The retaste project 5: Yiwu Shunshixing

The retasting continues, although in this case, it is also a cake that I haven’t tried since I had it in the store.

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Yiwu Shunshixing is an outfit headed by Zhang Yi, who was the village head in Yiwu in the mid 1990s and who was instrumental in the making of the cake Zhenchunya Hao, which now sells for an obscene amount of money.  The cakes he makes correspondingly cost a lot, relatively speaking.  I bought this cake in 2006, and I’m pretty sure this is a 2004 or earlier production, although I no longer remember what year it’s from.  Anything older than 2004 is pretty expensive on the market, and quite hard to find, as they were made in small batches.  I think mostly collectors have them.  I bought the last two cakes from the shop, if I remember correctly.

I should also note that Chinese shop names are confusing, because the same characters get used repeatedly in various combinations.  This is mostly because commercial enterprises of the old style all want names that mean something along the lines of prosperity, smooth-sailing, stability, etc, and so they stick to the same words.  When two outfits sound about the same, it does not, in any way, mean they are related.  In fact, assume they’re not unless you know otherwise.  I sometimes see people confusing names of tea makers thinking it’s some typo of another name they’re familiar with already, when in fact they are completely independent productions.

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The tea is stone pressed and looks pretty nice.  The neifei is “submarine”, meaning it is hidden inside the cake instead of being affixed on top of the cake.  I haven’t found it yet.

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The tea itself is quite interesting – it has a typical Yiwu taste, probably from somewhere along the lines of Mahei or Luoshuidong.  The tea is still somewhat bitter — more so than I expected, really.  It has a very light tartness, but the bitterness dominates, even though it does fade fairly quickly.  The tea itself is not bad at all, but neither does it blow your mind.  It does remind me a little bit of how the Zhenchunya Hao used to taste some years back — that’s not exactly the nicest tasting tea back in the day either, and is now famous mostly for the wrong reasons.

The tea does withstand a lot of repeated infusions, but I think I have better tea than this one.  Back in the storage it goes and I doubt I’ll pull it out again for a few years.  Maybe it’ll surprise me then.

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