Spring tea continues to dribble in slowly to online vendors. I recently got a couple of samples of early spring offerings by Chawangshop along with an order of other teas. Chawangshop put a warning on their Instagram about a month ago, telling followers to “stop asking” about spring teas, that they would be released later in the summer. I surmise that the few new teas on offer thus far are not representative of the rest of the collection yet to come.
I’m feeling a bit less enthusiasm this year for diving into Chawangshop’s spring collection, and not because of the teas themselves. In fact, I found last year’s offerings quite lovely, especially the 2015 Hekai cake and the bitter age-r Mengsong. Chawangshop straddles the low/middle price point extremely well for unpretentious daily drinker teas, especially when each tea is really unique from the others, and often single origin. But their social media comments are a real turn-off lately. Along with the exasperated-sounding comment on IG telling people to stop asking about spring tea release dates, Chawangshop posted a bit of a scold on Facebook to people for drinking their teas now rather than storing them. A year ago a comment appeared on a blogger site from the same vendor criticizing western buyers for purchasing samples rather than whole tongs, and for judging teas from samples rather than drinking a full cake. Okay, then why send samples? Does the vendor not want people to try and buy? Maybe the comments are not meant as critical as they sound, especially if one credits the speaker whose English may be a second language. But still, if you are peddling huang pian, I wonder how much a vendor can afford to insult the customer, when it is nobody’s business what someone does with their purchase.
This first offering is a 2016 Manzhuan “gushu” huang pian, on sale now. I do like Manzhuan tea, which tends to have a sweetish Yiwu profile, but with a bit more bitter strength. Notably, white2tea’s 2014 Manzhuan is a prized tea in my collection, and I’m currently failing at my effort to store and save this tea. I keep dipping into it a couple times a year. So I’m inclined to view Manzhuan huang pian a bit more favorably. Because these 2016 teas are still rather new and wet, I took only 3g from my sample to try now, and will try the remaining tea later in the year.
|At left, Manzhuan "gushu huangpian, on right, Myanmar Jingdong|
|Fourth steep of the Manzhuan huangpian. I spilled the third on my chest.|
|Third steep, Myanmar Jingdong brews up greenish because it's new|
“I don’t care if I sell it,” said TwoDog. “Anybody who buys this tea will either understand it, or aspire to understand it…It’s a tea that if nobody bought one gram, and I had the rest to myself until I shuffle off this mortal coil, I wouldn’t care one fucking bit.”
You can obsess over that now…
But the real headlines this week must also include the new tea store opened by longtime blogger Wilson, http://adventureineverycup.com. I about fainted dead away when I saw Wilson’s announcement today, what a shock when a puerh hoarder opens a shop to sell his stash! And many of his prices are on the low-ish side. Wilson’s tea travels are puerporn at its best, because he goes to the actual factories to buy his tea on vacation jaunts. He lives in Singapore, so his tea is stored in a hot and humid climate, and I can be sure that his teas are well taken care of. Offerings include aged CNNP and pre-2011 Dayi. He is even selling excess tea ware, including an unused 1980s Factory 1 Yixing pot with the sticker AND the box! So this means you better get over there. Quick.