May 8, 2013

guess guess guess... reunion of twins

By the way if you like the guessing game, here are some of the earlier ones - and make sure to take the guess before seeing the final answer or other people's answers :-D

* reunion of "3 brothers"
* price of a oolong

And a couple of *really* old ones on teachat - they make me feel old! :-p

* a oolong (and by the time of the posted game, I hadn't seen this specific style in American market yet, so it was harder to guess then than now!)
* which oolong is different from the other three


Now here is another one... The tea is 2004 Chang Tai Heng Feng Yuan sheng. Heng Feng Yuan is one of the numerous (as I complained before) trademarks of Chang Tai. There are mostly shu products under this trademark, but there are some shengs. This one from 2004 is relatively well known for two reasons. One is that many people think the leaf materials are pretty good. A second reason is that on the wrapper, the trademark "Heng Feng Yuan" is mis-spelt. The first character "heng" is put as "ji", which could be interpreted as "ultimate or supreme". It's not officially confirmed, but rumors are the misspelling was done purposely. I think that was plausible. Back in 2004, Chang Tai was in extremely good shape, their tea was indeed good, and the company had probably got already quite arrogant (which might be the root of the arrogance that caused them trouble in 2007, I think). But there is no official story about whether the misspelling was done in purpose. And one obvious effect of the misspelling is that the tea can be more easily recognized among all other early 2000s Chang Tai teas.

So I got these two versions of exactly the same tea. With a purpose similar to the that of these "tuition tea", I got these twins of Heng Feng Yuan for study and comparison purposes. This time, I think, it's an excellent comparison opportunity that rarely comes up. The two tea cakes here are from two different storage environment. One is purely dry storage, as most of my puerh. The other one is Hong Kong humid storage - if you are a drinker of purely dry storage only, you might think how brave I am to get this bunch of tea... But in fact, it wasn't a hard decision, and I will explain why later.

Now the question for you is, which is purely dry storage, and which is Hong Kong humid storage?

Don't be shy of taking a guess. It's 50%, 50% chance :-)

On the other hand, don't be surprised if your guess is wrong :-p This guessing game is indeed a little tricky - and I usually pick tricky ones to post anyway ;-) It's never hard to tell between a dry storage and Hong Kong humid storage, if you hold them in hands. But from the photos (and I don't know if the blog page would allow the largest resolution of the photos but you can try clicking them), it's not that easy to tell, especially when the dry storage is not the stereotypically "forever green" tea and the Hong Kong humid storage is not the stereotypical "rotten" tea.

There are indeed "keys" to recognize if the photos can be enlarged. Meantime, photos could be deceiving in various ways and they might show some "false keys". Last month I posted these photos on a Chinese tea forum and let people guess. Most people got it wrong - although there is 50% chance to choose each answer, somehow most people chose the wrong answer!

Now here are the photos. All the photos have the same tea on the left and the same tea on the right.

Although they are "twin brothers", their wrappers aren't exactly the same to begin with. One has thicker paper texture. Printing should be the same.

Below is the cake on the right.

Below is the cake on the left.

At the end, I also want to point out that I can't say for sure the Hong Kong humid storage is the typical product of its type. I do somewhat believe that's what Hong Kong humid storage is "supposed" to be. Many other things between these two teas are a lot more different than what's showed by the photos of these two teas. To me, that's the huge difference between dry storage and humid storage (but not necessarily difference between a theoretical "good" and theoretical "bad"). But I'm a dry storage drinker in general, so the "typical" Hong Kong humid storage in my mind is not necessarily the same as the "typical" in everybody's mind. Even though I got the humid storage tea for study purpose, I would like a "tuition tea" to be more or less drinkable to me too. In this sense, I can't say for sure how typical a humid storage is, if it's drinkable to a dry storage drinker.


Frank said...

Dry-storage on the right and humid on left... obviously :p Are they easily distinguishable by taste ? Thanks for these guessing-game posts. !

Gingko said...

Hi Frank, yes they are very different in terms of taste. No need to guess when tasting :-)