Another tea afternoon with some friends. This Saturday was spent mostly drinking Chenyuan Hao, although not exclusively. In reverse time order (and also the order in which we drank the teas)
1) Dayi 2012 Longyin (Dragon Seal). This thing is about 800 RMB now, for a cake that is barely a year old. It’s a silly price for something that is basically a few steps above your regular run of the mill big factory productions – it’s not that great, a little smokey, and well, you can hold on to this for ten years and see what happens. At that price point there are a lot of better teas. It’s probably great if you had gotten in at, say, 200 RMB, so you can sell it now for a handsome profit. Getting it now is rather dumb, I think.
I had high hopes for the Chenyuan Hao Yiwu, which is supposedly a pretty small run and made with good material. We compared it with Zhou Yu’s Red Label from the same year, region unknown. The result is rather surprising – it was no contest. Zhou Yu wins hands down. The Yiwu, while decent, is quite commonplace – it’s not that hard to find teas like it (CGHT, for example). Zhou Yu’s tea, on the other hand, has some “special sauce” in it.
3) Chenyuan Hao 2006 Nannuo
This tea starts out really promising, nice taste and all, but somehow drops off rather quickly into a somewhat sour and thin tea that isn’t very good at all. I inquired afterwards about its price, and turns out it’s rather cheap for a small run 2006 tea. No wonder.
4) Chenyuan Hao 2001 Yiwu
Something is really weird with this tea. I’m not sure if it’s the storage or the original material, but it’s quite disappointing – given that it’s 12 years old and from a maker that does make nice teas. If you have a cake like this, it’s a waste of 12 years.