streetspirit wrote:It seems to me Puerh price varies more than any other type of tea. I've seen prices of cakes for <$5 and more than $10000 in the other end.
Im curious... for experienced puerh drinkers who have tasted expensive/old puerh just how much of a taste difference is there?
I'm assuming that buying really old puerh is just like buying stereos where the difference in quality is small yet prices continue to skyrocket, but since I haven't tasted old/expensive puerh I wouldn't know.
Is there a particular magic age in which young pu-erh loses most of its bitter quality? Is there an age for puerh where further aging is not going to improve the flavor and maybe even hurt it?
Price for pu-erh fluctuate as a consequence grade, quality, rarity,age and market trends. All of the factors will determine what a collector will pay for a praticular example.
According to most experts, Pu-erh will reach its full potential anywhere between its 20th and 40th year. At this age, the pu-erh as supposedly transformed itself into a nice mellow brew with many different layers and complexities. Of course the process is quite arbitrary with no definative definition where the "magic" lies with in the collector and drinker.
I would not put too much stock in price in terms of its quality. Currently, prices for pu-erh are out of control and if you are not a well versed collector, you can get "poked" badly. Your question is quite common for pu-erh beginners.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Pu-erh at times can be bitter when its young and can carry its bitterness into its maturity.
2. Just because its aged, does not mean that it is good. Although age can help pu-erh mellow, if it is made of poor quality materials, it will ultimately result in a poor tasting brew.
3. Young vs. Age - Some prefer to drink the pu-erh young, and some want to drink it aged. It is your personal decision. In fact, like them both for different reasons. They are really two very different animals.
4. Study and taste as many examples as possible to further your knowledge and to train your palate.
I hope this helps!