“Impressions”

Today I went out for tea with Y, who’s my friend L’s business partner. Y’s from Taiwan, so he has some friends here. I went to where one such friend opens a (non-tea related) store and had some tea with them.

We didn’t stay for long, as the threat of the third typhoon since I arrived kept our session short. We only had two teas. The first was rather interesting — it was a new cake made by Zhongcha, for which L/Y is a primary distributor. The cake is called “Yiwu Impressions”. Now…. it’s a fancy name, but really, what it means is that it is sort of Yiwu-ish, but with no claims by the maker to be selling a tea that is old tree or anything like that. The overwhelming impression I got was mediocrity — the tea is thin, bland, and not very interesting. It’s unoffensive, but also unpromising as something for aging. Is it Yiwu-ish? I suppose, but only barely. It also turns rough on you rather quickly.

The tea used is supposedly just plantation tea, yet a cake at wholesale prices is around 100 RMB, and more if you buy retail. Prices are ridiculously high, and quality is just not there. I don’t think I’ll ever pay that much for this tea.

Y did give me a free cake though. I can’t complain about that. It’ll be interesting to compare notes a few years down the line to see how this tea aged relative to others.

Sorry for the inconsistent colours and the poor quality of the photos — I’m still trying things out with the lighting here, and it’s proving more difficult than I thought.

We only got a few cups of a second tea before we split. It was a yinhao tuo, cooked, and somewhat aged. Quite nice and mellow, and very enjoyable. The provenance of this tuo is a little suspect, but whatever it is… it’s fine as a drink. As something that’s worth a lot of money? That, I’m not so sure.

I have a feeling tomorrow I won’t be going anywhere while this typhoon hits. It’s supposed to be quite strong and I’m already hearing the wind howling outside my window.


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