A Tea Addict's Journal

Iwii Sample 2

April 2, 2008 · 4 Comments

I just got a big shipment of samples from Iwii yesterday, so it’s time again to do some sample cleaning.

I randomly picked out this, sample 2, to drink. Looks rather normal, smells slightly musty, and really nothing identifying about the tea when dry.

The liquor tells me it is a little aged, smells that way too, probably Taiwan stored, since it smells somewhat similar to the 2004 Gan’en Yiwu that I tried a few days ago. Oddly enough, it tastes sort of similar too. A bit mellow, but not too mellow, a bit sweet, but still retaining a bit of an edge…. Yiwu as well, perhaps? At the very least, it tastes like a softer tea that has been stored a few years in similar conditions. Not too bad, nothing too exciting either.

Turns out this is the 2000 (or is it 2001?) brick of Chen Guanghe Tang Yiwu. If I remember correctly, it is one of those things that sold out rather quickly. I don’t understand why there is sometimes a mad rush for teas that appear on some vendor’s website, while other items languish forever, looking for a buyer that never shows up. Other than perhaps the reputation of some of these people or brands, there is really nothing to go by when buying these cakes, for there isn’t even time for samples to arrive, I believe, before they are all gone. Why the rush? It’s not as if the teas will never show up again, or that they are the very last of a production. Good tea is everywhere; you just need to find them. Just because something isn’t “famous” doesn’t mean it’s not good, and also, just because something IS famous doesn’t necessarily mean it’s really good, or, in some cases, good enough to justify the price (88 Qing bing comes to mind). Besides, one can always try to find a friend or two in Taiwan or China to help locate such things, digital communications being what they are today.

Anyway, digression aside, I think this tea, for what it’s worth, is not too bad. Certainly better than some of the more recent stuff I’ve seen floating around. I don’t think Chen Guanghe Tang was producing stuff back then, so this was a cake that was made by another factory and re-labeled with his private mark. I do wonder if there’s any connection with the Gan’en factory, because the teas do taste quite similar.

Categories: Old Xanga posts

4 responses so far ↓

  • HobbesOxon // April 2, 2008 at 1:43 am | Reply

    I liked this one too: 2001 Chen Guang He Tang “Yiwu” Brick. There’s always the possibility that Mr. Chen bought the old maocha, and had it pressed – but I suspect you’re right about it being relabelled.

    I’m not sure about the gold-rush for untried teas (this only seems to occur at Houde, so well done Guang however this is being achieved!), but getting Chinese friends to buy tea is such a burden on them that I prefer to avoid it. I’m still trying to find my own way in this one, it’s not easy!



  • iwii // April 2, 2008 at 4:39 am | Reply

    Yes having seen the pics I can confirm it is indeed the *2000* brick, or at least that is what it was claiming to be.
    It tastes a bit green for a ~7-8yo tea but I am blaming that on the fact it is a brick (although it is not incredibly hard). It is indeed in a state between green and aged pu erh that maybe makes it irrelevant to sample now, which is why I hope it can get better.
    As for the rebranding, this is not the first time I am hearing that story actually, and the brick (as other CGHT products from this period) bears no neifei, which could be another indication so you might well be right.
    But anyway, the price wasn’t too much unreasonable for an aged tea. I have kept one of them untouched and I’ll send you another sample in a couple of year if it evolved in a good way.


  • MarshalN // April 2, 2008 at 7:45 am | Reply

    Hobbes: I remember being told by multiple people in Taiwan that prior to something like 2006, Mr. Chen himself did not press bings personally in Yunnan. Instead, he bought bings pressed by others and then relabel them. Nothing’s wrong with that if everybody seems to know about it.

    Buying through friends is indeed a burden, but there are people who do this sort of thing for a living, I believe….

    Iwii: Yeah, the fact that it’s a brick might have retarded its aging somewhat, so my 4 year old cake tastes similar to your 7-8 years old brick…

  • iwii // April 2, 2008 at 8:48 am | Reply

    Maybe that was why they did not belong to these overhyped items you were mentioning: I bought them months after the sample and there were still many left.
    MarshalN, I was surprised when reading the post you mentioned the Taiwan storage since that brick tasted a bit dry to me actually.
    I sent two other samples from the same period, but I stupidely lost track of the labels, (I think it was 1-a and 1-b). And indeed, they taste quite different.
    I shall be be able to tell them apart seeing the dry leaves, so remember to take pics for me if you want to know what you are drinking 🙂

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