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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


A recent conversation with a tea friend has touched upon this, but I'm sure that this something that everyone thinks about in some way or another. If it doesn't, than maybe I'm being too paranoid so just ignore me.

Secrets, tea secrets. Not so much trade secrets like processing technique or whatever (though I'm sure for farmers this is probably an issue). I'm talking about secrets regarding teas/tea-ware that you like. So why would this be a problem? Well, this is actually more of a problem with pots and pu-erh than it is with other stuff, since the former can be rarer and limited in quality. Especially when there are only one or two cakes left, it can get kind of tense because there's the fear that someone will buy it up. So if I, as a blogger, praise said tea highly...well, some random reader comes along, reads it, and decides to snatch it away from me.

This is more of a problem with random readers than it is with the couple readers that I've corresponded with, who I can trust not to purposely screw me over. Of course, this is capitalism, so it's really every man for itself...but just to keep the odds in my favor, well, maybe I'll be a little less specific about the teas I like.

Anyway, onto the tea of the day...which actually falls into this category of limited availability so until I decide to buy it I won't give it away: but if you're really curious, I might let you know.

This is a late 90s tea, that's seen some slight wet-storage, but luckily that doesn't really seem to affect the tea's quality, though I'm a partial to wet-storage. What's so surprising is that it's still go some bitterness on it, and not the bad kind. It's a good bitterness, one that melts away into a sweet aftertaste. It's like some sort of bitter tea that my parents drank growing up in Taiwan. I'm surprised that it still has that kind of edge on it, since the few teas I've tasted with similar maturity have been mellower. Good strength, excellent tenacity, and thick/luscious mouth feel, this is something that I could see really turning into something after more years or again. Of course, I need some sort of approval from the local tea-heads before actually buying it.

Oh yes, there's also the fear that a vendor will see a good review and jack up the price because of that...though I seriously doubt that vendors are bored enough to base their pricing on the ramblings of a tea neophyte


and it was the 1997 Hen Li Chang Bu Lang from Essence of Tea. And although I said I would confer with my local tea heads, after tasting it again...even if they said it tasted like Satan's piss I would still buy it, because I like it. Unfortunately, I grabbed the last one; however, he might be restocking it in the next few months. Wary of a price hike in the mean time (which just recently happened with a 2001 Yi Chang Hao Yiwu I was so enamored with) and the fact that it may never be restocked...I quickly snatched it up. Keeping my fingers crossed for an eventual restock, since I really want more of this one.


Bret said...

I can't really say that I can relate to this "secrets issue" of hoarding the good stuff to yourself. I,m not selfish by nature and there is always, always going to be the next tea that you just have to have. To me...easy come, easy go. Who cares? BTW I got your package the other day, yours is on the way soon. I,m terrible about going to the post office.

Sir William of the Leaf said...

No tea is ever quite made the same from year to year anyways.
I kind of like the variety in my teas.
But I suppose you must do whatever works! =]

Maitre_Tea said...

I try to have the same kind of mindset,and try not to be attached to teas that I want, but it's hard. Anyway, no biggie about the samples. Since the place I do my groceries at is right next to the post office I'm usually pretty good about giving samples

Jason Fasi said...

I had "the audience" buy up what was one of my favorite teas before I even had a chance to buy a cake. I posted a glowing review of a sample, and the tea was gone (14 cakes in stock down to zero) in a week.

Maitre_Tea said...

oy, that's a shame...and sometimes you don't even have to review a tea favorably. The very act of talking about it sometimes draws attention to it. (http://community.livejournal.com/puerh_tea/122313.html)