I just found out the same piece of 2007 LBZ that I was drinking is now selling in China at 29,000RMB (US$4,670) per 375gm piece. It is really crazy and insane. I paid a small fraction of that price in 2008 and now it is really over speculated. It is a nice tea but certainly don't worth that kind of money even if it way cheaper than this. Luckily I bought a small little amount for enjoyment otherwise there is no chance to experience it. I thought it was expensive then at US$400 per piece. I really can't get over the crazy pricing.
I think the market is collapsing soon. Don't think they can sustain at that kind of level.
Although there is a broad possibility of a market collapse, I would just say that I saw SUV after SUV after SUV of tourists and tuhao bosses coming into LBZ the other day.
Even in the event of a puer market collapse, I doubt that real, old tree Laobanzhang (of which there is very little) will ever collapse to an affordable level. There are just too many people who want it and the resources are limited.
If it was suddenly $300 per kilogram tomorrow, I can think of no shortage of people who would gleefully purchase their entire spring, summer, and fall production at that price.
Despite the current price, they still have to fake and forge a huge of amount of tea in order to satisfy market demand. Granted, some of it is speculation, but there is a large portion purchased by people who want LBZ to drink. The person I traveled with the last couple of days purchases no small amount of LBZ for a group of very wealthy puer drinkers in South China. They are not concerned about the price. It's not even an issue. They just want the best possible LBZ they can get because they love drinking it.
Don't get me wrong though, I really WISH the price would fall to a level where I could fill my closet with old tree LBZ, I just don't think it will realistically happen. The 2007 bubble and the current market are different animals. A bubble in the current market will affect certain teas more than others. The main victim will be bottom tier plantation tea, of which there is absolutely no shortage and absolutely very little demand. LBZ is the opposite. High demand, low supply.