Official Pu of the day


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Tead Off » May 5th, '14, 02:34

TwoDog2 wrote:
kyarazen wrote:
chin wrote:Are you kidding? US$2000 for a 300gm piece? any article?


no kidding.. 2002 yiwu from the same maker is 13,000 rmb per 300g brick now, wholesale price from the source.


Though the prices seem shocking to some people, when the prices for new old arbor cakes come out it will be apparent why a cake that is well produced and stored with almost 15 years of age costs $2,000.

A 2014 high quality Yiwu cake can cost easily over $1,000 retail. Some people were telling stories this Spring of paying almost $2,000 per kg at the wholesale (from the farmer) level.

A 357g tea cake is between 40-50 sessions worth of tea. Any tea at the price can easily brew for 15 steeps. So, at $2000, you are paying roughly $50 per session. That is obviously an unacceptable price for some people, but for a special tea I think it is worth it. I've paid $50 for a bottle of wine, which provides more or less the same amount of drinking time and enjoyment.

How many 15 year old "great" wines cost $50 per bottle retail?

How great is great? There may be many great wines for $200-500. But, it seems the 'great cakes of puerh' are far beyond this.

Personally, I would never compare tea to wine. Just because puerh and wine are ideally aged, they differ radically. It seems the justification of the 'new' tea prices are brought about by the newly rich and face-seeking Chinese. At the same time, the prices are not being achieved for other famous tea because of the gov't anti-corruption crackdown which has left the fatcats unable to dip into gov't funds to supply gifts to the cronies any longer.

Wine and food have long gone together in western culture. Wine has always been a great part of meals at many levels. Could I substitute one for the other? I don't think I have ever been at an Asian table where tea was drunk in the same manner as wine is. There may be some rare exceptions, but as a lover of both, I just can't equate them. It's just the way I see it.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Teaism » May 5th, '14, 02:53

Teadoff, thanks for sharing your views. :D

I think we are all right at different ways. Whatever suits our quest with whatever we are willing pay for it for whatever happiness it brings us, we are all right in our own way. I enjoy both wine and tea, and have longer experience and better knowledge in wine. Both gave me the same happiness in different way and they are just for enjoyment for the sake of enjoyment, nothing else.

Have a great day my friend!
Cheers! :D
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby TwoDog2 » May 5th, '14, 02:59

Tead Off wrote:How great is great? There may be many great wines for $200-500. But, it seems the 'great cakes of puerh' are far beyond this.

Personally, I would never compare tea to wine. Just because puerh and wine are ideally aged, they differ radically. It seems the justification of the 'new' tea prices are brought about by the newly rich and face-seeking Chinese. At the same time, the prices are not being achieved for other famous tea because of the gov't anti-corruption crackdown which has left the fatcats unable to dip into gov't funds to supply gifts to the cronies any longer.

Wine and food have long gone together in western culture. Wine has always been a great part of meals at many levels. Could I substitute one for the other? I don't think I have ever been at an Asian table where tea was drunk in the same manner as wine is. There may be some rare exceptions, but as a lover of both, I just can't equate them. It's just the way I see it.


I agree wine and tea are very different things. I was merely pointing out that a lot of people are willing to spend $20 on a bottle of wine but think that $100 for puer tea is excessive. Maybe the Starbucks/Tea comparison is more apt.

I think there are a lot of great puer cakes for $200-$500. It depends on personal definition of great. My definition of great new old arbor tea can be had for that price.

As for your characterization of the market, I agree there are a lot face seekers and newly rich out there. However, there is also a genuine demand from many puer drinkers for excellent tea. Despite seeing SUV after SUV of rich tourists flood into Laobanzhang this Spring, those people don't leave with the real stuff anyway. There is still more demand for the actual LBZ high quality teas from "real" tea lovers in Taiwan, Korea, HK, China, and elsewhere than the supply can meet.

I am not trying to justify the price, I wish it were lower too. But, the tea keeps getting purchased. A few years ago when the price was at a few hundred dollars a kilogram, everyone said it was crazy, but it all got bought. Now at more than a thousand, there are still plenty of people coming to buy the tea.

Anecdotal evidence, but this Spring I encountered several people who flew to Xishuangbana with the sole intention of purchasing Laobanzhang to divide up amongst their rich tea circles. Some from Henan. Some from Dongbei. Some from Guangdong. They aren't looking for face, they just want to drink LBZ. And $1000+ per kilogram is clearly within the price range some people can accept.

But, I think we on teachat are all in the same boat. We all wish the price would drop down to a more affordable level.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby shah82 » May 5th, '14, 03:43

British people most certainly have drunk tea in a way like others have drunk wine.

Also, tea was from the start a nootropic drug associated with chinese buddhism and the need for meditative assistance. Sorta like that one offshoot of Sikhism that used marijuana for the same thing. So tea was always more consumed in a manner consistent with coffee rather than wine.


As for distinctions--pretty much everything meant to delight the senses can be paired with one another, and engaged, intelligent people always will try out new pairings. Think TIM and his tea/cigar pairings! Such experiences costs what they must...

As for me, all this talk is reminding me of when I first started sampling puerh tea, and tried LBZ, which was $145 a cake then. I was like, "this is just as good as any high priced oolong(yancha, which was ridiculously expensive even back then)!" So I really liked puerh as a cheap way to get very high quality tea. Thirty-six cents per gram was a great deal when there were a ton of chinese hongcha found at Upton Tea that was the same ratio! Most credible yancha then was about $20/50g, so forty cents a gram.

Move onto today...Chinese hongcha, things like jinjunmei notwithstanding, has stagnated in prices, Darjeelings have gone up a steady pace, and can hit seventy-eighty cents a gram on the sites normal people use. LBZ? My cakes don't even really have a value. They aren't circulating much, and isn't a widely known brand in Mainland China (those that are not cosmopolitan) so there isn't much frenzy for it. But a proper gushu LBZ from this year, retail-wise, is about five whole dollars a gram. That's more than "pretty good" yancha. That's more than blow-your-mind darjeelings and other black teas. This is not, in any way, shape, or form, a sustainable premise. Sooner or later, some other tea or light drug gets hot, and the idiots with burning pocketholes will chase that, leaving much LBZ to deflate. The good stuff? Never seen again, by normal people. All my LBZ tea experiences post 2008 were very inferior to those from before. Meanwhile, much like what we do with seafood--we fish out the good Yiwu, then move on and market LBZ and Jingmai, then move north to "DXS", then specify Bingdao, and now Xigui. When Xigui turns pedestrian, I'm sure Yunxian county teas and Wuliang (or something) will get promoted.

Buy good tea, not what marketers wants you to buy. That 8582 I drank the other day? It had some flavor, but it also genuinely had an aftertaste! Might be tinny and plantation-y, but it does some of the important stuff that many "gushu" doesn't do, when it *really* should, since the point is that the leaf should be thick, minerally, and nutritious--more than plantation leaf. Not that I love the tea, too green and abrasive. When you look at these high prices, please understand, you must ask for very high quality, otherwise, some years down the road, you'll have unsellable tea that is just very unimpressive to your own palate as well, and regret the money spent on the tea. Why do that when you can buy very nice sencha? shu? darjeelings? You can buy fine cheeses, you can buy special varieties of fruit, like Esopus Spitzenburg apples, El Bumpo Cherimoyas, Mangosteens, top Durians, Sweet Tart Mangos, or you could buy other drugs like good kava. Or you could buy beer.

I do think puerh's superior qualities as a recreational/meditative caffeine delivery vehicle has allowed it rise to endure faster and longer than other tea genres like jinjunmei.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Tead Off » May 5th, '14, 04:10

I have no problem with any kind of interpretation of tea drinking with other food or recreational items. That's what people do, experiment, seeking new experiences and ideas. Fine

Now, jump to economics and inflation. Is there any reason other than a rich group driving the price up for an item? Inflation, in general, is to be expected when other elements of an economy are present. But the artificial rise in price of a product like puerh is not consistent with historical data and not based on the way people would normally use these products. The element of 'investment' has invaded the psychology of many puerh buyers similar to the Chinese involvement in Bordeaux wine. They horde and store and treat these items strictly as capital. When enough people have the money to invest in an item, they can alter the market totally. This is a different kind of inflation not based on any cost analysis difference in the growing, processing, distribution, and shipment of product. It's completely based on greed and associated sentiments. This kind of mentality is dangerous and I don't want to launch into a deeper analysis of why. It is related to the richest 100 people in the world owning 50% of global assets. This is a sort of dark side of capitalism.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby TwoDog2 » May 5th, '14, 04:24

Tead Off wrote:Now, jump to economics and inflation. Is there any reason other than a rich group driving the price up for an item? Inflation, in general, is to be expected when other elements of an economy are present. But the artificial rise in price of a product like puerh is not consistent with historical data and not based on the way people would normally use these products. The element of 'investment' has invaded the psychology of many puerh buyers similar to the Chinese involvement in Bordeaux wine. They horde and store and treat these items strictly as capital. When enough people have the money to invest in an item, they can alter the market totally. This is a different kind of inflation not based on any cost analysis difference in the growing, processing, distribution, and shipment of product. It's completely based on greed and associated sentiments. This kind of mentality is dangerous and I don't want to launch into a deeper analysis of why. It is related to the richest 100 people in the world owning 50% of global assets. This is a sort of dark side of capitalism.


Oh, I totally agree! This is the inflation in prices caused by a handful of rich people. But, Asia has enough rich business men to fight over, let's say the Guafengzhai Spring production from Chawangshu (not a lot of tea, mind you) to make the price never say daylight again. It was $500+/kg this year. I doubt it will be lower than that price ever again. There are at least 100 crazy rich guys out there who would be willing to buy the entire Spring production at that price, many of them puer drinkers as well as being crazy. The village doesn't even have a paved road. The tea area is a 4 hour walk from the village, with a road that cars can not pass on. And the price is $500 per kilogram. And the entire Spring production was gone by mid-April.

My main point is that the really good teas are just going to get more expensive or become more and more unattainable.

On the flipside, I am very confident the price of mass produced factory tea will eventually plummet. Post 2005 Dayi is not the same thing as Spring LBZ/GFZ/Bingdao. People using Dayi as currency or capital are foolish, since it is produced in the ten of thousands of tons. There is no shortage of 8582 out there. People who are stockpiling high end gushu are not foolish. There is a genuine shortage of high end teas like Spring Chawangshu.

Then again, predicting bubbles is risky business.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby shah82 » May 5th, '14, 04:37

Well, mind you...

1) Labor costs has risen tremendously

2) Purchasing power of consumers has risen some as well

3) Post 2008 crisis, Chinese government had injected funds through infrastructure project to stave off slowing growth. Invariably that extra money went into inflating consumer goods like cars and maotai.

4) Aside from a few of the famous teas, specifically, DHP, LJ, JunShan Yinzhen, a few hongcha, much Chinese tea was just very, very cheap for a very long time. Good puerh was insanely cheap until literally only a decade ago, and it didn't really start to become expensive until the summer of 2009. There was always going to be a correction. The really good stuff starts getting pulled out of public marketplaces, and the lesser tea will deflate a bit. I doubt we'll see new cakes of sub $500 LBZ (and which has some of the actual reasons why we like LBZ) again, though. That was going to happen, 1%'ers or no, simply as China became more integrated with the world economy. The bigger issue is that the crash will be in the values of cakes acknowledged to not have that much LBZ in it. Or not good LBZ.

5) I liked puerh tea as an investment because it froze the cost of my consumption. I wish I spent at least another thousand or two to lock in all that really good tea at cheaper-than-they-ever-should-have-been prices. Buying large quantities of good tea is a very solid investment for future happiness.

6) I think high prices is very likely to choke off hobbyist puerh-ism, because it prevents new people from sampling many of the teas that evoke genuine wonder. And puerh will get new crowds with slightly different means of appreciating it, appropriate for their pocketbooks.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Teaism » May 5th, '14, 04:54

I totally agree that the prices for high quality Puer has gone insane. It is really way too high and not worth it. I have already stop buying because the quality is went down and the prices went up. The lower grade production is not my cup of tea so I am just make do with what I have. It is a sad scenario especially for true hobbyist. Some younger generation tea drinkers are full of passion but put off by the prices. We always think all the crazy speculation is limited to the stockmarket and like investment but sadly it is now in our backyard. It is the sign of inevitablity and we have to move on with what we have or seek new avenue for enjoyment....and pray for another collapse of the Puer market. Many people I spoke believe it will happen soon.

Cheers! :D
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby chrl42 » May 5th, '14, 05:04

Teaism wrote:I totally agree that the prices for high quality Puer has gone insane. It is really way too high and not worth it. I have already stop buying because the quality is went down and the prices went up. The lower grade production is not my cup of tea so I am just make do with what I have. It is a sad scenario especially for true hobbyist. Some younger generation tea drinkers are full of passion but put off by the prices. We always think all the crazy speculation is limited to the stockmarket and like investment but sadly it is now in our backyard. It is the sign of inevitablity and we have to move on with what we have or seek new avenue for enjoyment....and pray for another collapse of the Puer market. Many people I spoke believe it will happen soon.

Cheers! :D

I drink Assam and Japanese green these days, real good.

Something that everybody do, never really interested me :?
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Teaism » May 5th, '14, 05:24

chrl42 wrote:
Teaism wrote:I totally agree that the prices for high quality Puer has gone insane. It is really way too high and not worth it. I have already stop buying because the quality is went down and the prices went up. The lower grade production is not my cup of tea so I am just make do with what I have. It is a sad scenario especially for true hobbyist. Some younger generation tea drinkers are full of passion but put off by the prices. We always think all the crazy speculation is limited to the stockmarket and like investment but sadly it is now in our backyard. It is the sign of inevitablity and we have to move on with what we have or seek new avenue for enjoyment....and pray for another collapse of the Puer market. Many people I spoke believe it will happen soon.

Cheers! :D

I drink Assam and Japanese green these days, real good.

Something that everybody do, never really interested me :?


Wise to stay away from the crowd. :D

I was hot on Puer purchase after it collapsed in 2007...great quality and at bargain price. So I drink those I got cheap last time. No more buying the crazy priced new tea.
I am focusing on some other tea (Darjie, whites, some overlooked Yancha, Sri Lankan :D ) which is not in the eye of speculator yet but I can feel them coming strongly now...better run again.

Tea drinking is not like wine drinking, I do agree with Teadoff.
Perhaps it is more like bull fighting now! Just joking. :lol:

Cheers! :D
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Tead Off » May 5th, '14, 05:27

shah82 wrote:Well, mind you...

1) Labor costs has risen tremendously

2) Purchasing power of consumers has risen some as well


Unfortunately, the labor costs have little to do with what we're talking about. The data doesn't justify these two statements of yours. It is within a certain group of consumers whose purchasing power far exceeds any other group to the point of imbalance. This is where the 'in-fighting' is happening, not between you and I. What the prices were 10 years ago has no meaning for today's prices. This is not a reasonable increase in this area.

This area has fallen into the 'luxury goods' category which excludes most of the population of the world. Plus, think how it is affecting the people and tea industry. With the increase in that much capital flow, the life will change there dramatically. The farmer will rarely be the same once money enters in such quantity. This has positive and negative effects. It is a very complex subject.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby ethan » May 5th, '14, 06:40

Siberians fly to Pattaya, Thailand to shop. They have told me that goods in Siberia are expensive, even in its largest city. Tea is for sale everywhere in Pattaya w/ signs in Russian.
In a tea shop, a clerk has learned the Russian words that she needs to be very successful in her saleswork: "the very best;, the most popular tea; the most popular type; it's not expensive, it cost the most because......."
The shop is very generous about giving tastes of tea. I have spent >30 minutes there twice. drinking samples & watching Siberians shop. None have ever asked to taste tea; none have ever asked for descriptions of the tea; & even those that I have engaged in conversation had no ?s about the teas that I chose to sample +/or puchase.
They bought pu-erh. They like the look of the circles of tea w/ holes in the middle, wrapped in tissue paper, & sitting a pretty box. They like the prestige of the high prices. The Siberians work hard at bargaining. They are not there to just throw $ around, but..........
Pu-erh is "in" man. Pu "is where it is at". It's the "bomb". Whatever. Thanks to the participants of teachat, one can find teas that provide an array of pleasure. I think those of us who are not rich, do well to stay away from purchasing pu while it is exceedinly hip & overpriced.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby dilettante » May 5th, '14, 09:40

i have been drinking and appreciating puerh for three years and i learned it's never too late into the game. just have to stay ahead of the game and drink widely and have an open mind. personally, tea is more than a beverage, i derive more enjoyment from the knowledge and journey. cheers
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby Balthazar » May 5th, '14, 10:38

This is a very interesting discussion.

I am one of those latecomers that had probably never heard the words pu-erh uttered before after this 2007 bubble people keep referring to. When I "discovered" that there is more to tea than Earl Gray and cheap Chai, some time in 2007, I asked the woman working at the only half-decent tea shop in Oslo at that time (Palais des Thés) to recommend me three different teas. I went home with three 100 gram packs: Long Jing (probably one of the lower levels available), Dong Ding and loose pu-erh (at that time I didn't know about "shu" and "sheng", but I'm pretty sure it was aged). She told me pu-erh was good to drink as a cold remedy, and while I liked the earthyness of it, I was more immediately fascinated by the oolong, and only when I moved to Hong Kong some five years later did I really start to take an interest in it.

Since moving back here to finish my thesis and abandoning coffee altogether (I used to drink quite a lot of it) my enjoyment of pu-erh has only increased. And while it is somewhat sorrowful to take note of how the marked has changed so quickly, and how, had I perhaps been born 10 years earlierI too would have been able to enjoy this golden era (ceteris paribus, although most likely I wouldn't have known about pu-erh at all had it not been for all the hype, which is again connected to the very problem of price hikes).

Still, I find a lot of joy in the sampling I have been doing for last few weeks, and while none of the stuff I have tried so far has been outstanding, there has been quite a few teas I could see myself embracing as "daily drinkers." Some of the factory teas, for instance, while not too interesting, have qualities I appreciate (and don't think I will tire of anytime soon). So I think the most logical course of action for someone like me, in the financial situation I am in (and truthfully will probably always be in), is to separate between those teas that provide a pleasant enough drinking experience to be used daily (while working, and so on), and those that are truly outstanding (and much, much more pricey) that one can buy once in a while and drink over very long periods of time (just as the wine drinker of limited means wouldn't open up the very best stuff every day of the week, or even every week). Like TwoDog2 pointed out if one converts the price from the unit of cakes to the unit of cups, even some that appears outrageously priced may turn out to be affordable if one treats such cakes as one would some other luxury beverage...

Of course, I too do not like the whole speculation game, and as most people find offensive the image of some extremely wealthy person not knowing what to do with his money, driving up the prices for everyone else (which I think sometimes is a bit of a straw man), but this is the world we live in, and I doubt it will change until the world economic system collapses. Until this happens I'm happy to have discovered that there is a lot of fairly reasonable stuff out there that I find interesting enough to keep appreciating this beverage.
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Re: Official Pu of the day

Postby kyarazen » May 5th, '14, 11:19

pressed tea cake prices often never rises as fast as that of maocha...
i think the high gushu pu-erh price is not simply because of too many rich people/consumers, but also the middleman traders/merchants at fault.

whilst the villages "gang up" and push up prices to make more profits, the traders/merchants instead do not "gang up" and suppress it. they instead bid against each other for the leaves.

once maocha prices moves up, the older pressed cakes will follow suit...
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