Thursday August 24, 2006

Today’s my lucky day.

I bought the pot from the Best Tea House that I talked about a few days ago. It’s nice, and I like it, and it’s the right size. Small enough for one person, but not overly small.

I went to their main store today, where Tiffany is currently stationed. I got there at around 3pm, and started tasting again the Fengqing tuo (the 500g one). I think I might buy one of them, not sure. Anyway, I paid up and bought the pot there, and I also got a box of cheap aged puerh and got a small (50g) tuo as a free gift. Not too bad, I guess.

Then apparently Tiffany has to make a delivery run to somewhere else, and since I don’t like the other salesperson there, I decided to leave as well. As we went out, though, she asked if I wanted to go to their other branch, in a place called Taikoo Shing, and she might ask a very experienced tea friend to come along. I’ve been wanting to see that tea friend (a married woman probably in her 50s) since I got back, so I said yes. She called, and the arrangement was made.

We all went, got to their Taikoo Shing store at around 5pm. There was someone else there, a merchant from Quanzhou in Fujian province, tasting a 18 year old shou tuo (100g) from Xiaguan. We had it. It’s not bad for a shou, not great, but rather expensive (30 USD). Then again, apparently he can sell it for something like triple the price in Quanzhou, so more power to him.

A bit later, when we were still tasting the shou tuo, the older tea friend came in. Let’s call her YP. YP is a puerh-head. She’s the one who once treated me to a Yellow Label and also some Iron Cake. Very good teas in general… We chatted for a while while drinking the shou tuo, and was generally having a good conversation about what makes a good young puerh to buy.

And after the Quanzhou man left, she pulled out some stuff…. lo and behold, it’s broken bits from her two cakes of Grand Red Label (50s tea). I’ve taken a picture of one of these in plastic wrap in the Best Tea house a few days ago, going for $5000 USD. Here she was, pulling it out to let us drink it.

Too bad she wasn’t prepared, since she was called in a hurry, so she didn’t bring her zhuni pot along. So we ended up settling for a gaiwan. Apparently, she only drinks this thing once or twice a year, so this is quite special and she sort of brought it for me. I felt rather honoured today.

Needless to say, the tea was great. The initial explosion of flavours was overwhelming, giving way in later infusions to a spring water like clarity, and then finally the sweet undertones of a puerh after many brews. It was about 9 brews later when we left and went for dinner. I paid, the minimum I could do for having tried such a tea. I don’t know if I will get to drink a Red Label again. It’s not cheap and it’s not easy to get.

We have another meeting planned tomorrow. She has apparently never heard of those Taiwan puerh cakes that we’ve been oogling over. So I’m going to bring her a few sample of those tomorrow, to let her try it and see what she thinks. In return, she will bring probably some super high fire gongfu tea and tieguanyin and the like.

Too bad I didn’t have my camera today…


Comments

Thursday August 24, 2006 — 7 Comments

  1. Well, depending on how much $5,000 can do for you, really. I was also trained as an economist — so it depends on your opportunity cost.

    But will I pay, say, $100 for a tasting of this? Yes.

    It was quite amazing.

  2. Well, these are the broken pieces from her tea, so it’s not as powerful (i.e. as long lasting) as pieces she took from the cake. Most of it was leaves that have fallen off, and some broken bits. The tea comes out a little faster in flavour

    But yes, it can keep going in the sweet tone for quite a few more. We didn’t really finish.

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