I went out for tea with L just now. He’s flying out of town tomorrow and won’t be back in Beijing for a while, so we decided to catch up over some tea.
While we talked about various things, including his very recent experiences of drinking a number of “Hao level” tea (i.e. stuff that is at least 60 years old), we drank a tea he brought over — a 1990s “Orange Label”. It’s a very strange tea. I think something was wrong with the storage, as it smells very musty, like the old books and documents that I deal with on a daily basis. The tea is reasonable… but personally, I did not like it. It didn’t have much qi, despite the liberal amount of leaves used, and it didn’t have a lot of aftertaste other than a somewhat uncomfortable astringency that is present very early on. The aroma…. is musty old books. L wants to try to sell it, but I don’t think I’d buy it if I were a customer.
Meanwhile, he was telling me some of the news from the market, including how Menghai’s 7542 is now “merely” 13000/jian, and even at that price there are very few takers. He met somebody at the recent Tea Expo in Changsha who bought 400 jian of this stuff at 18000 a piece. You can calculate his losses. New Menghai teas are still not on the market yet, and he said (don’t know if true or not) that Menghai has problems with the quality of the maocha they received and issues with their mixing of formulas, so until that got sorted out… no new teas will show up. Seems to make sense, as it’s been about two months since anything new has come out of that factory.
I guess I’ll find out all this for myself this weekend when I make my customary trip to Maliandao.