I have talked about FookMingTong before, mostly in connection with the TGY that I received via my parents from them. It’s not a bad TGY, but somewhat pricy. Today, I went to the IFC mall, which has a branch of their shop in it. My friend and I, for lack of better things to do, decided to drop in there.
I was going to compared their loose puerh and want to get a taste test, so after being ignored by the sales for a few minutes, I got one of them to sit down and brew one for us.
They have 3 loose puerhs. One is a “regular” one. One is a 1989 puerh, so they say, and the last is a “unknown year” one (named the same as the one at the Best Tea House). The crucial difference, however, is that apparently they’re all cooked, not raw. Eewwwww
I didn’t know that because they only show the tea in these weird little display cases. Imagine a slightly thicker CD jewel case, all plastic, with a little round hole on top that I suppose let you touch the tea or something. The lighting was soft, and the plastic a little stained by the tea, so I couldn’t really tell what I was looking at. When I did get to smell the dry tea they put into the gaiwan, it smelled a bit cooked with that mouldy smell, but then, it’s hard to say too.
They brewed the 1989 first. The guy was going to do a 1 minute first infusion after a brief wash. That alone should’ve tipped me off that something was wrong…. 1 minute? I told him to cut it short, and he did, and I think by that time the sales were already rather annoyed with me, the youngish man with an attitude.
Taste — your typical cooked, a bit sweet, a bit flat. It has some nice notes, but it doesn’t have that bite that is customary of raw tea that is aged. It also smelled like a cooked… and it looks like one. Oh well.
I didn’t even stay for the second tea. But before that, I asked them if they sell any raw puerh. They do, apparently, in cake form. That’s fine, I asked to see the cake, and they handed me this thing that was wrapped in your usual paper (using FookMingTong’s own paper wrapper, thus telling you nothing) sealed with a sticker on the back, and on top of it, a layer of plastic that is taped together. I asked if they have a sample, at least, that is opened, and the answer was… no. “They all come wrapped from our warehouse, and they are all sealed that way”. No sample cake at all so I can look at? “No, we don’t have any”.
How do they expect us to buy cakes? I guess you can always sell it to tourists or gift givers, who couldn’t care less what’s actually in it, but seriously…. no sample and no goods to look at? I could be buying some mouldy rotting cake for all I know.