Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year 2017.  The first day of Chinese New Year falls this Saturday 28 Jan 2017.  This will be the year of the rooster.  Those born in the rooster year are supposed to be hardworking and dependable. 

Chinese all over the world would be busy preparing for this important festive occasion.   Families would be baking pastries and buying special treats for the traditional family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's eve.  Kids would be delighted to wear new clothes and look forward to receiving red packets containing some money (a blessing given by adults to children).  It is one my favourite time of the year to meet relatives and friends, eating lots of food and snacks and the 3 day long weekend holiday would also allow me, hopefully to have extra tea brewing sessions.  

I will be making a few trips later this year to China and Hong Kong and if you, the reader want to have a detailed look at the tea scene there, do contact me and I will be happy to show you the tea markets there.  It will be mainly semi budget, some shopping, lots of eating and you should be tea drunk by the end of every evening.  More importantly, you get to see the variety of tea and tea ware available, talk to the tea distributors directly and have tea sessions with tea drinkers who are passionate about Chinese tea.    A 7/8 day trip would see us having tea adventures in Hong Kong (3 days) and Guangzhou (5 days).  

I would like to thank all readers for your support - reading this blog, sharing your thoughts with me and supporting me recently in my online tea store.  Thank you very much.

To all my readers, Happy Chinese New Year.  May the odds be forever in your favour. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Pu Is Bigger Than Your Pu - The Sequel

There were never plans to make a sequel to my "My Pu is bigger than your pu" blog entry I made in 2010 (link). That 2 kg raw pu melon is still sitting in storage. That melon is already 10 years old (2007 production) but I am still figuring out how to break open that melon. I had even dreamt of using an industrial saw I saw at a butcher shop that should be able to nicely slice the melon into manageable 'cuts' without too much wasted tea dust. I told myself to keep away from giant pu. Yes….. to us pu erh tea drinkers….size does not matter. Really? I had noticed however these few years that size actually matters. The new cakes are getting smaller and getting more pricey as well. I see many new cakes now made in 150g to 200g sizes. 'Downsizing' seems to be the marketing strategy now. Even my bag of potato chips seemed lighter nowadays. 

Let me explained how I ended up with this 3kg cake. A tea shop owner had included a sample of raw pu erh tea in my carton of tea which I had bought from the shop last year. I found the sample nice. It had hints of a variety of floral scents and came with a hint of smokiness which I enjoyed. I made calls about the tea and I was quoted a very good price for the tea. I remembered I heard that it came in 3kg. I had assumed that with the new marketing strategy by pu erh manufacturers, the tea would be in packed in either 150 or 200g sized cakes packed to a 3kg box. I confirmed an order of 6 kg.

When I went to pick up my order last month, my eyes nearly popped when the tea shop took out 2 huge boxes of tea……with each pretty giant box neatly holding a 3kg pu erh cake. Perhaps, the pu erh gods were kind to me….my Malaysian friend who drove me to the teashop quietly asked me whether I could spare him one of the cakes. All is well and I only had to hand carry one 3kg cake on my flight home.

A happy and humorous tea adventure. Another tea for the collection. Can any reader out there loan me an electric pizza cutter?

Should I consider another sequel? Till then (hopefully not, must not and shall not), my pu is bigger than your pu!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2004 CNNP Raw Wild Pu erh

Happy New Year 2017.

I opened a 2004 CNNP raw pu erh cake to welcome the new year.  I had purchased this cake last month In Malaysia while I was at the tea expo.  There is a red chop  on the wrapper indicating the pu erh is composed of wild harvested puerh.  I had never seen this cake before and it was even more intriguing that the inner label or neofei is a yellow mark 'cha' which is different from the outer wrapper which showed a green 'cha'.  

I was surprisingly impressed with this tea when I unwrapped the 357g cake.  I bought this cake without sampling and the cake gave off a strong camphor, old book leather scent.  This tea brews very strong.  I enjoy old pu erh that brews strong and heavy in aroma. I could detect mild sweaty and slightly intoxicating sensations.  This cake is well stored in Malaysia; a clean and dry cake.  A lucky buy in that I purchased a couple of these cakes without sampling.  

But I digress.  I am grateful to everyone that supported my online tea store that I opened in July 2016.  The response was extremely gratifying.  Thank you.  I had noted your feedbacks and I will 'put out more tea, new and old especially the obscure ones as well'.  I will be introducing next week 2 raw pu erh which I enjoy very much.  Thank you once again and Happy New Year 2017.