shah82 wrote:Well, no, puerh vendors generally assure you that everything ages wonderfully, even silver tips.
Broadly, if you want to get stuff that will usually age nicely, my opinion is that you need to draw a line from ancient gardens on Badashan, through Manlushan in Mengsong, though Longpa, and ending up at Guafenzhai, and buy high quality products from there south from reputable vendors. This is expensive, however, and there are still places in the south you wouldn't really want to get for aging. For instance, there are plenty of not very good Bulang villages out there that's mostly useful for drinking relative new. Any Hekai, you'd better try for top of the line, 'cause Hekai gets mellow and sweet, but it doesn't seem to age into anything interesting, so you really want to get as interesting a Hekai new as you can.
As for blends, most of them that are any good and can be relied to age well are really expensive, and even those will pale against high end single area tea. Frankly, I think blends are oversold, mostly because the old blends that really worth treasuring had some really good material that doesn't really go into blends anymore.
As far a price goes, I think you should try for around $60 a bing, and get yourself a tong. Of course, you'll need to sample with that purpose in mind. Try for something reasonably well known and liked so as to assure yourself of some kind of resale value should you not like the tea, or the idea of storage. For example, I suppose getting a tong of 2010 Manmai or 2011 Mansai from Essence of Tea (or comparable tea from YS) isn't a totally unreasonable bet. You can try for something cheaper, like the Boyou Manlushan from 20007 that you can get for about half the price. However, it's really risky to buy cheap puerh unless you know what you're doing, especially in asking yourself "why is this tea cheaper than it should be?" Anything trustworthyly good is going to be $60 or more, by and large.
A Guafengzhai tea processed poorly will not age as well as a $12 Menghai Dayi recipe cake if at all. What's being discussed isn't quality over quantity, and at the same time I find your recommendations very interesting. I have dozens of Menghai cakes from various years aging along very nicely, does that mean I have awful taste?