This is a cake that I received from Toki, proprietor of Mandarin’s Tearoom, way back when. It wasn’t too long after we met, if I remembered correctly, and he gave it to me when we met up one of those times in New York City. Strictly speaking, this doesn’t belong to the retaste project, because I have been lugging this tea around with me in various parts of the US, rather than storing it in Hong Kong. It has spent time in Boston, Ohio, New York state, and Maine. I drank it once before after receiving this cake, and am now trying it for the second time.
The cake is full of little buds, and very few larger leaves. I remember when I first tried it, the tea was somewhat smokey, and was not the most pleasant to drink. It’s rather loose, compression wise, and after a few years of moving around, the wrapper has accumulated a fair amount of broken leaves and bits. I brewed those instead of breaking more leaves off.
The resulting cup is rather interesting – a nice minty taste that touches the throat, a good, solid, Yiwu profile, and reasonable viscosity. There is still just a hint of that smoke left in there somewhere. It tastes like old tree tea to me, and these days, those things cost a pretty penny. It’s a pretty good tea, and I can see it getting better over time. I guess my roaming US storage didn’t kill it, now I wonder if my Hong Kong storage can improve the tea.