Opening a complete Tong of pu-erhs has become a rarer and rarer experience to have – especially if the tong is of the very traditional style. It’s almost like a sin to break open one of these. However, to keep Hou De running we sometimes have to do so ; )
Here is a complete tong of 2000 Kumming Tea Factory Lan Yin Iron Cakes. Rocky (our German shepherd mix) was curious to witness the whole criminal activity. I still feel upset every time to see the silverfish gang had trashed the wrappers – although it is not unexpected. But … Luckily, after I opened one cake with the worst wrapper condition, the cake inside, after dusting off with a soft brush, looked in good condition.
That’s a trade-off: leaving the cakes inside their original tong (especially the traditional bamboo sheath) usually results in better and more complex aging. However, they are also more vulnerable to the damage caused by the Silverfish gang.