Rainyday - yes, I tried the '93 too, still have some, and though I initially liked it, every time after, I found it lacking in depth, mouth-feel, and qi. Thanks for the response also re the silver tip bing; I guess I was just unlucky - puerh can be a gamble unless tasted 1st; also I realize the star ratings on TeaSpring are from the reviews, and reviews are subjective, who knows who's reviewing. Certainly good deals are to be found from TeaSpring.
Brandon, Nada, Puershop - here is a magnified photo I took (through the lense on my mag desklamp - don't have the camera capability - had to get creative) of two of the buds and one very different bud that happened to be in the bag.
The two YaBao buds are very, very different from Camelia Sinensis buds - the third bud I found in the bag looks to me more like what CS might look like - but I don't know if this one is Camelia Sinensis.
Here's a second photo, sent to me by my tea source - a fresh young Camelia Sinensis bud not yet picked - note the VERY DIFFERENT morphology. Also, one of these dried and oxidized might look like that third bud in the above photo?
My source told me that the "fishscale-like" leaf found on early/1st flush Camelia Sinensis buds is a single leaf with that morphology - conversely, the YaBao's fishscale-like morph. is due to several leaves overlapping back and forth.
Very interesting - Could YaBao be buds from another species of Camelia or sub-species of Camelia Sinensis? I wonder. I don't know enough about plants to know if the same plant produces more than one kind of bud (as radically different as these are based on the photos and what one sees when inspecting Camelia Sinensis leaves after infusion from puerh tea).
Here also are some recent email excerpts from my San Francisco Bay Area Tea source on this topic:
'In all my years and thousands of shrub to ancient tree, I have never see a sprout like this on Camellia Sinensis. The leaf buds do not grow out of 'Bao' which is a crusty shell, I have only seen them for magnolia flowers. Ya means young bud, they sprout as a closed leaf leaf covered with downy hair.' (this latter part is referring to Camelia Sinensis).
'The only thing that protects a dormant tea bud in the winter is a scaly leaf called Lun Pian or fish scale leaf, and it's just one leaf that wraps around the developing bud in the winter to keep it warm. It isn't multi-layered like the one you showed me.'
'I am usually open minded, and there is always a possiblity, but also knowing China as I do, it's highly suspicious that only a few places have it, and so cheap, knowing the prices of wild tea trees.'