2012 Silver Dayi
I was asked by a friend to evaluate the 2012 Silver Dayi sold at Generation Tea as a possible fake. The vendor does not have a good reputation, but from the photos he sent me, the tea did not look like any of the fakes I’ve seen for this cake. There is a basic list of things to check and from these photos, everything checked out:
Apparently my friend was told, by someone who fancies himself as a wrapperologist, that the tea was in fact fake, based on a misplaced speck of white on the front of the wrapper. I am not a true wrapperologist, and I might not always be able to identify fakes, but I can definitely spot a fake wrapperologist — in this case, one who has already made several incorrect claims of fakery. The problem is that no two wrappers are exactly alike, and you have to have a sense of how much variation there is in the wrappers for a specific tea before you can identify a feature as indicative of a fake. I thought it would be fun to taste this tea and see if it has the usual Dayi profile, and my friend obliged, sending me two sessions’ worth, which I’ll review below.
The dry leaf looks quite good, small leaf grade similar to a 7542, with the right smell for a young Dayi. Seems particularly young however. The wash was very light indeed, and I think this indicates that the cake has seen very dry storage. The wet leaf is quite green for a 2012 tea, which is consistent with a very dry storage condition.
The initial steeps are very mild in taste, not flavour-forward but decently thick, with a slight roastiness very similar to some 2012 7542 I have tried. The similarity in taste indicates this is likely real. After two steeps I get a significant uplifting wave and some nice resinous incense in the empty cup. By steep 5 this is showing medium-high level of astringency, it has a complex bittersweetness and has no real flaws except storage that is too dry. I recommend he keeps it at 65% RH and 32C for a few years, it will hopefully catch up to the Taiwan versions. The wholesale price of the 2012 Silver Dayi is now around 300 USD, and so one might consider the 170 USD price at Generation Tea a “steal”. The problem with this is that much better tea can be had for lower prices — this tea is a speculation vehicle for investors, and is really nothing particularly special. I actually prefer the 7542s from 2010-2012 over this tea. In short, even at 170USD I think this tea isn’t worth it. To conclude, I strongly believe this tea is real, based on the photos and the tasting. One can never be 100% sure, but that is my best guess based on the given info. 5.2