Like many Houstonians, the winter storm had caused power and water outages to my family for a couple of days. Things are looking better now – I will keep my finger crossed, as so many are still suffering and another freezing night is forecasted to come. Once everything is back to normal, we will process your orders and reply to your emails asap.
We decided to maximize our social distance by driving 8 hours away from Houston to the Caprock Canyon State Park in Texas to celebrate Christmas in a remote style. Big open space and big open sky!
Your support to the re-started Hou De has been strong! Thanks to all of you. With the coming of 2021, we already planned the introduction of several Heavy-weight 20-year vintages pu-erhs and some very aged oolongs. So check back Hou De soon, stay safe, and wish for a much better 2021!
After I posted the Mother Tree’s Tea on Hou De, I did a bit more research on the tea producer – full name is Shuang Jiang Meng Ku Rong Xi Tea Co. “Shuang Jiang Meng Ku” is the location of the tea company, “Rong Xi” is the last name of the owner’s family. I have always liked their offerings – and honestly think the CP-value of their teas is (should probably say “was”) very good.
The predecessor of Mengku Rong’s Tea Factory was the Mengku Tea Preparation Factory, which was founded in 1993. In 1999, the factory acquired the state-owned enterprise “Shuangjiang County Tea Factory”, which was auctioned and auctioned. The company has developed into a fixed asset of 30 million yuan and annual production An exquisite tea processing enterprise with an output of 700-900 tons, a delivery room of 20,000 square meters, and an area of 63 acres. It has registered three major brand trademarks: “Mengku”, “Qinggang” and “Mannbo”. The main tea area is Mengku Big Snow Mountain and Banpo Bing Dao Mountain.
I don’t know about you … but I notice the last sentence: “the main tea area is MengKu Big Snow Mountain and Banpo Bing Dao Mountain”! Before Bing Dao became very famous, Big Snow Mountain already gained popularity. Xi-Zhi Hao’s 2007 Dian Gu used raw tea leaves from this region – and after Lao Ban Zhan, 2007 Dian Gu is my most favorite XZH pu-erh!
Guess that’s why I’ve always liked Meng Ku offerings. Premium quality, premium CP-value. I know the Mother Tree’s Tea has become kind of expensive – and unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to buy more in 2006. Other Meng Ku’s offerings are still more reasonable than big names like Meng Hai Tea Co, or Xia Guan Tea Co.
As I was posting the 2005 Meng Ku 1st-generation Mother Tree’s Tea, Youtube somehow picked up my interest and randomly suggested some videos. Now this is an interesting one from a Taiwan tea merchant Mr. Chang who travelled to Bing Dao:
@ 3:01 of the video, they showed the pale green liquor of the tea .. OMG, I can feel my stomach hurt just by looking at such pale green pu-erh liquor:
How much did it cost to brew one pot of Bing Dao tea? US$ 85 @ 3:47:
I remember when I was still buying pu-erhs before 2012, the liquor from a new pu-erh was never this light pale green. I had noticed, however, the liquor and taste had gradually become more green-tea like – one of the reasons I lost interest in buying any pu-erhs since then.
This white tea-like Bing Dao pu-erh is simply … eye-opeing.
Yesterday when I was digging through a box simply labeled as “Puerh Black Tea Samples”. It’s a box full of tea samples, either we received from tea producers like XZH or Chen Guang He Tang, or Hou De sample packs that were not sold. Most samples are pre-2012 – that was about the time when we stopped buying any pu-erhs at all.
I found one sample pack that still has our previous house & Hou De Asian Art address on it – and it is a 2005 XZH Lao Ban Zhan sample pack, still sealed! Since we no longer live in that house, I masked the house address. If you still have sample packs with this old address (zip code 77077), then you are really a long-time customer of Hou De : ) We rented a PO Box later (I think around 2006) to represent Hou De.
Imagine a time when we were offering samples of XZH (1) Lao Ban Zhan (2) You Le Remote Mountain and (3) Nan Nuo Purple Tips …
The XZH Lao Ban Zhan sample has been sealed since 2005. After I cut away the heat-sealed line and opened the zip, a very concentrated ripe fruity aroma rushed to my nose. Of course, I could not wait to make a tea out of it. It was surprisingly young – I guess due to the fact it has not had fresh air and always kept indoor – but very concentrated in fruity aroma and camphor-like spiciness. What was most interesting was the whole body sensation out of the tea – normally I don’t like to describe cha qi, as it is a very personal feeling and can be misleading. But there was a sensation “climbing” all the way from stomach to my head and left a tingling feeling in the scalp! So very strange and interesting.
Last Friday evening, everything was still good and calm …. Saturday, you started to feel the trembling in the air …. and on Sunday evening, we received almost like an organized attack … all available 2006 Spring Xi-Zhi Hao Taichi Yin cakes were gone! And this was after I had to persude at least two customers not to buy too many – or buy up all – of the Yin cakes. Sweat .. sweat … sweat …
So here I want to share with you the painful task to break open an intact Taichi Yin cake Tong … step by step …
There were two nei fei in between the first and the second cake:
For those of you swooping up the Yin cakes … here is another good news: its price in Asia is like > US$900 a piece, Yin or Yan cake:
27,000 Taiwan Dollar is about US$ 940 in today’s exchange rate. Before shipping.
Want to share with you several common books that I frequently use to identify and cross-checking the vintage and producer of each puerh tea with our own purchase or storage records. Top row from left to right:
Xi-Zhi Hao Yearbook 2005 to 2010, San Ho Tang
A Complete Collection Guide of Meng Hai Factory 1994 – 2007, WuShing Publication
New Born Pu-erh Tea Yearbook 1998 ~ 2003, WuShing Publication
New Born Pu-erh Yearbook 2004, WuShing Publication
Profound World of Chi Tse 1950 ~ 2004, Mr. Chen Jr-Tung, WuShing Publication
We used to carry yearbooks and magazines from WuShing Publication on Hou De, but eventually the shipping cost from Taiwan and to our customers getting too high. It’s quite sad, as the pu-erh information available in US, really anywhere outside SE Asia and China, is seriously anemic.
Found a photo album that was sent from the owner of Yang-Ching Hao 楊慶號， Mr. Yang Shi-Nan, of his 2005 harvesting trip in Yi-Wu region of Yunnan. Mr. Yang had started traveled to Yunnan to monitor and purchase the raw leaves to make his Yang-Ching Hao cakes since 2004. In 2005, the year my first daughter Yuan Yuan was born, I started to search for premium pu-erh teas to buy and save as Yuan’s “birthday tea”, or you can say as Nu Er Cha 女兒茶. That was when I got into know Yang-Ching Hao and Xi-Zhi Hao – and ended loving both to offer on Hou De and save some as Yuan’s Birthday Tea!
We put together a photo album and a series of 5 documentary videos to celebrate our beloved XZH cakes – although they are getting too successful and pricey ^__^ Hope from these records you can also appreciate the time and sweat that were putting in to produce XZH quality.