Hi everyone. I've been reading the TeaChat puerh forums for a few months now so I've decided to create an account.
I'm primarily a puerh drinker and secondarily an oolong drinker. I also enjoy black tea on occasion. I've been drinking tea regularly on and off for a long time, and became more serious about tea and especially puerh over the last 4-5 years.
My tea progression is probably familiar to some of you:
western black teas -> japanese green tea -> puerh
with oolong finding it's way in there somewhere.
I began with puerh with one of those shu tribute bricks, purchased in a Chinatown San Francisco medicine/tea shop. I wish I still had some of that brick around so I could taste it now after a few years of puerh experience, though I'm sure it was low quality. But it was intriguing, because the tea always seemed to speed up my metabolism and it was great after a heavy meal.
Regarding aged sheng, I went through many samples of some 70s and 80s teas ordered from Sunsing years ago when their sample prices were 1/3-1/2 of the current cost. Since then I've had experience with 90s 7542s, a few other bings and bricks and fragments, and beyond that samples ordered from here and there and tea shop tastings.
I've tried fewer young shengs and I'm only now starting to build a proper stash for aging. So far it's just been a struggle to track down enough aged sheng to satisfy my drinking habits.
I have two Yixing teapots and have paid the tutorial dues on more than a few pots, from being burned on a shoe-polished 'antique' pot from 5000friend (ebay) to spending a few dollars on awful fakes in YuYuan gardens in Shanghai, just for the joys of haggling (don't go to YuYuan for tea shopping).
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to take a trip to China, from Shanghai to Beijing and Hong Kong. I'd recommend a trip to China to anyone, especially a tea enthusiast, just be sure to take a few weeks at a minimum.
I've already gained a lot here in only a couple of months, and I hope to give back a little.