A friend from Malaysia sent me a big package of tea awhile ago. I still haven’t repaid the kindness, and have been drinking the stuff very slowly since I started work. This past Saturday when I finally had some time to drink some tea, I brought this cake to Best Tea House to share with Rosa.
This is made by an outfit called Chenyuan Hao, which is a Taiwanese maker of puerh much like Xizihao and others. I’ve had their teas once, way back when. I wasn’t particularly impressed back then, but it’s been some years and this is a very different production – whereas I think most of these pre 2004 productions tend to be made by someone else, by 2006/7 these guys were all running around on the mountains themselves, doing their own thing, so quality control went up drastically. The cake you see here has probably been stored in Malaysia for a few years, and was wrapped tightly in plastic when it arrived, where it stayed until I opened it this weekend. The cake is about 250g or so, and is a most generous gift, since I think their teas are not cheap by any stretch of imagination.
The tea also came with a dizzying array of identifying marks from the tong
So how’s the tea anyway? The simple answer is that it’s excellent. The tea brews strong, is thick, has staying power, and even when I left (halfway through the session, as I had to go somewhere) the tea was still brewing quite strong after 10+ infusions. It left a clear note in the throat that didn’t go away easily, another mark of a nice tea, and just generally was excellent. The Malay storage has a distinct taste to it, which I’ve had elsewhere before and which showed up here. If there were more of this tea, and if they’re not outrageously expensive (which they may very well be) I’d buy more of this. If it’s too pricey, then one cake is enough.
Thank you, Su, for the gift, and I still need to put together a package for you.