Puerh with High Energy


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

Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby shah82 » Oct 4th, '12, 16:20

The Sanhetang website sez almost $600. Which is cheap compared to peers. For example, on Skip4tea, the Nanyanghao from '07 is $600/250g cake. The Chenshenghaos are all around that price as well. The bok choys are around $800-$1000. There is very little qualitative discrimination in wide ranges of puerh products, even in banzhangs.

As far as super-premium 2011 and 2012 doing as well? Well, I don't know. There wasn't always the best of processing in the early days, and today is much better on a consistent basis. On the other hand, if you didn't get your top Banpo laozhai back mid-decade, you certainly can't get the good stuff today. This seems to be true of many old favorite places like Mahei. On the other hand, places like GFZ, and later on, Wangongzhai have increased in prominence, and there are many newer faves that are getting fully explored by the public, like Xikong. While the good stuff from quiet faves like top grade Youle is pretty rare on the market now. Also back mid-decade, ancient gardens, especially outside of Banna were being explored by the likes of He Shihua, and in the process, new lincangs and lancang county gushu were introduced into the market up to about 2006. However, most of these place, especially in Lancang, remained quite obscure, outside of Bangwei, Jingmai, and Yangta. Wenshan and Kunlushan are still not widely sold despite some promotion. I think this is because most places there had very small ancient plantations, which get bought up quietly.

So as you can see--in puerh, this is about grabbing unique classes of products while they are still available. The expense is kind of a distraction--American customers just had a very warped sense of nonprivilege when it came to puerh. Not very many people were ever offered access to anything like reliable brands better than Dayi--and there was a lack of appreciation of what it was than XZH offered, beyond the label of superpremium tea. We were only competing against mostly Taiwanese customers before the Mainlanders got in the game. That the overall supply of many of these teas were tiny compared to the probable overall demand. This is why, as a puerh customer, one has to break down what it is, precisely, they are paying money for--so they can measure against the retail of other product that offer similar qualities. For example, suppose you see a 2001 Jingmai. One adjusts the perspective on what older JIngmai can be like. They tend to lose qi, complexity/become flat, and huigans as they age. So, if you sip a 2001 Jingmai tea with qi, complexity, and huigans while still tasting aged--then that's worth quite a bit more than you might expect, and a bing that looks expensive at first sight looks cheap on deeper inspection. Buy, Buy, Buy as much as you can afford.

The big problem with thinking about 2011 and 2012 teas are twofold. First, premium tea have largely shifted to less potent areas, use less high quality leaves from top trees. XZH's quality has dropped quite a bit after 2009. That means sampling is ever more necessary for expensive teas, and ever more expensive to do, adequately. You could buy blindly from top brands in 2006 and 2007 and do ok to great! So long as you verify the brand is genuinely top and not because they said so. Nowaday, every brand has more variance in quality, and there are far more brands to choose from, and some, if not most, are fronting. There are higher upfront costs in terms of choosing teas, and mistakes are more common and more costly in the long run.
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 5th, '12, 03:12

That can't be in US dollar, can it?
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 5th, '12, 03:18

Oh, and apparently, the white wrapper is the yang version. The black, yin. I got it backwards following Houde's description at the time of purchase.

From Hobbes' blog: http://half-dipper.blogspot.com/2012/08 ... taiji.html
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby MarshalN » Oct 5th, '12, 03:19

Those are indeed US dollars. So each session you spend with your tea is now worth something like 20 bucks
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 5th, '12, 04:20

This is nuts. 1000% in just over 6 years? It must be artificially inflated.
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby solitude » Oct 5th, '12, 16:48

1000 % increase in a couple of years means that there is growing a bubble of bubbles and such things should not deserve this kind of attention.

Anyways, will a cake for 600 USD taste and feel 10 times better than a cake for 60 USD in 20-30 years? I don’t think so.
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby shah82 » Oct 5th, '12, 17:31

The discount rate over 20-30 years is tremendous. That $600 cake is going to be better than the $60 cake over a pretty long range of years. There is also a better chance it won't fade away, given good storage. Moreover, provided astute purchasing, you'll be able to buy pretty darn good $600 cake, and a pretty darn good $60 cake. Now, think about this: Let's assume this XZH LBZ is the $600 cake, which I assume to be a robust price since it's not more expensive than worse LBZ available (and tea of the day threads in taiwan forums brag about XZH LBZ more than they do other kinds of LBZ). Now, let's think of a $60 cake--I propose either ChenGuangheTang's '06 autumn Yiehsheng or the '09 Douji Nannuo that was available at teatrekker for $60. Both of those cakes were/are being sold for less than broad market's going rate is. I have had, however, blow-my-bum-away good sessions with the XZH black wrapper in sessions that lasted 20 brews+. Plenty of people have had very good sessions with this tea, aside from people who first drank this tea when it was new, because of it's deviance from standard LBZ profile. I have never had a truly lovely session with the '06 ChenGuangHeTang Yiwu chawang, or the '07 version, both of whom are higher grade and perform so, than the '06 YiehSheng. I have never had a Douji that was ever other than fairly pleasant, including teas of the same year that is held in some repute. Concluding, the $600 cake is at least twice as good as the $60 cake.

Is it worth ten times, qualitatively? No, but that really isn't the point. When you go to Maliandro, or browse Taobao, there are a blizzard of choices of tea at $60. Plenty of substitutes for each other. The teas that are legit at $600 are teas that offer a more unique experience. I have had a number of purported LBZ, and the black wrapper is still my favorite, with the other XZH '05, '06, and Nada's '08 behind it. I think it's a good example of LBZ, and an actual, good, example of LBZ is rather rare. More than that, LBZ has a rather unique signature. It's one of those teas that you cannot fail to recognize, especially the relatively young ones. A Lao Man'E just isn't gonna cut it! Lastly, when these teas were first on sale, they were not that expensive. It was a little less than twice as expensive as HLH's '06 LBZ--and it didn't really rocket up in price until about '09. It's just a matter of winners and losers being defined and selected and thus becomes part of the "back catalogue" so to speak. Now, if we're talking a $600 new tea compared to a $60 new tea, then solitude's perspective may well hold...
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 5th, '12, 23:10

I am really skeptical about this $600/cake valuation. I've been fortunate enough to have tasted teas that fairly reflect their quality and rarity. I am in the opinion, humbly, that this yin/yang cakes don't deserve that valuation. If I have to guesstimate, I wouldn't spend more than $200-250 for this XZH Taiji. So, in my view, the $350-400 premium goes toward paying for Sanhetang's reputation and brand, so to speak. Imho.
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby TIM » Oct 5th, '12, 23:39

If the 07 ying/yang and the bok choy is around 600-1000. I wonder how much will Chen Yun Hao be?
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby shah82 » Oct 6th, '12, 00:18

It's not the Sanhetang thing, but the Lao Ban Zhang thing. Sanhetang is actually underpricing the cake, as I've said before.

As someone who must have had access to many more beautiful teas of the day, what 2003 tea or later would you have thought worth $600? Or, if you've had better Lao Banzhang, who made them?
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 6th, '12, 00:31

Shah, I'm not at all challenging your educated opinion. I must admit I am a bit rusty with the current tea market, having been absent for quite a few years from the tea scene. I stand corrected if my opinion, which was mentioned respectfully, is inaccurate. If I have to pull from my recent memory, 2 versions of 2012 handcrafted LBZ by a Shanghai-based teamaker named Zhang Yao stood out as being superior LBZ examples to XZH's Taiji. Alas, I couldn't afford the price of RMB 3500 per 100gr. :roll:
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby shah82 » Oct 6th, '12, 00:51

I'd love to try to look up the Zhang Yao name. Paste the chinese characters if you ever get the chance, and I'll see if he's on the web at all.

Still... $500-ish/100g? Well, when it's more than four times, it had better be better! Here's the thing...just two years ago, that sort of money would get you 1960's sheng with a bit more outlay. This price is literally more expensive than any oolong Americans have open access to (aside from Imen's super-secrit top personal and private all hers stash)--and some of those are kinda blow-you-away. ' remember TIM's blog post about the top grade tea from Best Tea House, single super-old tree tea, and that one was only a little more expensive at the time (2008?).

I'm really hoping there's pics of that tea!
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 6th, '12, 00:54

Let me look him up. It's been a few months since. I don't have a picture of the tea itself, but I have a pic of having tea with him. Give me a moment, please.
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby 135F2 » Oct 6th, '12, 02:01

His name, as I mentioned, is Mr. Zhang Yao (张耀) from Shanghai. I had not heard or met him before either (well, to be fair, I have not heard or met many tea makers) until Mr. Zhou Yu, the proprietor of Wisteria Tea House in Taipei, introduced him to me. So anyways, to cut a long story short, the story behind this LBZ is that it's made out of a single 300-400 years-old tree, unmixed with any leaves from elsewhere or any other tree. Thus, as I understand it, he could only produce a total of 600 grams this year. Now, I think such quantity and availability qualifies it as being rather rare, hence the price of RMB 3500 per 100gr. And I *think* this was the price that he was quoting to Mr. Zhou Yu, so I wouldn't know how much it would cost if someone were to buy the tea from Wisteria.

So how's the tea? Well, I was impressed beyond belief, and Mr. Zhou Yu was smitten by it, too. I have drunk quite a few good LBZ before (XZH Taiji included), but Zhang Yao's LBZ was quite otherworldly, for lack of a better word. It kinda shook my understanding of pu'er -- especially fresh, recently harvested pu'er -- in general.

And here is a bit of tea porn as promised. Mr. Zhang Yao is on the left. The gentleman on the right probably does not require any introduction.

Image

Image
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Re: Puerh with High Energy

Postby shah82 » Oct 6th, '12, 02:02

Oh, wow...worth the wait!
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