I was bored out of my mind today, so what did I do? I went tea shopping again.
I ended up with one cake of puerh of medium quality. The tasting conditions were sub-optimal, since it was in a slightly dirty wholesale store of puerh selling low to medium quality stuff. They didn’t even make the tea for me — I served myself. It was a rather odd experience, but kinda fun, in a way. I’m not sure if I’ll go back there. This cake I bought mainly for comparison purposes — so I have some basis to go on, since I haven’t been drinking much young puerh these days (unlike some people, ahem). It was better than a few of the other cakes I’ve tasted though.
It does, however, also remind me that I should bargain harder in Beijing. HK really kills your bargaining habit.
So I put that into practice and bargained a bit harder at the place where I also bought some qingxiang tieguanyin today. I probably could’ve gotten it for a even lower price, but this is probably all the qingxiang tieguanyin I’m buying this year, and I found the price pretty acceptable (having been knocked off about 60% from the first quoted price).
This, however, reminds me how much of a ripoff it is to buy anything tea related in the States. But then again, if I were in the tea business, I’d also sell at those prices in the States because that’s what the market can bear (of course, there are other costs too like shipping, rent, labour, etc…)
I ended up tasting some more puerh at another store, although neither of the cakes I tasted was any good. The first was one of those sweet mellow pathetic tasting cakes that leaves no impression after you swallow. The second is better, with a bit more wild taste and what not in it, but I wasn’t convinced it was good enough, and the price … well, I didn’t feel like it justified what they were asking for (and taking 50% off that). So I left.
I might taste the puerh cake again tomorrow to give it a more honest try.