Buying my first cakes


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Buying my first cakes

Postby Poohblah » Mar 15th, '12, 01:12

Hi guys. I've had many samples of ripe pu, all of which I found to be slightly disgusting, to be quite honest. Recently, I went to the local Chinese-style teahouse and asked for a gong fu service of their favorite raw pu. I don't know what it was exactly other than it was from a 2007 bing, but it was quite different from shu pu, and I enjoyed it very much, and now I would like a cake or two of some yummy raw pu. I am looking for something that is ready to drink, because I am interested in consumption and not collection. And for the sake of making this easier, I'm looking for two cakes at $20 each or perhaps one cake for about $40 and I intend on making my purchase from Yunnan Sourcing. I'm tempted to buy a cake of what I drank from the local teahouse, but that cake cost $45 and I know from experience that that teahouse sells their teas for about double what I can pay for a similar quality tea from an online vendor, although sometimes it's worth it when shipping costs are factored in.

I know there's an enormous selection of cakes on YS, so I'm expecting that you guys will have a similar plurality of suggestions. To limit what I'm looking for even more, I'll say that the sheng pu I enjoyed was quite sweet and a little smoky, full-bodied, relatively mellow and not sharp or astringent, and left a long, sweet, lingering aftertaste. That's the kind of flavor profile I'm looking for.

Anyway, I know that pu-heads form their own sub-culture within the world of tea, so I'm not really looking to get sucked in, I just want a couple cakes that I can enjoy drinking, and I'll leave you guys to worry about the technical mumbo-jumbo like factory and year of harvest and what have you. I would love to hear any suggestions you have on what cakes I should consider, so I thank you all for what you may have to say.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby G-off-re » Mar 15th, '12, 01:43

I suggest not blindly buying a full cake if you haven't tried it yet. Just order a handful of samples and if you love one than you can order more.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby shah82 » Mar 15th, '12, 02:13

This relationship will not work. You will respect our otaku ways, if you want our cooperation.





?:~)
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby Drax » Mar 15th, '12, 07:03

Poohblah, I do have to echo G-off-re's caution about going for a cake without sampling first... especially since you are looking for specific flavor profiles. It would be tragic to go for a whole cake of something you might not like.

Now, that caution aside, I can make one recommendation off the cuff, which is this Mengku. I don't recall it having any amount of smokiness, but I think it might hit close to what you're looking for.

Mellow and sweet do not occur too often in younger pu'erh (or at least, such is my experience)... I'd have to check my notes when I get home. In the meantime, maybe others will have some recommendations.

Of course, if you're close to my location, you're always welcome to try a bunch :D
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby TomVerlain » Mar 15th, '12, 07:25

buy the $45 cake you sampled. At least you know you like it, and if you buy it you can establish a relationship with the teahouse and learn/benefit from it.

Life's too short to have piles of crap tea sitting around because you bought cheap tea to have more.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby TIM » Mar 15th, '12, 08:02

TomVerlain wrote:buy the $45 cake you sampled. At least you know you like it, and if you buy it you can establish a relationship with the teahouse and learn/benefit from it.

Life's too short to have piles of crap tea sitting around because you bought cheap tea to have more.


+1
Very good advise!
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby BrooklynBrew » Mar 15th, '12, 10:03

I'm in the same boat (sort of . . . because I love ripe pu . . . but I've discovered that once I knew what to buy, there isn't too much variation there and I have a great stock of it now, which is good because I love to drink the stuff). I got some samples of youngish sheng from puerhshop.com (I don't remember the names, but they were 2003, 2005 and 2006 shengs). Have only had the 2003 and I really liked it.

Does anyone recommend any young shengs from the US site of YunnanSourcing I should sample? I'm making a little wish list there at the moment and will put in an order next month.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby Drax » Mar 15th, '12, 12:10

TIM wrote:
TomVerlain wrote:buy the $45 cake you sampled. At least you know you like it, and if you buy it you can establish a relationship with the teahouse and learn/benefit from it.

Life's too short to have piles of crap tea sitting around because you bought cheap tea to have more.


+1
Very good advise!


Agreed! Go with the one you know you already like.

If you can find out what region of tea it is (Lincang, Nannuo, etc), you might then try similar stuff from YS.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby Poohblah » Mar 15th, '12, 12:42

Thanks guys. For some reason I had a feeling I would hear those pieces of advise. However, I was hoping that there would be a few number of tried-and-true cakes that are sure to please almost anybody. I think I'll buy the cake from my local teahouse and find out a little more about it. Then I'll ask again here to find out what kind of cakes would be similar to it. I'll also order some samples next time I place an order with YS. Probably I'll wait for the spring harvest to come so I can grab some fresh Silver Needles from YS.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby teaisme » Mar 15th, '12, 17:01

I'm kinda in the same boat as you. About to start purchasing my first cakes for drinking and storage. I have sampled a few things from various vendors and spent some time getting more familiar with what I like. I like various styles from mellow, thick, and essency, to bitter, young and strong. But am staying out of the shu game for now.

I think yunnan sourcing will be my next order too. I will compose a list soon and place an order in a couple of weeks. It would be interesting to see what you come up. Maybe we can exchange our lists in this thread to see if there is something I missed or we could order a couple of the same things and do a mini comparison since I am always looking for something mellow thick and sweet with no bitterness. :?:
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby BioHorn » Mar 16th, '12, 00:49

I highly recommend you buy some aged sheng from EoT or other reputable vendors. This has been gone over many times, but given the parameters you mentioned it is much better to spend $ on leaf for a great pot of tea that will last you all week rather than learning pu through young sheng.

With around $100 you could buy an assortment of older puerhs (like 10 grams from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.) One day this will not be around to sample...
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby G-off-re » Mar 16th, '12, 02:12

BioHorn wrote:I highly recommend you buy some aged sheng from EoT or other reputable vendors. This has been gone over many times, but given the parameters you mentioned it is much better to spend $ on leaf for a great pot of tea that will last you all week rather than learning pu through young sheng.

With around $100 you could buy an assortment of older puerhs (like 10 grams from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.) One day this will not be around to sample...


I think Poohblah stated that he just wanted a couple cakes to drink and was not interested in learning about pu.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby BioHorn » Mar 16th, '12, 10:28

G-off-re wrote:
BioHorn wrote:I highly recommend you buy some aged sheng from EoT or other reputable vendors. This has been gone over many times, but given the parameters you mentioned it is much better to spend $ on leaf for a great pot of tea that will last you all week rather than learning pu through young sheng.

With around $100 you could buy an assortment of older puerhs (like 10 grams from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.) One day this will not be around to sample...


I think Poohblah stated that he just wanted a couple cakes to drink and was not interested in learning about pu.

I know he was looking for cakes, but my suggestion would fit what he mentioned:
sweet and a little smoky, full-bodied, relatively mellow and not sharp or astringent, and left a long, sweet, lingering aftertaste. That's the kind of flavor profile I'm looking for.

I reread his post he just said he does not want to get sucked in...
I was trying to make a suggestion for something memorable and do not see anything about him not wanting to learn.


A +1 to what Tom wrote:
Life's too short to have piles of crap tea sitting around because you bought cheap tea to have more.
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby teaisme » Mar 16th, '12, 14:13

hah I guess thats one to look at it.....but considering most of the heavy long term puerh drinkers started from buying young cakes for cheap and storing them (intentional or not)....or getting semi aged and storing...vs buying aged, I think our logic is just fine as long as we are not buying completely blind from a stranger...

I already ordered a bunch of samples from eot, and a bunch from other vendors too. After a yr or so of sampling I feel now I am at a point where its time to buy some cakes, both for consuming now (like the mellow ones that pooh is looking for), and cakes for aging. I'm sure with the right amount of asking around, research, and intuition, we can find some cakes to suit our own individual needs pretty easily :mrgreen:

BioHorn wrote:Life's too short to have piles of crap tea sitting around because you bought cheap tea to have more.

well just stop buying tons of crap (hastily), it is my current understanding that good young puerh does not have to be expensive, it just needs to be properly found, so why push us newbies away from finding it by suggesting something you find 'comfortable and secure'. I understandthis advice comes from not wanting us to be burned by our mistakes, but I am not too worried about learning things. Btw, we asked about young cakes $20-40...not 10g samples of 70's puerh.

Thanks drax for the suggestion .
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Re: Buying my first cakes

Postby TomVerlain » Mar 16th, '12, 16:29

in an efficient market place, there are no good $20 cakes of Puerh. The market is not necessarily efficient, as the bubble distorted things, however, there are literally millions of people are competing for tea. They do not all have the same goals, and certainly not all in the same geographic location, which does also change pricing, but the curve is definitely there. There is a lot of low quality tea on the market, and "better" tea costs more.

The corollary is that expensive tea is not necessarily best either.

That being said, tea like Menghai Dayi 7262 is less than $20 a cake. I find that a great tea, but it is ripe.

The "drink it now" category is an anomaly for young tea. Perhaps even an aberation.

And certainly people have different tastes - but if you want to understand and appreciate "real" puerh - it costs money as the people with experience and taste are competing for it.

I have been privileged to sit down and drink some wonderful tea with very experienced people, and thus colors my beliefs.

Experience is an occasional harsh, but in the end best, teacher.

Drink as thy wish shall be the whole of the law.
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