For many this famous historic Taiwanese tea shop and puerh vendor needs no introduction. I certainly am not the best person to offer an introduction anyways. I have never been to Taiwan and have never even tried puerh from this famous vendor. Although, I remember reading about it from the very earliest of tea blog posts as they started to come out.
Enter Vu (Tea Apprentice)...
I remember being amused by his binge buying style of simply caking all of the “most popular” or at least most recommended semiaged puerh cakes from Western vendors or Taiwanese vendors with a English sites over a short period of time. A few of his cakes were some of the higher recommended Wistaria cakes. No doubt he must have gotten some of these recommendations from James’s recent posts on Wistaria puerh. If you look back further James of TeaDB even has a really concise drinking report on all of the puerh Wistaria sells. James has been to this tea house in person so reading and watching his introduction and posts will give you a much better intro than I can offer.
Anyways, Vu offered to send me a bunch of Wistaria samples because he was curious how they compared to other older school examples of puerh which I have some familiarity with. It’s kind of interesting because Wistaria kind of deliberately formulated some of their puerh cakes to emulate famous antique or other old puerh styles. You can find this in the descriptions of their puerh cakes on their English page and James discusses a bit of this on his recent inbetweenisodes. A lot of the real famous antique puerh that these Wistaria cakes are trying to emulate I have never tried before, such as the Red Mark, etc. I learned much of what I know and drank through many old puerh cakes of Menghai Tea Factory, CNNP, and probably many more fakes that were mainly 90s, sometimes 80s, and rarely 70s. These were the puerh cakes that made it to Korea 15 years ago and this is what I know best of the old puerh style. The cream of the crop (such as the famous Red Mark) was sampled rarely as Korea was not an ideal place to find that stuff which probably mainly never left Taiwan at that time. So I hope to do my best to compare to these styles.
I first admitted to not trying Wistaria puerh in this comment here when Marco of Late Steeps compared the dry Taiwanese storage of the 2004 Nanqiao Chawang to the 2003 Wistaria Qingteng. I admitted never quite tasting the pondy dry Taiwanese storage before. I also hope to draw other comparisons to some other similarly aged and stored productions as I sample through the Wistaria samples. This might make more sense as the classic famous old puerh cakes that Wistaria was trying to emulate were all wet stored in Hongkong (which was the only type of storage at the time) so really they are going to taste really different than these dry stored Wistaria puerh.
Interestingly, Shah8 informed me that Wistaria might have two types of storage. The commonly talked about dry Taiwanese storage as well as a mustier more humid storage. I wonder which storage samples I was sent?
This should be interesting and fun... please join me for the ride...