25 March, 2013

2005 Fake Zhongcha

Sometimes it's OK to fake a cake.  Or, rather, sometimes the fakes turn out to be OK.

We need to keep an open mind.


2005 Zhongcha Fake


This is a highly inexpensive cake, sold by Captain Ahab.  It costs around fifteen American dollars, which ain't, as I believe it is said, no thang [sic].


2005 Zhongcha Fake


We must rapidly leave behind the notion that this is a Menghai Factory production, and consider merely as some sort of pu'ercha, wrapped in a Menghai wrapper.  The leaves, pictured above, are medium-sized affairs.
 
Whoever they are, the producers certainly managed to replicate / purchase the neipiao:


2005 Zhongcha Fake


The neifei, pictured below, is even embedded within the cake, and looks like an actual Menghai piece.


2005 Zhongcha Fake


However, brushing all that nonsense aside, we are left with that eternal battle: man vs. leaf.


2005 Zhongcha Fake


I am immediately impressed by a robust huigan and its slightly cooling finish.  "Chunky, powerful, and quite decent", I wrote in my journal.  I must have liked it, too, because I have a cake or two in my collection.
 
Its solid sweetness is very 'Banna, and I enjoy it.  The strong, clean, orange soup lasts well throughout the infusions, and shows no signs of dodginess or slyness in production.  Rather, this is a basic, powerful, and thoroughly enjoyable cake that has been dressed up to look like Menghai.


2005 Zhongcha Fake


If you like raw, rampant bargains, then this cake will immediately appeal to you.  I am very happy to discovered this little gem, which is to say, I am very glad that PM of white2tea discovered this little gem and decided to stock it.
 
The aging profile is fine, and I can see this getting even slightly better in coming years, due to its chunky, uncompromising centre that carries it well.  Fake or no, for the equivalent of £10, I am laughing all the way to the pu'ercha shelves.

For the truly curious, updates have been made to 2009 Yunzhiyuan "Guafengzhai", which is aging very nicely.

13 comments:

Branislav Boda said...

I agree with you that fake cakes don´t need to be so bad, if their price is ok. But I think sometimes you could buy the same tea for so much cheaper, if it is sold with original label and not the fake famous one.

BR said...

I think that there is nothing wrong with fakes, as long as they are not a health risk. Calling it fake just means that you are going in with preconceived notions about the label, type of tea or whatever. I like to think I approach each tea on its own merits, so that there is no such thing as a fake as long as you are happy with the tea.

Hobbes said...

Dear Branislav,

The difficulty is finding those original cakes - in this case, PM of white2tea found them in Maliandao (I think?) and therefore a number has become available. Without preselection of this kind, it's down to buying cakes from Taobaowang - and in the very low price range of this cake, you're certainly going to be in for a fun time!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Hobbes said...

Dear BR,

The health risk can be acute in some cases! I have an example of this coming up, courtesy of Apache, which will amuse you. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Kate said...

You and I both know the rule sbout China = "fake until proven real"!

Glad it was tasty and not toxic!

Cheers,
Kate
http://sagacitea.blogspot.com

apache said...

Oh dear!!! It sounds like I almost poisoned my friend inadvertently, from now on Hobbes would have to pay a much higher life insurance premium ...

Seriously, I would like to know which one causes the damage, as far as I know, I only passed two fake teas to you and I tasted both of them myself if I know there would be problem, I wouldn't pass it to anyone, but again, I don't have problem with them doesn't mean they are ok with everyone. From now on I have to be very careful with fake ...

apache

Hobbes said...

Dear Kate,

I tend to give puer farmers the benefit of the doubt, but maybe I'm too kind. :)

One thing that China does really well: men's tailoring. You can't fake a decent suit, and my favourite Chinese tailors (in my wife's small home town) produce very solid three-piece suits at a hugely reasonable price, constructed from scratch according to your measurements.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Hobbes said...

Dear Apache,

Fear not! It's a cake we've both tried and failed to enjoy although it cost one of us a very painful £100. Notes coming soon - you know the one to which I refer :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

apache said...

That was a really expensive tuition. :(

apache

Twodog said...

Ahab here,

Just to clarify for some of the folks commenting, cakes like this are not "fake" in the sense of being poorly or dangerously made. In most cases, they are a smaller factory producing a tea and wrapping them in a wrapper that is inaccurate. For example, I made a raw puer cake at my Ahab Tea Factory, which is quite small and unknown. But, I want to get a higher price for it, so I put on a label that says Menghai Factory, or call it a commissioned cake, and sell it for a potentially higher profit.

When the cakes are made well, like this one, they sell out fairly quickly. Unfortunately for this cake, I am sold out and my source is sold out as well. I still have a few samples though - drop me a note if you would like to try it.

I love finding cakes like this.

-Twodog

Branislav Boda said...

Hmmm I thought about that.. As long as you are only a tea drinker, it doesn´t really matter, if the tea is good. And for the investors? Well.. I think "fakes" might be balancing the market :-D it could force investors to look after something different and less known, where there is small probability it could be faked. Demonopolising the market can lower the prices(which won't probably happen due to increasing demand) and raise the quality.

Hobbes said...

I bet that the wrappers for "Ahab Tea Factory" look unique. Man-versus-cetus battles. Severed limbs.

That'd sell.

Charles T. Draper said...

My order from them should be coming soon. I liked their philosophy of "No Bullshit".