Help a newbie out! :)


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

Help a newbie out! :)

Postby TeaGinner » Sep 30th, '12, 20:33

Hey TeaChat! I'm relatively new to teas so I had a few questions. I was wondering if you guys could tell me the absolute best quality pu-erh (in terms of the calm and clear buzz you all call "cha qi" I think it is!) for under $35.

I'll be posting 2 sites because there's so many tea sites out there I'm just sticking to two so I don't get overwhelmed with choices.

Here are the two sites to choose from. www.PuerhShop.com and www.TeaVivre.com.

Thank you all as I'm having a hard time picking the best quality pu-erh with how many there are out there.

Thank you all so much and I look forward to your replies. :)
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby debunix » Sep 30th, '12, 20:47

Best is a very subjective thing. I haven't ordered from those sites and can't give you any specific recommendations, but to help those who have, can you be more specific about what you're looking for: sheng (raw) or shu (ripe)? Do you prefer it earthy smoky sweet spicy bitter astringent ?
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby TeaGinner » Sep 30th, '12, 20:50

debunix wrote:Best is a very subjective thing. I haven't ordered from those sites and can't give you any specific recommendations, but to help those who have, can you be more specific about what you're looking for: sheng (raw) or shu (ripe)? Do you prefer it earthy smoky sweet spicy bitter astringent ?

I honestly am not too sure about that. I'm brand new to the tea world and I've heard very good things about pu-erh so I'm trying to find one that is the best I can get on a very tiny budget of around $35-40.

I guess I'm open to either both as I'm not sure what distinguishing features differentiate between raw or ripe.

I'm sorry for all of the questions and the naivety, but I'm just venturing into this wonderful world of tea. :)
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby edkrueger » Sep 30th, '12, 21:07

Under $35 for how much? Almost every pu-erh is under $35 a gram :D .
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby TeaGinner » Sep 30th, '12, 21:12

edkrueger wrote:Under $35 for how much? Almost every pu-erh is under $35 a gram :D .

Oh my apologies! I mean for atleast 100gr but I'm looking to get a 357gr cake. :)
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby theredbaron » Sep 30th, '12, 21:44

How long is a piece of string?

This is quite an impossible question to answer. It depends so much on your taste. In Terms of Sheng - while there are some who like young Sheng, i don't. So i buy cakes of young Sheng, many in your price range, i store them for about ten years before i drink them, because i do not like young Sheng Pu Erh, i love aged Sheng.
I would look at another Shop as well - Yunnansourcing, run by Scott, an American who lives in Yunnan. He has a huge range of teas, and also produces his own cakes.

A Sheng that is not bad at all (i have 3 cakes), and is already quite drinkable, but slightly over your price range, i can definitely recommend:

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=1920

Next are two teas that are below your price range, which are due to slightly older raw material less brutal, but which i personally would store for several more years:

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=1867

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/pro ... oduct=2174

I can't help you with Shu because i don't like Shu.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby BioHorn » Sep 30th, '12, 22:08

I concur with the above posts. But if you want something a bit representative of pu with some age, a sample of this might not be a bad way to go:
from Yunnan Sourcing, 2002 Yi Wu Ancient spirit.
http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=1994
The cake is $43. A bit above your goal, but worth the extra $10.

A more modern cake might be:

2012 Yunnan Sourcing, "Wu Liang" Spring Sheng

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=2112
A good buy at $23.

If you are looking for cha qi, I would recommend samples. This topic has been covered extensively. I will not rehash those rehashed threads.

One sample that should show you kick might be this Hai Lang Hao Lao Man E:
http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=948
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby theredbaron » Sep 30th, '12, 22:22

BioHorn wrote:I concur with the above posts. But if you want something a bit representative of pu with some age, a sample of this might not be a bad way to go:
from Yunnan Sourcing, 2002 Yi Wu Ancient spirit.
http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=1994
The cake is $43. A bit above your goal, but worth the extra $10.

A more modern cake might be:

2012 Yunnan Sourcing, "Wu Liang" Spring Sheng

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=2112
A good buy at $23.




I have two cakes of the Ancient Spirit, for every day drinking. I thought it was sold out, seems that Scott got new stock.

I have several cakes of the first version of his Wu Liang, from 2009. A few weeks ago i tested it - it develops excellently, i have very high hopes for this tea.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby tst » Sep 30th, '12, 23:27

I haven't been drinking puerh very long, but the best advice I received was to sample.

Buy your budget's worth of samples, don't buy one cake. Why do you even want an entire cake? You'll learn so much more by spreading out your money over as many samples as you can buy. Get some young sheng, older sheng and old sheng. I would say try some shu too.

How can you know what you might like if you limit yourself to one single cake? Plus, there's a serious chance you won't like it ... now you have over 300 grams a tea that you don't like, and what did you learn? Only that you don't like that single particular puerh. If you sample, you'll learn so much more.

Just my opinion.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby jayinhk » Sep 30th, '12, 23:40

tst wrote:I haven't been drinking puerh very long, but the best advice I received was to sample.

Buy your budget's worth of samples, don't buy one cake. Why do you even want an entire cake? You'll learn so much more by spreading out your money over as many samples as you can buy. Get some young sheng, older sheng and old sheng. I would say try some shu too.

How can you know what you might like if you limit yourself to one single cake? Plus, there's a serious chance you won't like it ... now you have over 300 grams a tea that you don't like, and what did you learn? Only that you don't like that single particular puerh. If you sample, you'll learn so much more.

Just my opinion.


As a relative noob myself, I have to say tst's advice is the best you're going to get. You could combine his with red's and buy samples of the cakes he's recommending to you, as well as a few others to see what floats your boat. Only you know what you like, so buying lots of small samples is the way to go.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby BioHorn » Sep 30th, '12, 23:43

theredbaron wrote:
BioHorn wrote:I concur with the above posts. But if you want something a bit representative of pu with some age, a sample of this might not be a bad way to go:
from Yunnan Sourcing, 2002 Yi Wu Ancient spirit.
http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=1994
The cake is $43. A bit above your goal, but worth the extra $10.

A more modern cake might be:

2012 Yunnan Sourcing, "Wu Liang" Spring Sheng

http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=2112
A good buy at $23.




I have two cakes of the Ancient Spirit, for every day drinking. I thought it was sold out, seems that Scott got new stock.

I have several cakes of the first version of his Wu Liang, from 2009. A few weeks ago i tested it - it develops excellently, i have very high hopes for this tea.

Time to stock back up!
Good to hear the news on the '09. Nice to hear how cakes are moving along.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby gasninja » Oct 1st, '12, 00:53

If your in the u.s. I would order samples from yunnan sourcing us site. I would try a few sheng samples of there house brand and a sample or two of menghai shu that is at least a few years old. I would try a bunch of samples rather than comiting to a whole cake of anything right off the jump.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby shah82 » Oct 1st, '12, 01:16

I've always said the opposite.

Get a decent practice cake. The thing about puerh is that sessions can vary much more than other kinds of tea. Getting to know one cake well, means getting to know with precision, if not accuracy, what you want out of a puerh. So I say, get one cake, try a 250g or 100g cake! And buy a bunch of samples to go with it.
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby MarshalN » Oct 1st, '12, 01:50

shah82 wrote:I've always said the opposite.

Get a decent practice cake. The thing about puerh is that sessions can vary much more than other kinds of tea. Getting to know one cake well, means getting to know with precision, if not accuracy, what you want out of a puerh. So I say, get one cake, try a 250g or 100g cake! And buy a bunch of samples to go with it.


That's pretty good advice
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Re: Help a newbie out! :)

Postby jayinhk » Oct 1st, '12, 01:52

Admittedly, up until recently, most of my 'samples' were 150g. :lol:
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