I went to Maliandao today, predictably enough. What else am I going to do on a sunny, cold sunday in Beijing?
I didn’t exactly make it very far today. I walked into the Puerh Chadu, not having been there in ages, thinking that maybe I can find a few 02-04 things. Chayuan, nice as it may be, is too new. Most of the stores there only carry stuff from 2005 onwards because they haven’t been around that long. While some are moved from somewhere else, so they have older stock, most of the time they just sell very new teas.
I ended up in the third store I saw. They had a tea from a maker called “Dou Ji”, which I’ve seen online, so I figured it’s not a bad idea to at least look at it in person and check it out. There are simply far too many puerh brands out there, and the more you see, the more you know.
I stayed there till almost 6pm.
I ended up trying three Yiwu teas, one is 04 spring and two are 05 spring. The 05 springs, despite being from the same company and the same period, taste different. They’re not hugely different, but different enough for anybody to notice. One was obviously better, more rounded, fuller in flavour, body, texture, etc. The aroma is especially good, tasting obviously like a Yiwu that is beginning to age… or at least like all the aged Yiwus that I’ve had. I don’t know why, but there is something particular about this aroma that I like.
The 04, on the other hand, felt a little stale. While it’s still good, and actually more full flavoured in the aged taste, it’s somehow missing something. I ended up purchasing 3 of the 05 spring that I like.
Then I went to the store that L partially owns. L’s in town, and I figured I’ll go see if he’s there. The manager of the store saw my cakes, and screamed “oh no you didn’t!”. Turns out she has a few jian of this, and could’ve easily sold me a few for less (she didn’t say how much less). Oh well. She did give me a sample of the tea she has quite a few weeks ago, and which I never tried. I should try it now to compare with the cake I got and see if it’s actually the same stuff, or if it might be the other 05 spring batch that I didn’t like as much.
One of the persons in charge of making this particular cake was in town, and he came to the store shortly after I arrived. We brewed up a Mahei cake from 04, which I thought was utterly unimpressive. It’s a lot worse than a lot of Yiwu teas I’ve tried. The conversation with this guy, however, was good, and it was interesting to see his take on the puerh market these days. Among the things he told me…. 5kg of raw leaves makes 1kg of maocha now, whereas a few years ago only 3.7kg of raw leaves could make 1kg of maocha.
I’m not exactly sure what that means, although it does leave me a feeling that something’s going to be really wrong with the puerh market in a few years’ time.