Statistics alone suggests that one will find at least one thing to get in Malian dao.
Lies, bigger lies and... .
However impressive that place is, and it is very! It is very possible that I would not have bought anything that day (due mainly to the silly shopping strategy I used), but I got lucky.
Upon entering one of the very last shops that day in Malian dao, I decided upon "quality versus quantity" strategy. In that context it meant to sit down and have a proper discussion with the owners.
This is one way to get something a bit more special since the good stuff is usually at the back. It also helped that I met someone from South Korea who also speaks English and is a friend of the owners.
As a result I got to see some of their more spacial stuff. This also included a 1.5Kg brick cooked Puerh.
Here is the address of the shop. As the brick did not have a wrapping (and wrappings like everything in China can be faked, so it does not mean anything).
If you decide to taste it, and I recommend (its nothing outstanding, but its pretty good and cheap - if you can negotiate well), ask for the "1.5Kg cooked Puerh brick from the 800 year old trees"
( I might start to write about what I drink actually, but I really can't write as good as others and the worst/best thing is that it will taste different for each person - mouth structure, nose, taste buds etc.. - and depending on the quality of the tea -good teas are more consistent according to my experience- in addition, it will taste different every time because of the equipment used, water, temperature in/out side, mood, people, skills etc not to mention that I prefer reading about other's experiences of tea drinking then write my own. A very good writer can be found on TeaLogic, it is almost poetry - see links).
Back to the brick, if you find it hard to believe that the trees are that old, it is because they are not. Having said it, the brick is made of wild trees for sure! As for the age, lets just say that at least 700 years will pass until your grand, grand, grand, grand, grand children will celebrate the tree's 800th birthday and that's assuming we fight global warming and avoid a nuclear Holocaust... .
The stories when buying a cake are always beautiful. "This cake saved my grand father...", "Mao Zedong himself used to pick up leafs from this tree...". O.K, I made these up, but having had people look me in the eyes and tell stories not less stranger with straight face, I only trust my experience (shame I don't have any! and some real independent experts-lucky I have a few) and not what they want me to believe, or worse, what I want to believe.
This may sound obvious, but until I got tricked with a big sum of money I never internalised it.
Stephane (TeaMasters, see links) put it beautifully to me on the phone upon telling him some stories I came across, "Don't buy the story, buy the cake!".
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