The death of scruples a tale from Teatown
A short story of disappointment and woe for the industry. I won’t be mentioning exactly which teashop this was but let’s get straight into it.
In 2016 we stumbled across one of the many teashops in Fangcun. The vendor was an older gentleman and he started to lead us through some of his collection on offer. This seller had a vast variety of tea on offer but he was particularly proud of a certain Menghai Da Shu Ripe Pu Erh Cake. We tried it, it was a particularly good example for the price point. very very similar in nature to YS ‘Green Miracle’, a Cake we still have on offer in store as of today. This guy seems genuine enough and the words he left us with still rings in my ears today “ Life is too short, don’t waste your time with bad tea”. So the tea was good, the vendor was saying all the right things, a couple of years later we made a hasty return to explore more of his inventory.
The teashop is situated in a very central location of Teatown, the sort of place where lorry loads of tourists may well be dropped off. We entered the store and asked about the cake we had previously been supplied. The old vendor we dealt with before was not to be seen, in his place stood a much younger gentleman of around 40 years. He told me that they didn’t supply this cake any more and all previous batches have been sold out. Okay, not a massive problem let’s take a look else at what’s on offer shall we! The first cake to grace the tea table was a Lao Ban Zhang, right now I am immediately sceptical. No one into town would open up a cake of LBZ to a stranger from the street, it just doesn’t happen. Trust between the vendor and client hasn’t been proven and the vendor hasn’t had a chance to qualify the client to see whether he can even afford this kind of tea. Moving through the steps it is very evident that this is a very generic blended terrace from Banna or Mengku. There is absolutely nothing LBZ about this tea! Moving towards the price, it’s priced like a generic blended terrace from Banna or mengku! I have to raise these points with the vendor. He replies “No, this isn’t LBZ, but it’s okay you will sell lots of it!”. What actually happened here? What happened to the old owner and trust that had been instilled in me on my last visit? It’s gone, it’s all gone.
“I have some Bing Dao, would you like to try that?” 🤦♂️. It’s just a blatant lie, but I guess there is no shortage of ignorant tourists willing to part with a little bit of cash to say that they had been to Teatown and turned with some bargain Bing Dao Pu Erh tea cake ! It’s such a shame really but this is China this is what you can find!