The usual wandering — I went into a store that had some stuff that I’ve never seen before. And I ended up with one cake:
Yup…. Burma. Now, the owner claims that this is actually not a Burma cake, but the whole thing sounded like what Chinese call “there’s no 300 taels of gold here”, i.e. too much detail about how this is NOT something that it sounds fake. I was, in fact, rather interested in it precisely because it is said to be Burma cake. The taste is also a little odd. I think it’s one of those wild tree teas…. the typical dark green colour with some yellow. The taste was strong. The cha qi, especially, is very strong.
This is how it looks naked
So I bought one for the heck of it — mostly to see how this will taste in some time. After all, tea is not bounded by national borders, and just because it’s not in Yunnan doesn’t mean it can’t be good.
Then I went into a store that sells Cheshun Hao tea. This is an old tea manufacturer whose brand is being revived by a descendent of the family. They got a plaque at one point from the Daoguang Emperor, and it’s now serving more or less as their main advertising thing. The plaque is in Kunming right now, from what I know. The teas are EXPENSIVE. I tasted one toda — 700 RMB a cake. Not cheap by any stretch of imagination, especially for Maliandao. And this is a NEW tea.
So how did the 700 RMB cake taste? It’s very odd. The tea is almost tasteless. There’s a “tea” taste, but there’s very little aroma. There’s a hint of aged taste in it, just a hint, as it’s from spring last year. However… that’s about it. The tea is round, smooth. There’s not much of an aftertaste…. until about 5 minutes after I walked out of the store. Then I could feel it. All in all, a very mellow and boring, almost tasteless tea. I don’t quite know what to make of it.
I then walked around some more and ended up in the store where I bought some dancong with BBB, and tried one of their Yiwu cakes. A bit sweeter, also fairly good, nice, etc, but not top notch, and the price was a little on the high side. The store is a little annoying. There are all sorts of good stuff in there, but all are not for sale. Their owner is apparently somebody who has another business, and whose interest is tea. So, they make all these things that are, actually, for fun, and mostly only for friends and such. I guess I will have to try to make friends with the owner, except he’s not usually around. Oh well…
My last stop was at a store that BBB and I looked at, but didn’t really walk in. I tasted two cakes… both Yiwu. One was better than the other, and I bought two of them.
A bit bitter/astringent, a bit of aroma, some huigan, reasonable mouthfeel/aftertaste. Not expensive. I think the craftsmanship is very good. The quality of the leaves less so. I have hopes that this will age into something decent. I also hope that they will use better materials to make cakes….. this is a store I will come back again and check out, as the owner was very friendly and we had a good conversation. They are two brothers, one of whom is in Yunnan right now making cakes for the fall. Maybe I can tag along in the Spring? I don’t know. It’ll be nice though if I can go with somebody I can sort of trust.