Puerh and Chrysanthemum Teas
We tasted two great teas today, both are very different. First, we went hunting in Fan Cun, the famed Tea Market of the south. There are over 4,000 tea vendors there, so we asked for assistance. We were referred to Mrs. Dao, for the best Chrysanthemum flower vendor we could find. We met up with her and her family from Hang Zhou at their shop. They had three grades of Chrysanthemum, low middle and tribute grade. We started with the best. These are tiny chrysanthemums, the size of a dime. They are bright white and loose and fluffy. The best fully matured chrysanthemum flowers are harvested only once a year at the end of August, though the buds can be harvested as early as late July. They give an almost clear liquid that is distinguishable as tea only by it's viscosity. It has an almost minty freshness to it I have never experienced before. It is a refreshing but soothing cup. We were sure this was the tea we needed. We bought 3 pounds of it and had it vacuum sealed to keep bugs away, as chrysanthemum teas are prone to attracting pests if they are kept improperly.
We also met up with a puerh vendor today. Mr. Yeung has an agricultural degree from the University here in Guangzhou. He is particularly good at deciphering and categorizing puerh by leaf grade. He had us try some 2002 Xia Guan tuocha, but we were really taken by his new 2007 (November harvest) cooked "7533: Heng Hai (Menghai Area) puerh. Rich, sweet and composty, this tea will age well in San Francisco, where the dryness will take the edge off that compost taste leaving that rich sweetness you often find in a "7262" puerh. We have a whole tong, 7 cakes, and we're excited to share them when we return. Today we're off to visit Shi Fu again, and try 1992-3 mixed Wu Yi from the "12 Golden Picks" Better translated as the "12 Golden Chosen-ones".