Passing the year

Today’s the final day of the year of the dog, and tomorrow (in about an hour) we usher in the year of the pig. In China people would be lighting firecrackers like crazy at midnight, and sleeping might be difficult for a few hours. In Hong Kong, no such things are allowed (all firecrackers/fireworks are outlawed — too dangerous in a place with such a high concentration of population). Nevertheless, people celebrate, mostly by eating dinner at home or outside, but definitely with family. This is about the equivilent of the Thanksgiving Dinner in the US, where families try their best to gather together and have a long dinner. We just finished ours.

During the day today, as you can imagine, it was rather quiet outside, but a little gathering was going on in the Best Tea House. It was, surprisingly, an exceptionally busy day for them. I stopped there earlier with my cousin, but it was so crowded with (mostly Japanese) tourists that we had to take a walk. When we came back, I saw somebody unexpected — sjschen of the LJ Community. He is in town visiting, and by chance found the Best Tea House a few days ago. We ended up chatting a good bit about the teas they had, and started brewing some.

Among the teas we drank was a somewhat wet stored cake, which tasted like a 10-15 years old tea and was still a little sour/green in the undertones, but generally starting to taste like aged teas. Then it was a loose tea from, supposedly, the Menghai area. It’s starting to taste like a real old tea, with a shadow of the Red Labels I’ve had. It’s not quite as strong in the qi, but the taste is very similar. It’s sometimes quite interesting to see these changes in puerh.

Then we tried the puerh I bought for Rosa, which I personally now think is good value for the money. It’s not a great tea now, but it has some signs of a good one to come. The chaqi is strong and the tea is generally good. Rosa was happy with the purchase.

We finished with a high fired tieguanyin. Always nice to drink such things after a bunch of puerh. We didn’t get to the one cake I recommended sjschen to try, but oh well, what can you do. Maybe they went back to the store after dinner? I’m not sure. Either way, we had to leave and so we all left. It was nice meeting another tea friend in person, and it reminds me again of the real benefits I get from this blog — I get to meet all sorts of people from all over the world, people who I would have never met otherwise, all because we share one common interest.

I wish you all xinnian kuaile (Happy New Year), gongxi facai (wishing you to be prosperous – standard Cantonese new year’s greeting), and most importantly, xinnian he haocha (drink good tea in the New Year!)


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