shah82 wrote:Hey, Kyarazen, can you tell us a story of how you got those puerh? From my understanding, you were cheated pretty big time even for getting a well stored GYG. All of the best '90s teas came in well under $185 in 2003, especially since puerh barely started really rising in price ~2000, and only took off about late 2003-2004. And I'm pretty sure you could buy some of the best '80s tea for the $370 you spent, if you haggled, and, most certainly, you could have bought quality '80s tea of some stripe, from big factories making proper puerh, for $185 in 2003. Of course, Captain Hindsight has hindsight, but I still bet the story of what it was like to buy puerh in 2003 is interesting!
haha! rubbing salt in an open wound!
i started collecting sheng pu-erh around end of '02 and had stopped in early '04, unfortunately unguided without a teacher. the only people with information in the culturally devoid singapore then, were the merchants themselves.
there is a single "merchant" in chinatown whom was the largest importer and stockist of GYGB in singapore for the past half a century, their inventory was impressive, or at least they tried to make it look that way (maybe by emptying their warehouse and piling them in the storefront?!), GYGB was up to the ceiling, tongs and tongs of them everywhere.
The family patriarch just passed away a while back, and the son had just taken over the business. Stories on the tea's rarity, them being the most authoritative stockists, how his father had kept these teas for decades and all that. being young and naive, i was taken in by all these fanciful stories and made a purchase. inelastic supply, the price was their call. thinking that the two cakes were really something good, I hoarded them and did not brew them as i did not want to destroy the form.
in '09 or maybe later than that, i got to know from a tea master that the moment the patriarch of the GYGB merchant passed away, many local collectors had swarmed the shop and swept everything good. By the time I made my way to the shop in '03 then, it was past the prime and whatever that was leftover, were the not so "sellable" junk, that needed stories to sell, and they piled whatever they had left in the shopfront just to impress.
the cakes were authentic, i had cross referenced chinese/taiwanese literatures and even inquired with tea merchants in taiwan.
but authenticity is not the only issue eventually. taste is the strongest deciding factor, a realisation that came a little too late. in 2012, a taiwanese author wrote a book and criticized many people in the world, 听故事，看票买茶 (listening to stories, buying tea by the label). i was a victim of that.
the cake on the left was from the late 80s, the centre, from early 80s. one was salvageable, the other wasnt. it seems that a possible factor in whether a pu-er will "age" well to become drinkable is not only decided by the storage condition but also a critical step/process in the manufacturing.