Some of you might remember this, or even have it
Yes, this. There was a time when puerh cakes were selling like they were going to run out – which they did, promptly, when Hou De put them up. At least it happened for Xizihao teas, which were (and still are) made by Sanhetang in Taiwan. Back then they were basically the first of the gushucha wave available in the West. The 2007 ones sold out rather quickly – some as soon as within a day. There have since been some newcomers, of varying quality, but even now, I think some of the Xizihao remain the better ones that were sold as gushu puerh.
This cake, however, I did not get from Guang. I bought this at the Best Tea House in Hong Kong. For some reason, they had a tong of this – for 750HKD a cake, which is a bit less than $100 USD. This was in 2011, which makes this extremely underpriced – the cakes came out around that price, and so weirdly, it was selling for a pretty low price for some reason. I dithered for a while, and when the other six cakes were sold (to a single person) leaving this one display one, I snapped it up at a discount. Why not?
I haven’t tried it since I bought it – it’s been sitting in my storage. Unfortunate wrapper aside, the leaves themselves look good
The tea is a nice, solid performer – definitely has gushu material in it, good body, nice balance, etc. It isn’t mind blowing, but it’s really not bad. Although a bit on the weak side, it may very well have to do with the fact that my cake was the “display” that was sitting out on a store shelf for more than a year. I’m not sure if Sanhetang themselves have this tea available anymore – oftentimes these outfits no longer have their past runs, or the supply left is so limited that they are not making it available for the public (instead, dripping it out as a “favour” for important clients). I didn’t buy any back in the Hou De days, mostly because, well, they were sold out before I saw them. I probably should’ve bought the whole tong of tea when I had the chance, especially since it’s a pretty good price. But then, I already have a lifetime supply of tea, so maybe I don’t really need more. Or, maybe I can stock up for “the future,” but I think that’s usually just rationalization for an otherwise unhealthy hoarding behaviour…