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Topic: 50s-60s mystery cake ID

I'm going to ping some people about this off-forum, but thought I'd post it here in case someone has something to contribute.

A co-worker of mine, after reading the LA Times article, asked me about some pu'er cakes (not an intact stack, but about 5-6 of them) that have been in her in-laws family for quite some time. They purchased them in the 1960s in Vancouver, and the cakes were apparently somewhat aged already at that time.  The original wrapper was removed, and replaced by a card from a HK tea business called 鸿昌泰. This was common back then when exporting tea -- I have some tea from the 60s which has the same kind of card from a different exporter. The tea has been stored in North America since then, and I believe has been in cellophane or plastic packaging since that time. You can see a bit of staining on the neifei, but I would assume the storage of this tea has been pretty dry since it arrived in N. America.

The card from 鸿昌泰 appears to just have a company name, address, and phone number, so I don't think we can determine much about the tea itself from the card.

Based on the following pictures, what can we exclude / include? I am assuming that since the neifei says 'Menghai Tea Factory' and features the zhongcha logo, we can assume that
1. The tea is from after 1953, and also, must be from before whatever date it was purchased. So conservatively, the tea was probably produced between 1955 and 1970.
2. While I don't have a picture of the back side yet, based on the leaf size and compression style, it does not appear to be a discus cake.

[edited out some inaccurate details about hongyin / lanyin neifei - wby] Most of the hongyin and lanyin (whether discus or not) I can find pictures of (see below, and notes in second comment) seems to have a square-shaped neifei without text. If memory serves, there were also some less "distinguished" teas produced during this time period as well?
http://www.ynchaye.com/whch/puerjs/200701/1440.html

I will try to taste the tea, and to take some better photos, when I'm able.

[click for larger image]
http://soulrebels.com/teadrunk/mystery_aged_puer_1_SM.jpg
http://soulrebels.com/teadrunk/mystery_aged_puer_2_SM.jpg

I didn't find much about that company online - but I think this may be the same firm:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6730429e0100i83c.html


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Re: 50s-60s mystery cake ID

Other things to note about the neifei:

1. traditional character version of 廠 is used on the neifei
2. Standard (not wide base) 出

According to Chan Kam Pong's A Glossary of Chinese Puerh Tea (pp 99-106), the text at the bottom of the neifei with the factory name didn't come until the 70s, the traditional 廠 character rather than 厂 persisted until the late 90s, and the regular (non "wide base") 出 mostly started around the mid 80s. Would appreciate it if anyone with access to the Chinese language books by other authors (like the Deng Shihai one) can confirm.

His book shows that hong yin can have a neifei, however, they are the square, plain "ba-zhong" logo, as is the neifei for lanyin and ba-zhong huangyin.

The book's examples of later huangyin all have the wide base 出.

Re: 50s-60s mystery cake ID

A friend tells me offline that the hong chang tai label should predate 1989.

So, the most reasonable guess, based on the books and the folks I've talked to so far, seems to be mid-to-late 80s. However, my friend doesn't think her in-laws even went to Vancouver in the 80s. Yes, I am working on getting better pictures, samples of the tea, measurements of the neifei, and photos of the wet leaf / brewed tea, and that should help make some more informed guesses.

Re: 50s-60s mystery cake ID

I recently went through the same ordeal spending hrs going over ever Cloud's books and every internet article I could find to try and verify an 80's 7542. I wish I had a copy of "profound world of chi tse" that looks a little more compehensive but is also really expensive.  Have you seen this book?


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Re: 50s-60s mystery cake ID

gn? wrote:

I recently went through the same ordeal spending hrs going over ever Cloud's books and every internet article I could find to try and verify an 80's 7542. I wish I had a copy of "profound world of chi tse" that looks a little more compehensive but is also really expensive.  Have you seen this book?

I've met the author, and may have had a chance to see it in person once, but haven't really sat down with it. I can't read Chinese well, but would like to have a copy for reference / pictures if I get a chance to buy it for a reasonable price.