On June 16, 2007, The 5th International Appreciation of Aged Puerh Masterpieces event kicked off in Pasadena, California (1st in the USA). It was held at the Pacific Asia Museum’s Qing-dynasty style courtyard on a beautiful and sunny Southern Californian day. This event was sponsored by Wu Shing Publishing Co., the publisher of The Art of Tea magazine, and by Houde Fine Tea.

The guest of honor in attendance was Mr. Chen Zhi-Tong, who is considered to be the foremost authority on the subject of pu’er tea and the author of an important compendium titled “The Profound World of Chi-Tse” (soon to be available in English from Wu Shing Publishing Co.). Mr. Chen gave a relevant speech on the history and the significance of pu’er in the world of tea. He also explained to us the background and the history of each tea that we were enjoying that day.

More than 50 people attended, and they were from different backgrounds, ethnicities and age groups. All have one common passion, however: fine tea.

We were treated to 5 treasured teas from as recent as the 2006 vintage and going back as far as the 1950’s. All were great in themselves and each represents the best of the decade in which it was produced. The 1950’s Hong Yin (Red Label), for example, is an extremely rare specimen which existence today is estimated at about 200 to 300 beengs (discs) only worldwide and costing about $11,000 per 350gr disc. That is if someone was willing to part way with it for such a decent sum.

[Mr. Chen Zhi-Tong, second from the right]

5 long tasting tables were set up in the mid-courtyard of the Museum and each table was hosted by one main brewer. I was honored to have been asked to take charge of one of the tables and served teas to the company of Mr. Christopher Taggart, a contemporary sculptor, Ms. Beatrice Hohenegger, the author of Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West, and other friendly people. Camaraderie and friendship formed effortlessly, as is wont at tea gatherings.

All in all, it was a marvelous day for drinking great teas with new friends on a perfect day in a beautiful setting. Detailed account about the event can be found at the Adventures in Tea & Wine.