The office I’m in right now has an interesting policy – spent tea leaves, along with other things solid but wet, are discarded in a little sieve that sits in the communal sink. So, whenever I clean out my cup full of leaves, I throw the leaves in there and rinse the cup out. Among the side benefits of this system is that I get to see what other people drink.
Not too surprisingly, the only thing that comes out of people’s cups, at least when it’s tea related, tend to be greens or very light oolongs. There are a few supposed tea junkies in the office (your truly excepted, of course), but I generally don’t see any real tea activity here. Maybe they drink it at home, but if they do, they probably stay up late, given that office hours in Hong Kong tend to end at 6pm. When people throw away tea leaves, they are usually green tea of some kind or another, and usually not the high priced stuff that are easily identifiable – longjing or biluochun. More likely, they’re some unidentifiable maofeng or some such. I also seem a fair amount of green oolongs of various types. Not surprisingly, no puerh at all. While someone has an “old tree” puerh cake sitting on her desk, no doubt a cooked tea from the yellow coloured label, it has, as far as I can tell, never been moved since I arrived a few months ago, never mind drunk. This confirms what I always know – puerh, even in Hong Kong, is strictly for the aficionados or those going to yumcha.