I was running an errand today that took me somewhere very near a store that was recommended to me. I had some extra time, and it was tea time anyway…. so why not?
I found the place after walking a little bit. The store can be best described as… shabby. On a scale of 1-10 for decor, it rates a 0. It is dark, with an old table, some old teaware, old tea (lots of it), a broken display case with some old cakes in it, and after some time drinking tea there, an old cockroach running around that the owner killed with bugspray.
If nobody recommended this place, I don’t think I would’ve spent much time in it.
But, the guy said this store has a lot of old tea, so, heck, why not.
When I walked in a woman was chanting Buddhish sutra loudly. She didn’t even notice me, and it was only after I (deliberately) made some noise fumbling the (some broken) teaware that she realized somebody’s in the store. After some talking, she called the owner back. He’s her husband, and probably in his 60s. An interesting looking guy, who, after sizing me up, asked me what I want to try. 80s? 90s? 00s? Sheng? Shu? I tentatively suggested 90s sheng, and then he asked “do you want the strong ones or the smooth ones?”. Strong. So… he reached back into a little canister, pulled out some tea, and started making it.
It’s some early 90s 7542. Not bad at all. Sweet, a bit mellow now, not too rough…. quite right, actually, and definitely dry stored. Then we had an early 90s 8653 (Traditional Character) that was stronger, lasts more infusion, but also a little rougher. Very good tea, both. I wonder if either of them might be worth the asking price.
Here’s the dilemma… it’s a cake that isn’t quite yet good for drinking, but is obviously much closer than anything newish. I suppose the price is affordable, but is it worth that much?
Food for thought. For now though, he’s said if I want to I can come back and drink tea with him. I’ll probably go back at some point.