doing it in very short infusions. I find this to minimize astringency, generally speaking, and also avoids overly harsh bitterness. The longer the tea sits in water, the more bitter the tea will get and the rougher the tea becomes. In younger raw puerh, it could completely swamp out other flavours sometimes, as I’ve discovered before.

Anyway…. the wet leaves are nice, although a little easy to bruise and break for some reason. Not sure why. Perhaps a few years of rotting did a number on them, but they do appear slightly thin.

All in all though, not a bad tea, and I won’t mind drinking this now. I’m not sure how well it will age into the future, as it is already showing a little weakness. Pleasant enough 🙂

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

Sample 1 comments

May 26, 2007 · 19 Comments

Please post your comments for sample 1 here.

If you haven’t tried either of the teas, please do try to refrain from reading. The reason I tried to keep people from posting is so you don’t get go in the tasting expecting something 🙂

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

Sample A comments

May 26, 2007 · 22 Comments

Ok, since I talked to a bunch of people… seems like quite a few have had a chance to drink it.

So, please post your comments for sample A here. I will have another entry for sample 1.

Please try to include the method of brewing along with your comments. I have noticed quite a large discrepency in brewing methods and it does have an effect on taste. If you don’t have a Xanga account… I think it is now possible to post without one?

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

The spring that never came

May 26, 2007 · Leave a Comment

Well, maybe the title is a little dramatic, but it seems like this year truly is the spring that never came, at least when it comes to puerh tea.

What I am referring to is the fact that till now, spring teas have not arrived en masse in Maliandao, nor elsewhere, I believe. While here and there, there are some spring teas from this year, by and large they are still sitting in Yunnan, in various factories, in many cases unpressed yet. The ones that have arrived this year are mostly small productions pressed by individuals or what not. It’s already almost June, and most of the stuff from March or April should’ve been ready by now, but they just haven’t showed up and everybody is waiting in anticipation.

I first dropped by the Douji shop. Douji, if you may remember, are the folks who supplied that wonderful six-pack sample of maocha. I went to ask if there might be a few more available, and indeed, there might, although I might have to wait until June, because the owner of the shop won’t get more of them until later, and even then, it comes in pretty limited numbers. The guy has an amazing memory though, and even remembers what I bought last time despite the fact that it was quite a few months ago. We chatted about teas, tried a few of his, and such. Douji’s spring teas are not ready yet either — only one tea, from the Bada mountain, is produced. Everything else is not even pressed yet, so they probably won’t show up until at least late June, if not later.

I tried the Bada, which was ok, and then a Yiwu pressed by the store owner himself. It’s from Guafengzhai, and commands quite a premium price (I think something along the lines of $70 USD). Guafengzhai is also the place where the raw materials for the Chen Guanghe Tang Yiwu Chawang was made, and it’s actually a little away from Yiwu proper. I tried it… there’s some more Yiwu taste than the CGHT version, but still a little off, which I can understand now because it’s simply geographically off a little. Yet this is a spring tea, and I think it’s not bad, if not for the very high price. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Since there wasn’t much of interest, and the new teas haven’t arrived yet, I used that as the excuse to duck out. I then went to L’s store in Beijing, which is run on a day to day basis by his business partner Xiaomei. She was debating about whether to make a purchase decision for some Yiwu teas they got samples of earlier, from some place supposedly a bit away but less harvested…. one of the cakes I suggested no, because it tastes just like a green tea (with that characteristics bitterness that won’t go away). The other… we tested against the Yiwu cake I bought in Shanghai.

The two cakes are remarkably similar. In fact, I’d say that the base characteristics are more or less the same. The different between the two is that mine has an added layer of something… something a little darker, a little heavier. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what it was. It tastes a little odd… a little ricey? The one she has is a little lighter, and a little brighter in its complexion. The aroma is more pronounced, although when cooled, hers produce a slightly disconcerting green-tea like bitterness that isn’t that obvious when hot, while mine doesn’t. Both seem to have slightly different problems, and I honestly have no idea which one will age better. Then again, this Yiwu that she has is also from the same guy who supplied the green-tea cake to her, so I’m really not too surprised to find a bit of green mixed in there somewhere.

Meanwhile, there’s another cake of stuff, the Orange Label, that has us puzzling. L wants to sell this tea, but I have some reservations about it, as I feel like there’s a mustiness that I don’t like at all and that pervades through the tea. I don’t know, other people’s business, really, and I guess I shouldn’t get too involved.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas
Tagged: ,

Two strange teas…. strangely alike

May 25, 2007 · 4 Comments

A while ago the 2001 Menghai Factory Yiwu Zhengshan cake received a lot of attention for some reason (you can find links to other reviews through Tealogic’s entry). I tried it without knowing what it was, and didn’t really like it. I also commented that it tastes like something I already know. Now back in Beijing, it was the first thing that was on my mind — to compare it with what I think tastes quite similar, at least in my memory — the cheap but slightly problematic Keyixing brick that I bought a while back.

When I bought this brick very early on, right after I got to Beijing, I thought I found something good. Then, tasting it quite a while later, I decided it’s not so good. Something was off about it, although I couldn’t quite pinpoint what. It didn’t taste right. I now regard it as tuition. I never thought there will be another use for it — as a benchmark, of sorts.

I still have some of the sample A left for a side by side comparison — turns out it was 5.5g.

I used 5.5g from my brick too in a two gaiwan tasting.

Well, what happened?

The Keyixing brick is on the left, the Menghai on the right. You can see the colour of the liquor is very different — with the Keyixing considerably darker. So they must taste really different, right?

Wrong… despite the colour differences, the teas tasted remarkably similar. I was surprised when I first took off the lid to smell after I brewed the first infusion… while the Menghai was slightly fruitier in smell, the base of the smell and the overall profile were quite like each other. I drank the two teas…. wow… they are very much alike. The Menghai was indeed lighter, and has a bit of that fruity taste in the tea as well, but the difference really isn’t huge. The Keyixing is a bit deeper, shall we say, or heavier, with a more pronounced bitterness.

Second infusion… both have taken on a slightly sour taste. It’s more like a tartness, but it’s very obvious in both teas. When I tried the Menghai the first time, I thought it was a little sour, and this time, it was no different. What surprised me most was the way the Keyixing developed the sourness in the same infusion as well.

Then the third, the fourth…

The colour of the liquor remained different, with the Keyixing brick being darker throughout, but the tastes actually approached each other as infusions went on. The Keyixing continued its slightly more bitter note, while the Menghai is a little more airy, but one can definitely imagine how the Menghai might turn a little darker in a few years like that. Two things that came to mind when I drank them. One — when I closed my eyes, they felt more like a red tea… maybe a Ceylon, with that little tartness and astringency, but not too much, and that bitterness. It’s not a very refined red tea like Darjeeling or a smooth, sweet one like a Keemun. It was a regular, run of the mill red tea taste. Actually… a bad dianhong might taste like this.

The second thought was that if I served the 6th or 7th infusion of both to somebody who was blindfolded, and who doesn’t know that much about tea… they may very well think they are drinking the exact same tea, or at least, a different infusion of the same tea. The teas were extremely similar, and I really couldn’t find a huge difference between them. From the smell, to the taste profile, to the lack of a real huigan or throat feel (I need a better term than this!)… they were, well…. too similar.

I don’t think my Keyixing is Yiwu, and nobody has ever claimed that it is Yiwu. By extension, I also don’t think the Menghai is a Yiwu. The Menghai is slightly more tasty than the Keyixing, but that is only by a matter of some small margin, not some really obvious difference. In fact, if I were tasting it blind, I’m not entirely confident I can tell them apart.

You can see that the wet leaves show some difference.

The Menghai cake is a bit harder pressed, but also, the leaves of the Menghai cake seem a bit rougher and stiffer. I tried opening some, and they felt rough and coarse, not the smooth and soft type that the Keyixing is. Some even felt like those “yellow leaves” type of leaf. I’m not sure why.

I hate to say I don’t think very highly of the Menghai cake… and definitely not for the price it was selling at recently. The Keyixing brick was about 1/10 of the price that was recently quoted for the Menghai…. and I won’t even buy THAT now.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

Late night tea tasting

May 24, 2007 · 1 Comment

I went out for tea with L just now. He’s flying out of town tomorrow and won’t be back in Beijing for a while, so we decided to catch up over some tea.

While we talked about various things, including his very recent experiences of drinking a number of “Hao level” tea (i.e. stuff that is at least 60 years old), we drank a tea he brought over — a 1990s “Orange Label”. It’s a very strange tea. I think something was wrong with the storage, as it smells very musty, like the old books and documents that I deal with on a daily basis. The tea is reasonable… but personally, I did not like it. It didn’t have much qi, despite the liberal amount of leaves used, and it didn’t have a lot of aftertaste other than a somewhat uncomfortable astringency that is present very early on. The aroma…. is musty old books. L wants to try to sell it, but I don’t think I’d buy it if I were a customer.

Meanwhile, he was telling me some of the news from the market, including how Menghai’s 7542 is now “merely” 13000/jian, and even at that price there are very few takers. He met somebody at the recent Tea Expo in Changsha who bought 400 jian of this stuff at 18000 a piece. You can calculate his losses. New Menghai teas are still not on the market yet, and he said (don’t know if true or not) that Menghai has problems with the quality of the maocha they received and issues with their mixing of formulas, so until that got sorted out… no new teas will show up. Seems to make sense, as it’s been about two months since anything new has come out of that factory.

I guess I’ll find out all this for myself this weekend when I make my customary trip to Maliandao.

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas
Tagged: ,