Chinatown purchase


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

Chinatown purchase

Postby Consilium » Jan 6th, '09, 19:40

I picked these up in NYC over new years and I need some help with identification.

This trip was a rather amusing introduction to purchasing Chinese tea directly.

First of all, not a single shop I went to knew what pu'er tea was. Eventually, I found a shop that I inadvertently spotted a few cakes on a dusty old shelf in. I pointed to them and "ohhh, Po Lei. Black tea." was the response I received. Lesson learned: learn more Cantonese. Chinese in NYC Chinatown speak mainly Cantonese, not Mandarin as I thought they would.

Few shops sold pu'er, and none of them knew about the tea that they sold, unfortunately. If I asked of age, they responded with either "very old" or "good age". I determined at this point to avoid more complicated questions other than "where can I get more?". Sadly- this was also an unknown.

So I wandered. At the end of the day I spent what I feel was a fair amount of money for what I bought. I would like your opinions on what kind of cakes these are, vintage, estimated price (to see if I got a deal or got robbed), etc.

If more photos of the actual cake/nefei/or ticket are needed let me know - I didn't have much time so I threw this together. Sorry about the "signature" in the photos, I hate the hideous preset camera date that shows up in yellow.

This is the small cake in the next photo. Note the chinglish :)
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Notice the strange red silk threads in the paper. The cake also has a red ribbon.
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:)
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Postby wyardley » Jan 6th, '09, 19:51

Incidentally, I ran into a new-ish Chinatown shop that seems to sell entirely pu'er when I was home this year. Maybe some of the NYers could chime in with where it is or what it's called? It's on one of the main Chinatown streets, and I think kind of on the north-ish side of things. It's up a set of stairs, and I remember a lot of red.

I had some trouble communicating with the guy, but he claims to I don't think he had much sheng from earlier than, say 2004 or so. He had some shu that might have been a little older. A few cakes I recognized, but I've forgotten what they were by now. Some of the prices got pretty high (at least 2-300/beeng), pretty high for recent year tea, even if it is the finest ancient tree tea. I was in a hurry, and he was busy helping a customer, so I didn't spend a lot of time there. He had some teaware, which was nice enough but really nothing special.

You should have stopped in at Tea Gallery on Allen if it was open.
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Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 6th, '09, 19:52

the small cake looks like one of a series of jingmai productions, first started as co-venture with He Shihua of Taiwan and later continued because of the original production's popularity. age would be 2003 or later.

not too sure about the others.
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Postby thanks » Jan 6th, '09, 20:06

That Zhongcha wrapper with "THE'" and tuocha written on it is most likely a Xiaguan "Xiao Fa" (For French export) ripe pu'er. No idea how old.
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Postby wyardley » Jan 6th, '09, 20:07

The 7 sons cake (the large one with the 8-中 logo), the tuo with the brown label, and the white / red label brick are all very standard wrappers which have been used by a number of different factories (and have been widely copied / counterfeited) over quite a number of years. So it's pretty close to impossible to tell only by looking at those pictures what the tea is, whether it's ripe (shu) or green (sheng) cake, or how much it's worth. Even if we got a look at the inner ticket(s) or the tea itself, it would be hard to say much for sure without trying it, though someone who's very knowledgeable might be able to make an educated guess or rule out some possibilities.

The writing on the 7 sons cake (on the left in the second picture from the top) makes me think it's a later one, like probably 90s or 00s. Maybe if you post a picture of the tea leaf itself and the two tickets (the large one inside and the one embedded in the cake, if it's there), someone might be able to make a better guess.

Do you have the box for the first tuo (third picture down)? I think maybe the brown wrappers are usually on Xiaguan export tuos, no?

The silver anti-counterfeiting sticker on the white brick w/ red print would indicate that it's probably fairly recent. Also, if you look at the logo that's on the sticker itself, it might give you some idea of which factory produced it. The actual text doesn't say anything useful - just "Yunnan Puer Tea Brick", and the same "CNNP ...." stuff that's on the bottom of the 7 sons cake. If there's a ticket inside, you could take a photo of that one too.

The last one seems to be Rui Pin Hao (瑞聘號). Bearsbearsbears says it says Nannuo Shan (mountain) early spring. Since it was made for a specific event, I'd assume that's the only year it was made, so probably an '07.

Roughly $5 US in these listings:
http://yihengchahang.cn.alibaba.com/ath ... 23018.html
http://auction1.paipai.com/89B98E250000 ... FE01D4D7A1

or $100 US for a basket (6 tong; about $2.40/cake):
http://auction1.taobao.com/auction/item ... bd3f.jhtml

Since you didn't say how much each cake cost, it would be hard for us to tell you how badly you got robbed, even if we knew exactly what each cake was. :>
Last edited by wyardley on Jan 6th, '09, 20:20, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 6th, '09, 20:08

the ruipinhao cake also says it was made for the guangzhou tea culture something or other. my hanzi literacy isn't so good...
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Postby Consilium » Jan 6th, '09, 21:41

Thanks for the replies. Tomorrow when the sun is back I'll take some photos of the front of each cake and the brick.

The edges of the small cake are crumbly and it looks like sheng material. I haven't opened the brick yet, so I don't know much more about it.

Regarding the Rui Pin Hao -
Roughly $5 US . . . or $100 US for a basket


Lets just say I could have bought many more for the price I payed :( . Hey it was the first pu purchase of the day, I didn't know if I'd find more (lame but true).

luckily this was the only pricey one I bought, from a guy who sold only these cakes (and pu bags - yuck!) in his herb shop. That sob.


Do you have the box for the first tuo (third picture down)?


no, sorry, these were sold in a large glass jar individually - I bought only that one for $8 (its one of the larger tuocha variety).

I payed roughly: $10.80 each for the 7 sons cakes
$16 each for the small cakes
$8 each for the brick and the Xiaguan tuocha
$6 for the Menghai tuocha

how do they taste ?


Believe it or not I haven't had time to taste them, plus I wanted to get photos before I started ripping chunks out. I've acquired so much pu over the past year I doubt I'll ever try it all, but I'll certainly make time for these seeing how they are my first personal acquisition. Reviews will be posted within the coming weeks.

the small cake looks like one of a series of jingmai productions. . .


Bears3X, do you have any more information on these? Possibly a link? ty

You should have stopped in at Tea Gallery on Allen if it was open.


I don't know where that is, I was just walking into Chinatown's cultural depths, searching the little shops and frequently losing my direction without a map. I ended up having to take a cab back to GCS because no one I asked could come to agreement as to which direction that was in. Lesson number 2: Maps are your friend.
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Postby wyardley » Jan 6th, '09, 21:58

Consilium wrote:I don't know where that is, I was just walking into Chinatown's cultural depths, searching the little shops and frequently losing my direction without a map. I ended up having to take a cab back to GCS because no one I asked could come to agreement as to which direction that was in. Lesson number 2: Maps are your friend.


Tea Gallery is not in Chinatown, either geographically or in terms of price. :> Definitely a place to stop if you're in NYC again, though.
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Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 6th, '09, 22:01

Consilium wrote:Bears3X, do you have any more information on these? Possibly a link? ty


link is here: http://www.nadacha.co.uk/index.php?page ... t&Itemid=1

scott from YSLLC used to sell these, too, i think. he may have more information.

the store in the southern kunming wholesale tea market had many years and sizes of this cake, the earliest being the 2004 production sold by Nada.
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Postby vibrantdragon » Jan 6th, '09, 22:11

Here is a translation of most of the wrappers we can read.
1st Picture

Jingmai

2nd Picture

Zhong Cha Brand

3rd picture

Yunnan Bowl Tea Should be Zhong Cha Brand (but not sure) Made in made in Xiaguan, Yunnan

4th picture

Menghai Bowl Tea, Dayi Brand Tea, Xishuangbanna Menghai

5th picture
Yunnan Pu’er Brick Tea, 250 gram, Zhong Cha Brand,

6th picture
Spring of Nannuo Mountain; Save Pu’er the longer the better, Limited production only 38,888 pieces. 357 grams bing
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Postby wyardley » Jan 6th, '09, 22:33

bearsbearsbears wrote:the small cake looks like one of a series of jingmai productions, first started as co-venture with He Shihua of Taiwan and later continued because of the original production's popularity. age would be 2003 or later.


Did a quick search for it, and looks like Andao claims 1999 was when these cakes first came about.


I like the "SUPER VISION" instead of "SUPERVISION" - comment on the wrapper, or maybe he really does have SUPER VISION!

http://www.tea-drunk.com/post/1643763/1 ... -puerh-tea
http://www.andaotea.com/news/1999watershedyear.htm
{same content; first is completely unrelated to my teadrunk forum}
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Postby Salsero » Jan 6th, '09, 23:54

Overall, Consilium, I would say you did very well on your trip. Most of it looks like tea that will be well worth drinking and aging and the prices you paid are not high at all ... esp considering you didn't have to pay shipping! Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experience with our learned crew here. And thanks to the learned crew for providing so much information!
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Postby tenuki » Jan 7th, '09, 01:41

Consilium wrote:
I payed roughly: $10.80 each for the 7 sons cakes
$16 each for the small cakes
$8 each for the brick and the Xiaguan tuocha
$6 for the Menghai tuocha


I offer a free evaluation service. Simply ship them all to me and I will spend some time drinking them and tell you what I think. You could start with the menghai toucha please. I may need a few months to finish my evaluation of the menghai toucha before I can work on the others.

fine print: sending the puerh to me for evaluation is a destructive process so you will not be able to get it back. You will however get my opinion.
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Postby tony shlongini » Jan 7th, '09, 04:06

Nice score. Do you recall where you got them?
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