TwoDog2 wrote:Good discussion.
I don't think it is ever too late to get into puer. Granted Laobanzhang prices are prohibitively expensive for most people, but not everyone needs to drink the highest priced or oldest tree puer. There are plenty of good plantation or younger tree teas out there for decent prices. There is also a lot of inexpensive aged tea out there. And shu can be had for very low prices, even from famous factories. Puer is what you make it.
If you can get a decent cake for under $50, it is a bargain. Big chain stores sell much lower quality (my opinion) teas for $20 for 50 grams. A 357 gram cake for $100 or less is not that expensive. Even a heavy puer drinker can drink one cake for months. Puer is comparatively inexpensive in the tea world.
And speaking of heavy puer drinking, isn't this the puer of the day thread? Heavy morning for sampling teas:
Back left: 2001 CNNP "7542"ish thing (So so, good value)
Back middle: 2003 Dehong (Strange mouthfeel that put me off, a little numb)
Back right: 2006 Mahei plantation (not bad!)
In the gaiwan: 2014 Spring Gushu from Hekai (processing too green, but very sweet)
Teaism wrote:Nice! I like Mahei too. Do you find the Hekai bitter? I find bitterness is the main character of Hekai and followed by sweetness in the later brew. One of the tea I enjoyed too.
Have a great tea day!
dilettante wrote:Mahei.. I was just drinking it..2010 production. It has a strong fruity and flowery fragrance.. sweetness that lingers at the throat.. I normally don't drink 4 year old Sheng pu but this beats my 10 year old plantation teas hands down.. hv a nice day
dilettante wrote:here's a pic of the mahei tea i drank earlier today. what's the earliest mahei in the mkt ? i'm not familiar with the history of mahei in the yiwu region but think it's one of the more promising sheng pu. not sure whether mine is the real deal but i do trust my vendor. actually, a reliable and knowledgable vendor in the puerh world is rarer than the LBZ tea. cheers.
shah82 wrote:Drinking some bad Wenlong Fengqing puerh from '09, basically bad hongchapuerh...
kyarazen, any vendor is impressive one on one, if they aren't total hacks. They sell tea, so they are sales[wo]men first and foremost. Also, what constitutes a good vendor broadly tends to go with "how long were they vendoring" or "do they have solid connections?".
Guang and Irene at Houde, for example, have relatively little interest in chatting, blogging, or in any of the peripheral elements of customer service (after their early days in the mid 2ks). They also never had great connections aside from their original ones to family gaoshan grower links. They simply were around at the right time, right place, and they knew a bit about what was a good puerh, and simply bought the highly promoted boutique teas everyone else in Taiwan was talking about (from well known distributors anyone can buy from) and buying. To the extent their business has income from puerh sales, it's all eating from these earlier wholesale purchases. So they aren't gurus wrt puerh in the way Imen Shan is for dancong. Remember when she went on the warpath about how much tea a single tree can make about five years ago?
Other people who really know puerh, for instance, Sebastian and Jing of Jing Tea Shop, more or less have stopped seriously purchasing puerh long ago, but they know what the hell they're talking about. You can ask them for help, just as you would Tony@ Origin or Twodog2@ white2tea, in buying something specific.
When it comes to actually sourcing puerh, very few people can really keep up, and they are, like, rich moneybags or hangs with them. Tony Chen of Sanhetang really likes being around expensive sports cars, and he's also big on incredibly expensive new teaware. Not so rich, but accomplished guys, like the Yang dude have long since stopped seriously trying to source teas, but he still has unbelieveable antique teaware for sale or display. With unbelievable prices, I suspect--original taobao site never specified the prices of some of the nicer stuff. When you look at dudes that aren't so rich or connected, Nada was able to buy in 2008, real (or clearly high enough quality fake to be as good as) LBZ. He did okay in 2009 and 2010, but couldn't really drive towards really good stuff until 2011, then 2012 and 2013 just made it really hard to go for very good quality. This was paralleled by other people I'm familiar with, like the puersom guy, Zhizheng, and the newer teas made accessible from marc of creamofbanna or Bannacha makes clear the limits in quality that normal people have access to.
People who do have a stronger connections to gushu growth and who do have strong knowledge to curate teas well for their shop tend to be incredibly expensive, like Linda Louie from Bana Tea Company. Probably because plenty of rich people know her and trusts her wares as much as I would. Of course, given how crazy the prices have been, this year she seems to have only bought more shu. She's never directly produced any of her own tea, though (I think, that 145g Mengsong cake might be an exception). Most everyone else are easily outmatched by capital. I mean, Mengdai Tea Factory and 6FTM are both factory tea companies that pump out lots of bad tea, but when they want to, they clearly can put out something acceptable as high quality, regardless of where that tea is actually from. They have the size and social muscle to do this. They generally don't because it's not as profitable as selling bad tea, but recently it's gotten hard to get margins off of bad tea as people have gotten a bit more discriminating.
Heh, brought back to mind Eloi of Sampan Tea. Wonder what that rascal is doing these days...
dilettante wrote:What price is reasonable for Hekai? With the ever escalating puer mkt, I am no longer certain what is reasonable for authentic gushu Sheng pu
shah82 wrote:TwoDog2, how do you really even explore so much tea well given how fresh they are and indubitably short session for each? It takes me two to three hours to work out just one tea, and honestly, I'd need every bit of brewing I did do to understand how good a tea is. A second try really help clarify, too. If I was testing out GFZ or similar way out there, for example, I'd *never* do less than ten brews, because a big part of its best appeal, to me, is usually evident pretty late in the session. Most places north of Banna can be tested pretty quickly with three or four brews, I suspect, though.