; Cwyn's Death By Tea: The Out Law of Bad Tea ;

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Out Law of Bad Tea

Lately I've been feeling a little cheated.

I drink so darn much good Puerh tea. Did you read about the previous two cakes in my blog? Outstanding. How on earth did I find those cakes? Easily. Using a computer, I went to a website and clicked Add to Cart. Then I hit a Button called Checkout. Two weeks later, the order arrived at my door, with samples of MORE great tea, and even a cute little note. How swell is that?

So where is all the Bad Tea everyone talks about? Everything I drink is awesome. Blog posts, reviews, forums, emails, my Inbox is full of more great tea than I can possibly buy and drink before I pass on. Fabulous tea friends mail me boxes of their best. And yet other people's blogs are full of bad tea, complaining about how awful the tea is nowadays, too expensive, holding the porcelain after a particularly bad session, chewing aspirin for a tea headaches, ruined stomachs, bad kidneys, angry anti-tea spouses and dead cats.

To make things worse, all the Bad Tea is completely unobtainable. Although I've had things easy acquiring all the wonderful teas I now possess, it's been hell trying to track down the really bad cakes. Every time someone writes about a Bad Cake, a Fake Cake, a completely Undrinkable Cake, it is always sold out. What's up with that? Or it's a cake somebody found in a dirty, smelly tea cafe in the impossible and unknown reaches of China. In other words, someplace I can't get to.

Where is all the poop tea? Or how about bug tea? Always at some tea convention I can't possibly attend. Someone just wrote about Chinese rat poison cigarettes. Where is this stuff when I need it? Can't all the Good Tea just go away for 5 minutes, so I can get my hands on a really offensive puerh before it sells out or before I'm dead! Seriously I'm going broke on good tea, there is so much of it, but the Bad Cake just continues to elude me.

Finally, to top it all off, nobody can help me. Scott, Twodog, Garret, Arthur and the rest all have great tea. Tea forums? Well, Allan is occupied with shipping issues. Mrmopar, alas dear fellow, has a funeral to go to. His cat Chairman Meow who helpfully handpicks teas has been particularly sleepy of late, and shipping a cat to my location is a problem. My new friend Y had her credit card hacked on a tea site. Tea Fairy is in the celestial stratosphere of heavenly tea. The Oolong Owls are occupied, perching upon packet after packet of Korean Sejak...I say, these good people are busy. I could ask James at teadb.org, but he has spent months suggesting the best possible teas for me; 'twould be lacking in grace now to ask for advice about godawful bad tea.

Unfortunately, I must blaze my own trail to find a particularly horrible tea. EBay seems like an obvious slam dunk to find a Bad Cake. First, I need to find the most sleazy-sounding seller I can. Luckily I find the scratch I need in the seller "streetshop88" at his store called "Goshopstreet." Hell yeah. Next, I need to find the worst possible tea cake name.

All of a sudden...I Saw Him Standing There.

Immediately I was swayed by the superficial exterior good looks of his wrapper. I swooned at the perfect pattern of his teaHarmony profile. More than 10 of him available too! Other alluring attributes:

Overlord: Finally, a teaking who is a Real Man. Go away young buds. He'll give me what I need.

400 grams for $36.98. He's sooo big and costs so little.

Drunk: Needs no convincing.

Aged Tree: Lie to me. I promise I'll believe...

2011 and Raw: Spank me good young thang.

Organic: Uh huh. Sure. Whatever.

Free Shipping: Sold.

Can he live up to the hype, all this build up? Oh I can't wait to find out.
Velvet Pillows and Oils are always a good idea
 Time to undress, the sticker is all pretentious but doesn't take much to remove it.
I'm attracted to knives made with Stag Horn and Curly Birch
Double wrapped with white boxers, so modest, what is he packing?

So Shy
Or, more to the point, where is he really from? Tiepai me up, tiepai me down. Who is taking more liberties with the language now, me or that wrapper?
To be or not to be, that is the question.
Loose compression, almost a full session's worth has broken off the sides, I use my fingers to massage a little more off the edge.
Buck nekkid
The wrapper has 2008 on it, maocha pressed in early 2012? But I don't believe what I see on the exterior, it's what's on the inside that counts. This looks hardly aged at all. Plus he's loose; he'll go fast so I better be ready. I think I want him in my pot and not in my gaiwan.

8 grams in my overly large Yixing pot. The cup is 125 ml to the top, so between 100-125 ml is fairly normal for me with this teapot. First cup looks smoky and orange, giving credence to the wrapper that this is stored maocha.
Give it to me
One rinse, I brace myself for bitter, smoky and over the top. Lately I've mostly gone in for older ones put up wet, am suddenly feeling a bit gun shy. Age and treachery always win out over youth and vigor, and I'm the aged one so bottoms up, old gal. Surprisingly not too bitter. A bit of buzz on the tongue. Second steep much more bitter. Smokiness confirmed, but not terribly overpowering. Got the leather going now. A bit of astringency but not tooth drying.

Six steeps in and the smokiness is gone now and the liquor turns more yellow. He's fairly full in the mouth and he tastes a bit citrusy. Ten steeps and my water is getting cool. He wants to quit before I do. Might let him rest a few hours, and then wake him up again with boiling water to find out what else he has in him. Anything more to this mix of chop, a few leaves and buds?
Live fast, love hard, die young and leave a beautiful memory
Those early cups remind me of my 2005 Menghai tuos. I own a 2008 Menghai tuo I bought from chawangshop, and could do a direct comparison. But even without doing that, based on my 2005 Menghai, the loose compression of this maocha won't hold up as long as the tightly wound tuos shaped young. My Menghai tuos leave me completely tea drunk and draped over the bar with my tongue hanging out. Right now I'm satisfied but not sated. A few more years of age on this loose plantation guy will improve him a little if he quits smoking, but I expect he'll fade out early.

Wait. This really isn't the truly Bad Cake I was searching for. I paid what, $36 and change? Seriously, I can do worse for a one-nighter with a guy who is or isn't what he says he is. And I can do better, and feel more grateful on my next date with a real Menghai man.

Requiescat in pace.


  1. I have had these reluctant suprisers also. You think you get one and it won't pan out but they do. From the color of the brew I would say it has been stored a bit before pressing.
    The Chairman has a week off so surprises await.

  2. Yes, I think it is 2008 material as it says on the wrapper. In that respect, I done good picking a bad tea as that year follows the overproduction of 2006-2007. The date stamped on the cake is 3/2012 which just squeaks it as 2011, okay for a tea year but also gives the impression of even more age. "Oh yes, officer, I'm definitely 18."