Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 3rd, '12, 21:58

MarshalN wrote:
apache wrote:
You might have seen this, but if not, then you should, start it at 4:20:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAkLWkQRyAk


Indeed, ah cha should not be mixed up with gweilo. Is that girl even local?


From my experience, the working class (not just in HK) have preconceived notions of what an 'a cha' should look like--I get called 'gweilo' or 'sai yan' all the time too, among other things. :roll:

HK people can be very racist and rude, but once you're in the 'inner circle,' I swear people here are nicer than anywhere else!
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby MarshalN » Sep 3rd, '12, 22:05

I think they think of Sikhs with ah cha.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 3rd, '12, 22:10

MarshalN wrote:I think they think of Sikhs with ah cha.


Not Sikh, but I do get called 'a cha' fairly often. I think people just expect 'a cha' to be browner-skinned and less 'western.' Throw some Chinese tea in the mix and it just gets confusing :lol:
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby TwoDog2 » Sep 3rd, '12, 22:53

Nice post - sounds like you are on the righteous path to addiction
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 3rd, '12, 22:59

TwoDog2 wrote:Nice post - sounds like you are on the righteous path to addiction


Thanks--I'm a very obsessive guy, and I am currently completely smitten with Chinese tea culture!
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 4th, '12, 09:04

Down here, on the west side of Hong Kong Island, there are a couple of guys who are outside all day, sitting on a couple of chairs on the sidewalk. They're on a relatively busy street in a relatively old fashioned neighborhood that is known for being one of the places to go for wholesale tea. These gentlemen, however, have some cakes of pu erh, complete in their wrappers, aging right on the street. I have seen the wrappers on here and they're the most common kind (the ones that mention 'animal products'). It was pouring earlier, and I saw that they'd draped plastic sheets over their cakes of pu. They've been at it for quite a while--at least four or five years. I remember noticing they were selling cakes of tea and just barely recognizing them, and wondering who the heck would buy tea on the street like that, and thinking it was probably fake. Those wrappers really aren't very impressive!

Now, I don't know if I'd want to drink something that's been on street level in the pollution for all those years, but I do have to admire their dedication to sit out there, rain or shine, with the cakes proudly displayed on a cheap folding table.

If the rain got on the cakes I guess they can sell them as 'wet stored.' :D

I'll see if I can ask them about their cakes and take some pictures, although HK culture is very much, "if you're asking me something you'd better be buying from me, and if you don't like it when you get home, too bad. Don't come back," so I'm not hoping for much. :mrgreen: I just thought you guys would like the story.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby MarshalN » Sep 4th, '12, 10:15

I know who you're talking about. I'm pretty sure if they have nice teas, they've long been snapped up by other local collectors.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 4th, '12, 12:16

Yeah, you're probably right, but I'd think some people would be put off by the street-side aging, especially in Sai Wan. :shock: I don't think I'd buy any, even if I knew what I was doing and the price was right.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 7th, '12, 01:06

Noticed a tea shop in the neighborhood: don't think this is the one Marshal suggested to me for aged pu, but I decided to take a look anyway since it's very different from the other shops I've been to. No air conditioning and lots of cakes on display:

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The owner was in the back and I was looking at cakes. He had a pretty pronounced limp. I told him I wanted some bo lei, but just a little to try since I was trying different teas. I ended up picking up 150g of loose shu for around $9. No name or year. He had some Yixings too, which I checked out, and the difference in quality between mom and dad's tourist specials and his was staggering, but I will hold off on Yixing purchases until I get to Marshal's place. The prices are higher at this place and the one he attempted to push had a lid that dropped off when inverted, so I grinned and put it back. Still, the overall construction of his pots was much better than the ones gathering dust at home.

What surprised me was he had a wall of pictures of foreign tourists visiting him (I am going up on that wall, HK-born or not), which I didn't expect for such a simple store, but the area is developing quickly. A Best Western just opened up across the street. Sadly, these older, more traditional businesses may be forced to close in the near future.

While drinking some gaiwan-brewed bo lei, he told me that the owner of the steak restaurant next door, who is in his 80s, drinks the pu regularly. He says it's the reason the owner's in good health, even though he smokes like a chimney.

I tried a cheap 2010 sheng (only $5 for 200g) and a slightly older one. Very different from the sheng I have here. He told me the Chinese much prefer shu, but that sheng is good for us foreign people to help get our fat moving since we eat too much cheese and stuff. lol

All in all it was a pretty cool learning experience hanging out and drinking some bo lei. The bag he gave me had a hole in it, however, so I left a fine trail of shu all the way back to my home office. I was wondering how the heck I had tea on the floor when I had just hoovered last night!
Last edited by jayinhk on Sep 7th, '12, 01:41, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby MarshalN » Sep 7th, '12, 01:09

No no no, don't go to this shop, it's full of crap.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of free time and want to experiment and try everything there (and report back) be my guest :)
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 7th, '12, 01:18

MarshalN wrote:No no no, don't go to this shop, it's full of crap.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of free time and want to experiment and try everything there (and report back) be my guest :)


I did buy a bag of loose shu and try three different types of bo lei :) I knew what the game was when I checked out the Yixings. :lol: I have to get a lot of stuff done today, so I beat a retreat, but he said to come back when I was free and I could try some older stuff. We really are spoiled for choice here--there is tea everywhere!

The shu doesn't have that storage aroma of the sheng, but it also has less aromatics. I think I taste prune candy in this stuff (infusion #2). The kind of prune candy they give you after taking Chinese medicine to help soothe the bitterness.

Infusion #5 and I taste cocoa! I didn't think shu would have as much detectable flavor after trying my brother's little pu erh cakes the other night.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 8th, '12, 08:53

Had some surprisingly good shu at an upscale hot pot/sashimi/dim sum place in Times Square (a mall in HK) today. It had a sweet, fruity flavor, but wasn't actually sweet. Best restaurant bo I've had yet, but it was a pretty fancy joint.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby apache » Sep 8th, '12, 09:18

jayinhk wrote:Had some surprisingly good shu at an upscale hot pot/sashimi/dim sum place in Times Square (a mall in HK) today. It had a sweet, fruity flavor, but wasn't actually sweet. Best restaurant bo I've had yet, but it was a pretty fancy joint.


If you want the best tea for dim sum, this is the place in HK. Luk Yu. I think the food should be o.k. as well. The only problem with this place is the waiters are renowned very rude, as lacking customers is the last thing they would worry!

While I writing this, I saw a Youtube clip of rinsing tea leaves using gaiwans done by a prof http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0H8iEs6aNo&feature=related.
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby jayinhk » Sep 8th, '12, 09:52

apache, I've never actually been to Luk Yu, although many recommend it. Recently, though, I've been reading reviews where people say the food is not all that good. I'd definitely like to hear what Marshal thinks of the place!

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This is after infusions for four people through an entire meal: I think the pot was refilled four times.

Please excuse the cabbage on the table cloth!
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Re: Thoughts from a new Hong Kong bo lei drinker

Postby apache » Sep 8th, '12, 10:19

MarshalN wrote a blog about Luk Yu sometime ago:
http://marshaln.xanga.com/559565700/luk-yu-teahouse/
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