Thing is, there are lots of better teas out there than bad Changtai, for the same price or less. The better Changtai aren't amazing and they traditionally cost quite a bit. Gotta realize...those 2003 100g Wistaria Yiwu tuos costs (or at least used to) roughly the *same* as the 2003 Changtai Yiwu xiaobings, and from what I read of the xiaobings, the tuo is in another class entirely. If you run by most of their rough prices, you'll find that much better tea will only cost a bit more, or it's easy to buy Boyou, Yibang Chamasi/Tai Lian, or any number of outfits, particularly outfits that own their own plantations, with same/better tea for less.
For example, for someone who's got a fruit jones, like JakubT, but according to my own taste and estimation... Why would I buyhttp://store.thechineseteashop.com/Pu_E ... -05-yw.htm
when I could buyhttp://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php? ... cts_id=816
The latter is a famous tea that has gone out of fashion, but it's still a really pleasant tea for drinking, and has a complex variety of fruit taste in it.
Pure and simple, Changtai focuses on producing easily acceptable tea for the mass market. I'm not a mass market target unless I'm quaffing one of those cheap jinzhushans. That's twenty bucks for the '09, and that series has an actual track record of satisfying people. Good value, but Changtai is not a premium maker, and only rubes (and some rich people) spend money on their really expensive teas like the 2010 Yichanghao Renhe Kunlushan, or this latest track of pressing maocha from 2005 or 1998 and doing some other special, special cake. Rich people go after those limited series ChenYunHaos and other brands us peons never heard of. Same with ChenShenHao. Same with most other big names like Guanzizai.
Anyways, perhaps we should get Scott@YS to help decide this East Coast/West Coast debate. After all, he got the hits from both...