I went back to the Peninsula for a canister of their Darjeeling. It’s not that cheap, but it’s cheaper than I thought.
I went and visited Tiffany again in the afternoon, and tasted quite a few things today. The first was a puerh brick that they sell — a cake with no clear origin other than some vague “high altitude” claim. The tea was very buddy, with lots of young leaves. The taste was sweet, with a Jingmai taste, but not that impressive, and has some suspicion of green tea taste. It’s not terribly obvious, but Tiffany also said it reminded her of the organic green tea that they sell. We then chatted about the dangers of buying young puerh these days, and it seems…. basically nobody knows what will be good. Sigh
Then we tasted a purely dry stored Mengku cake… somewhat different from the stuff I’ve had before. It’s more refreshing in its taste, although I actually prefer the one that has been through some slight wet storage, as the taste is deeper and thicker. That tea didn’t last too long before we decided it wasn’t that good.
I pulled out the Jingmai sample that I have… and tasted it sort of in comparison with the first tea we had.
The one on the left is the brick, and the one on the right is the cake. You can really see the difference in size and completeness of leaves.
The Jingmai cake is a little less obviously sweet and aromatic, although I think it is still quite aromatic (the dried fairness cup smells a VERY strong floral fragrance). The cake also has obvious “throat feel”. I think maybe I should grab a few of these when I get back to Beijing.
At this point, some other tea drinker came in. She seems experienced, although mostly a client of another sales who works at the Best Tea House, and generally I don’t see her. She wanted to try something nice…. and so Tiffany pulled out the Zhenchunya Hao.
This sample cake they were using is at least poorly stored. You can see evidence of mould on the cake — some slight white dots on the leaves that weren’t on the surface of the cake. You can also smell the storage from the dry cake and the first few infusions. The tea… is nice and sweet, with an obvious Yiwu taste, but honestly… it doesn’t not merit the price being charged. The last Zhenchunya Hao I had at the Best Tea House in their main store was better — it was also better stored.
I heard that Mr. Chan of the Best Tea House actually bought this batch from somebody who originally got it from sources in Taiwan, and this is after he sold out (pretty much) his own supply. Therefore, storage conditions are not quite the same, and it’s obvious that this batch I’m seeing is not as well stored as the other ones…
Either way though, it just costs too much…. with a nice 25% markup to the price since I was last in Hong Kong… in August!